Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Striking Back: Overt and Covert Options to Combat Russian Disinformation by Thomas Kent

This event was held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed via YouTube Live.

Please join the Program on U.S.-Russia Relations at the Harriman Institute for a discussion with Professor Thomas Kent, author of Striking Back: Overt and Covert Options to Combat Russian Disinformation (Brookings Institution Press, September 29, 2020). Discussant: Rand Waltzman, Deputy Chief Technology Officer and Senior Information Scientist, RAND Corporation. Chair: Elise Giuliano, Lecturer and Director of the Program on U.S.-Russian Relations.

What are the best responses to Russian disinformation operations in Europe, Africa, and Latin America? Thomas Kent’s book examines the full range of options, from public campaigns against disinformation to covert action. What tactics are likely to be most effective? Which are ethical?

Thomas Kent teaches at the Harriman Institute about disinformation, Russian affairs, and the geopolitics of information. He was formerly president and CEO of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Moscow and Tehran bureau chief, international editor and ethics editor of The Associated Press. His book research included interviews with more than 160 government, military, NGO, and academic specialists on disinformation in a dozen nations.


Rand Waltzman originated the term “cognitive security” and is a specialist on artificial intelligence and the weaponization of information. He has spoken on strategies against Russian information operations before Congress and at major conferences in the United States Europe and Asia. As a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), he created, planned and managed major research and development programs on the application of massive scale data analytics and artificial intelligence in the areas of insider threat detection and social media. He is currently deputy chief technology officer of the RAND Corp. Previous positions include CTO (acting) and associate director of research of the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, chief scientist in the Distributed Systems Laboratory of Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories and associate professor of computer science at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.