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FBI agents conducting undercover investigations have now been given the green light to impersonate journalists, the Justice Department determined last week — effectively legalizing the government’s most notorious propaganda program, Operation Mockingbird.
Operation Mockingbird was a secret campaign by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to influence media. Begun in the 1950s, it was initially organized by Cord Meyer and Allen W. Dulles, and was later led by Frank Wisner after Dulles became the head of the CIA. The organization recruited leading American journalists into a propaganda network to help present the CIA's views. It funded some student and cultural organizations and magazines as fronts. As it developed, it also worked to influence foreign media and political campaigns, in addition to activities by other operating units of the CIA.
Allowing agents to infiltrate media organizations for any reason threatens to utterly undermine public trust, kill the very concept of journalistic integrity, and throttle the flow of information from sources and whistleblowers concerned with the legitimacy of journalists they contact.
...the report centers around a case from 2007 in which an FBI agent pretended to be an Associated Press journalist to identify an elusive suspect online. At the time, the FBI “did not prohibit agents from impersonating journalists or from posing as a member of a news organization,”
“The Associated Press is deeply disappointed by the Inspector General’s findings, which effectively condone the FBI’s impersonation of an AP journalist in 2007,” Associated Press Vice President Paul Colford said in a statement cited by US News. “Such action compromises the ability of a free press to gather the news safely and effectively and raises serious constitutional concerns.”
In 2007, a high school student near Seattle emailed a series of bomb threats to his school, but his use of proxy servers thwarted police efforts to learn his identity — so they asked for assistance from the FBI’s Northwest Cybercrime Task Force.
Agents devised a plan, and, as the Intercept summarized, “An undercover agent sent the student email impersonating an editor for the Associated Press. The email included links to a fake news site designed to look like the Seattle Times.”
When the student followed the links, malware revealing his actual location installed itself.
A review was launched by the OIG, but Thursday’s conclusion simply confirmed the FBI’s previous finding it had done nothing wrong — and may proceed with future journalistic deception.
As long as agents receive approval from the head of the FBI field office, the Undercover Review Committee, and the deputy director of the FBI — who then must meet with the deputy attorney general — they are free to pose as journalists during undercover investigations.
“The FBI guidelines adopted in 2016 in response to this incident still permit the FBI to impersonate news organizations and other third parties without their consent in certain cases, and fail to address the host of other dangers associated with FBI hacking,” Neema Singh Guliani, ACLU legislative counsel, said in a statement cited by US News.
Mainstream outlets like the New York Times, the Washington Post, CBS, and many others, actively and willingly disseminated propaganda disguised as news — through suppression, censorship, and selective focus, etc. — in the interest of the government.
Besides the revelations in this article concerning the FBI, documents revealed the government actively tried to influence public thought about WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, in 2011.
The European Union's propaganda budget
Expenditure is spread around many departments and then within many sections. Even DG X (the EU institution responsible for Information and Communication) is unlikely to have a complete idea of how much is being spent. However, we can catalogue and detail many of the various lines in the EU Budget that are being used for propaganda expenditure in 2002 and show how much money is spent on supporting such work.
The main section of the EU budget to be tapped on propaganda is B3-3, which is concerned with information and communication, and in 2002 it had a total budget commitment of €105,205,600. €44.7 million of this was available to Prince (B3-306), the section dealing in part with the single currency. Other key lines include B3-301 (Information outlets) and B3-304 (European Integration in Universities).
originally posted by: schuyler
You seem to be confusing under cover work with a political campaign. Unless you think it is unfair for the FBI to sneak up on a would-be bomber like that.
I of course disapprove of the government attempting to influence the media with subterfuge, but I see nothing wrong with this sort of undercover operation to catch a criminal attempting to cause mass deaths and destruction. Using this to complain about the other is completely misplaced.