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Secret WWI telegram holds lessons for today, historians say

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NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) – In a secret telegram a century ago, Germany tried to get Mexico to join its side during World War I by offering it territory in the United States.

Britain intercepted, deciphered and shared the “Zimmermann Telegram.”

Historians, seeing parallels to today, say there’s a lot to be learned.

They gathered at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, last week and discussed how a foreign government hacked a secret communication and used the information to sway American public opinion and policy.

The message was vulnerable to hacking because the sender was overconfident in their abilities to control their information.

A century later, the U.S. intelligence community says Russia hacked Democratic groups during the presidential campaign to help Republican Donald Trump, who praises the Republican National Committee’s “hacking defense.”