Ex-CIA director says Gov. Abbott fell for Russian hoax that led Russians to ‘go big’ in 2016 U.S. election

HOUSTON - Remember the Federal military exercise back in 2015 held in Texas and several other states?

It was called Jade Helm 15, and some folks thought it was a giant government conspiracy to declare martial law and round up political dissidents.

Even Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called out the Texas National Guard to monitor the operations, after conspiracy theorists made wild allegations about the military exercises.

Well, turns out all that hysteria over Jade Helm may have been caused by Russian bots practicing a dry run at a misinformation campaign in the United States.

At least, that's according to former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden, who claims the Russians used social media and other outlets to fuel wild conspiracy theories.

And Hayden claims our own governor fell for the Russian hoax.

So much so, Hayden says Abbott's reaction may have spurred on the Russians to take their game to the next level, attempting to influence the 2016 U.S. election.

Hayden says, "I'm figuring the Russians are saying, 'We can go big time [...] we're going to play in the electoral process.'"

So far, the governor has not commented on Hayden's remarks.

Of course, Russian interference didn't begin with Jade Helm.

You could say it goes all the way back to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and the early days of the Cold War.

And you can bet, America hasn't heard the last of Russian meddling!