Portman blasts State Department for not not countering Russia propaganda

President Donald Trump and Sen. Rob Portman
President Donald Trump and Sen. Rob Portman

Sen. Rob Portman is sharply criticizing the State Department after reports that it has yet to request money already appropriated to help counter Russian propaganda.

“Congress has provided substantial resources to combat foreign propaganda, particularly from Russia. There is broad agreement that the U.S. Government is behind the curve on this threat,” Portman, R-Ohio, said last week. “Countering foreign propaganda should be a top priority, and it is very concerning that progress on combatting this problem is being delayed because the State Department isn’t tapping into these resources. The State Department should take swift action to fully fund the GEC and ensure that it is capable of carrying out the purposes Congress directed, particularly as they relate to Russia and other state-sponsored foreign disinformation.”

Portman and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., introduced legislation signed into law that would establish an interagency center at the State Department to coordinate and synchronize counter-propaganda efforts throughout the U.S. government. The provision – tucked inside the National Defense Authorization Act – authorized the State Department to request $60 million annually for two years from the Department of Defense for the center. To date, according to a story first reported in Politico, State has yet to request the money.

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