So Who Were the 'Texas Political Activists' Who Were Duped by Russia?

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The newly unsealed indictment against 13 Russians, believed to be involved in the hacking of the presidential election, has posed a mystery in Texas:  Who was working with them?

Two of the Russians, Aleksandra Yuryevna Krylova and Anna Vladislavovna Bogacheva, visited Texas in 2014 to gather intelligence.  The indictment goes on to say that, in 2016, they posed as Americans to chat with a Texas-based grassroots organization.

"During the exchange, Defendants and their co-conspirators learned from the real U.S. person that they should focus their activities on 'purple states like Colorado, Virginia & Florida,'" the indictment reads.

San Antonio Congressman Joaquin Castro wants to know who that was.

"It will be part of the investigation whether these Americans were aware of who these people were or whether they were duped as well," he tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI.

Some have speculated that the Texas-based grassroots origination has links to the Texas Secessionist movement.  The Russians would later go on to form dozens of Facebook groups, including one called "Heart of Texas," as a way to push propaganda. That page mimicked many of the secessionist ideals.

Daniel Miller, head of the Texas Nationalist Movement, released a statement, saying it wasn’t them

"While the TMN has fielded media reports for months related to the issue, we have been absolutely transparent on this matter and maintain that our organization has no knowledge of nor any involvement with the Russian-led efforts to influence the 2016 General Election," it reads.

Castro, who sits on the House select Intelligence Committee, says it's disgusting how the Russians were able to use social media to pit Texans against Texans.

"Through Facebook pages they set up on opposite street corners, a pro-confederate rally and an anti-confederate rally in Houston, and people show up to those rallies."

He's urging President Trump to issue more sanctions against Russia as a show of force. 

The worry, he says, is that if he doesn't, the propaganda will get worse in 2020 and other nations will join.

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