‘Foreign adversaries’ targeting US over George Floyd unrest, intelligence bulletin warns

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An intelligence bulletin obtained by Fox News Thursday indicates that American defense officials are warning about "foreign adversaries" capitalizing on the unrest following the death of George Floyd in order to "sow discord" among Americans.

The bulletin further illustrates what has been known for years -- that enemies of the U.S., including Russia, China and Iran, have aimed to take advantage of and exacerbate domestic divisions in America to advance their own geopolitical goals. ABC News first reported on the document.

"This Intelligence Note describes how foreign adversaries are employing state media, proxy outlets, and social media accounts to amplify criticism of the United States related to the death of George Floyd and subsequent events," the note reads.


It adds: "Foreign influence actors affiliated with Russia, China, and Iran are using state media, proxy websites, and social media accounts to amplify criticism of the US over the 25 May 2020 death of George Floyd and subsequent events. These actors criticize the United States as hypocritical, corrupt, undemocratic, racist, guilty of human rights abuses, and on the verge of collapsing."

The note gives specific examples of how these countries are working to "manipulate the public, sow discord and ill will, discredit the electoral process, disrupt markets, and undermine the interests of the American people."

Russian state media, for example, ran stories on the protests which played up their "scale" and "intensity" while saying they were justified against "the 'corrupt American capitalist system'" and "white elites." Russia also used "proxy websites," according to the bulletin, to spread narratives harmful to the United States.

On China, the bulletin specifically refers to state media like the Global Times and tweets from the country's foreign ministry in the final few days of May and early June. The Twitter account @MFA_China, for example, tweeted a video of its foreign ministry spokesman accusing the U.S.of racial discrimination on June 1.


Iranian state media and its foreign ministry took similar actions to China, but that country also apparently deployed troll social media accounts to amplify discord in the U.S.

"Iranian-linked social media accounts, i.e., mostly inauthentic and newly created accounts, are reposting stories -- largely from U.S. domestic sources and mainstream news media -- that portray the United States in chaos, and question the legitimacy of US officials and police," the bulletin says.

It closes with a warning for intelligence and defense officials to double-check where they are getting their information from and ensure they are not spreading online disinformation or foreign propaganda themselves.