The U.S. government on Thursday announced a reward of up to $10 million for information about a gang of notorious Russian Internet trolls and any other foreigners attempting to meddle in U.S. elections as a display of anxiety about midterm political campaigns.
In a press release, the US State Department said the reward they offered was sourced through the Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program.
“The reward offer seeks information leading to the identification or location of any foreign person, including a foreign entity, who knowingly engaged or is engaging in interference in U.S. elections, as well as information leading to the prevention, frustration, or favorable resolution of an act of foreign election interference,” a portion of the news release read.
The initiative, which was announced on Twitter and other social media platforms on Thursday was a component of a larger multi-agency effort by the Biden administration to ensure the security and integrity of American elections, which have recently been tainted by interference from Russian operatives and other foreign adversaries.
The State Department specifically stated that it is interested in learning more about the Internet Research Agency (IRA), which is based in Russia, and its purported principal funder and administrator, a longstanding Putin supporter by the name of Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin.
For allegedly interfering in “U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016,” the US agency said it is also looking for information about 12 of Prigozhin’s suspected colleagues and numerous commercial firms he reportedly managed.
Since at least February 2018, U.S. investigators have been looking for Prigozhin, a number of his friends, and Russian businesses that he controls for their alleged roles in the plot to sway the 2016 election and more subsequent interfering activities.
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