You might remember how, three years ago, Texas Governor Greg Abbott directed the Texas State Guard to monitor federal military training operations in West Texas. The military exercise was known as “Jade Helm,” and Gov. Abbott insisted he wanted to keep an eye on federal troops in case the training exercise was actually part of a secret plot President Obama was planning, to use the military to round up his political enemies.
Now, as The Texas Tribune reports, a former director of the CIA says the Jade Helm scare was actually part of an effort by Russians to stir up paranoia in American right-wing media. Michael Hayden asserts that, when Greg Abbott reinforced the conspiracy theory, the Russians were emboldened to target federal elections. Hayden says when Abbott sent out the Texas State Guard to monitor federal troops, the Russians witnessed the sheer power of their own misinformation campaigns.
“At that point,” says Hayden, “I think [the Russians] made the decision, ‘We’re going to play in the electoral process.”