The IRA is the "Internet Research Agency," Russia's organization that lead interference efforts with the U.S. presidential election in 2016, according to a new grand jury indictment announced by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office on February 16, 2018.
According to the indictment, the agency had a budget of more than $1 million a month, employed hundreds, and created social media accounts followed and liked by hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Each of the Russian created accounts played the part of an American grassroots organization on divisive issues including: "Secured Borders" on immigration; "Blacktivist" on the Black Lives Matter movement; "United Muslims of America" and "Army of Jesus" on religious issues; and regional groups like "Heart of Texas" and "South United."
The "Organization," as the indictment refers to it, also had specialists reviewing this social media content to make sure it seemed like it was coming from an "American," and a number of staff came to the United States to see firsthand what was happening in certain social movements.
Part of the operations were also happening from U.S. purchased servers: "... the Organization's IT department purchased space on computer servers located inside the United States in order to set up VPNs."
You can read the complete Grand Jury Indictment on Russian interference with the U.S. election.
And be sure to check out page 26 for an example of how the Russians organized flash mobs in Florida. It is both disturbing and fascinating.
And it's a warning sign about the 2018 mid-term elections and how other countries can interfere.