Dossier detailing UK talks with US over NHS leaked by ‘Russian campaign’, Reddit says

Classified documents were shared in similar way to ‘Secondary Infektion’ operation, social media site claims

Clark Mindock,Chiara Giordano
Friday 06 December 2019 23:13
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Jeremy Corbyn says he has documents which 'confirm' under Boris Johnson 'the NHS is on the table and will be up for sale' to the US

Leaked classified documents detailing plans for a post-Brexit US trade deal – which Jeremy Corbyn claimed showed a Tory plot to “sell off the NHS” – may have been posted online by a Russian campaign, it has emerged.

The 451-page dossier, which the Labour leader unveiled during a press conference on Wednesday, is believed to have been posted to a politics forum on social media website Reddit back by a user named “gregoratior” back in October.

A social media research firm earlier this week said that the documents were shared in a similar way to a Russian disinformation operation dubbed as Secondary Infektion, which was exposed by Facebook earlier this year.

And Reddit has now confirmed that they believe the documents did come from Russia.

The company said in a statement: “We were recently made aware of a post on Reddit that included leaked documents from the UK.

“We investigated this account and the accounts connected to it, and today we believe this was part of a campaign that has been reported as originating from Russia.”

The company said it has also identified a further network of accounts, which had attempted to promote the original post with the leaked documents.

“All of these accounts have the same shared pattern as the original Secondary Infektion group detected, causing us to believe that this was indeed tied to the original group,” it said.

Mr Corbyn claimed the documents contradicted the prime minister’s denial that the NHS is part of negotiations with the US, which some fear could see parts of the public health service sold off to private US companies.

He told reporters: “We have now got evidence that under Boris Johnson the NHS is on the table and will be up for sale. He tried to cover it up in a secret agenda and today it has been exposed.”

A Labour spokesperson declined to comment on how the party obtained the leaked documents or ties to the Russian campaign.

The Reddit post, titled “Official-sensitive: Great Britain is practically standing on her knees working on a trade agreement with the US”, were only seen by a handful of users before Mr Corbyn came forward with them.

“I suspect that this publication will make some noise, so that’s why you probably don’t have much time to look through the internal secret documents that contain specific details of the upcoming FTA between the UK and the US,” the Reddit user wrote.

“Three years, six bilateral meetings of the UK-US Trade and Investment Working Group (TIWG), 12 chapter-level discussions, 451 pages of reports. A detailed analysis and processing of such an amount of material will require a lot of time, knowledge and definitely more than one pair of eyes, so I’m dumping this here.”

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