The Dakota Access Pipeline protests made waves on social media, but not all of it may have been organic or even domestic. A new report from the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology says Russia may have been involved.
The report details how the committee says the Kremlin used social media to influence opinions about U.S. energy and environmental policy, specifically mentioning the Dakota Access Pipeline.
This clash between protesters and law enforcement may have more to do with the Russia controversy than you might think.
"American energy dominance is a great threat to their economy, which is of course then is a direct threat to their national security, and so it's not surprising that they would have a vested interest in trying to upset our energy markets," Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said.
A report from a congressional committee in D.C. says pipelines and infrastructure were a primary target of the Kremlin.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said, "This new evidence of Russia wading into state and local issues to foment divisiveness and potential violence is a further example of why the federal government and states have to get serious about election interference this fall."
She was joined by Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., saying, "This is another troubling example of the Russian campaign to sow division in our nation. Russia is clearly an adversary, which is why we voted to increase sanctions to push back on Russia. That is also why I continue to support the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into Russian interference in the U.S."
Cramer says that some of the players in the conflict were used by Moscow.
"The other thing that the Dakota Access Pipeline presented to the Russians was a fairly willing partner or willing partners both in the Native American community and in the environmental community. Unfortunately, those communities were used by the Russian government "
The report says the posts were not limited to Dakota Access but also targeted Sabal Trail, Keystone XL, Colonial, Bayou Bridge, and Enbridge Line 5.
We have reached out to Facebook and Twitter for comment on the report and have not heard back.