15 February 2022
BLOOMBERG (AP) — U.S. intelligence officials on Tuesday accused a conservative financial news website with a significant American readership of amplifying Kremlin propaganda and alleged five media outlets targeting Ukrainians have taken direction from Russian spies.
The officials said Zero Hedge, which has 1.2 million Twitter followers, published articles created by Moscow-controlled media that were then shared by outlets and people unaware of their nexus to Russian intelligence. The officials did not say whether they thought Zero Hedge knew of any links to spy agencies and did not allege direct links between the website and Russia.
Zero Hedge denied the claims and said it tries to “publish a wide spectrum of views that cover both sides of a given story.” In a response posted online Tuesday morning, the website said it “has never worked, collaborated or cooperated with Russia, nor are there any links to spy agencies.”
The officials briefed The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence sources. It was the latest effort by President Joe Biden’s administration to release U.S. intelligence findings about Russian activity involving Ukraine as part of a concerted push to expose and influence the moves of Russian President Vladimir Putin. U.S. officials previously accused Putin of planning a “false-flag” operation to create a pretext for a new invasion of Ukraine and detailed what they believe are final-stage Russian preparations for an assault. […]