A supposed freelance journalist going by the name of “Alice Donovan” with bylines in at least 10 different news outlets has been revealed to be a Russian troll who spent the election season pushing anti-Hillary Clinton narratives. After Trump entered office, “Alice” has continued to write for multiple publications, with her stories focusing on foreign policy decisions, especially those concerning Syria, made by the U.S., and presenting them through a lens Putin would approve of.
The Washington Post traced “Alice’s” start to late February 2016 when she wrote to the leftist publication CounterPunch seeking to write for the site. “Hello, my name is Alice Donovan and I’m a beginner freelance journalist,” she wrote.
“Alice” wrote for sites of all political leanings — right-leaning sites like The Duran and Restoring Liberty; centrist sites like Ground Report and Mint Press News; conspiracy theory sites like GlobalResearch, The Activist Post, Veterans Today, We Are Change, and Op-Ed News; and leftist sites like Popular Resistance and CounterPunch.
— Casey Michel (@cjcmichel) December 25, 2017
Though her work first dealt with topics outside of politics, its focus soon shifted to Clinton’s email scandal and the thousands of messages leaked by WikiLeaks after the Democratic National Committee was hacked.
The truth about her being a Russian operative pushing the Kremlin’s agenda was uncovered through an FBI investigation dubbed “NorthernNight.” After The Washington Post reached out to CounterPunch’s editor, Jeffrey St. Claire, in November letting him know about the FBI’s suspicions, he made multiple attempts to get in contact with Alice to discuss her work. When he asked to speak with her on the phone, she refused to do so “for security reasons.”
As more information comes to the surface revealing Russia’s use of bots and advertisements on social media, as well as content farms and websites dedicated to spreading fake news and propaganda to confuse U.S. voters and stoke discontent, it’s clear that websites are going to have to intensify the vetting process of writers they hire to ensure they’re who they say they are.