It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
WASHINGTON – The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is ordering an investigation into charges that an army unit trained in psychological operations was improperly told to manipulate American senators to get more money and troops for the war.
A senator allegedly targeted said Thursday that he's confident there will be a review of the facts, but played down the idea that he was manipulated.
The staff of Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, head of the effort to train Afghan security forces, ordered the information operations unit to compile profiles, voting records and other information on visiting lawmakers to leverage in a campaign to get more assistance, said a story Thursday on Rolling Stone's website. It says the campaign also improperly targeted the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, and others.
-Associated Press -Pauline Jelinek And Lolita C. Baldor,
The military cell devoted to what is known as "information operations" believed their mission on arriving in Afghanistan in November 2009 was to assess the effects of U.S. propaganda on the Taliban and local Afghan population, Rolling Stone said, quoting Lt. Col. Michael Holmes, whom it identified as the leader of the five-man team.
Holmes said they resisted the order to compile information on congressional delegations that were visiting there and think of what information "to plant inside their heads." He said they were subjected to retaliation for resisting.
"My job in psy-ops is to play with people's heads, to get the enemy to behave the way we want them to behave," Holmes is quoted as saying. "When you ask me to try to use these skills on senators and congressman, you're crossing a line."
Those singled out in the campaign included Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Al Franken, D-Minn., and Carl Levin, D-Mich. Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., of the House Appropriations Committee; the Czech ambassador to Afghanistan; the German interior minister, and a host of influential think-tank analysts, the story said, without identifying the international figures by name.
Originally posted by muzzleflash
Yeah, he's gonna investigate those bad guys that kept his funding rolling in? Sure...good one.
This is what they say when they get busted with their pants down.
Oh, we are going to pull our pants up, promise.
I don't believe it for one minute.
Originally posted by charles1952
reply to post by donatellanator
You're right, this is shocking news. Did they think it would work? Why? Had they tried it out on other people often enough? Who are those other people?
The orders came from the command of Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, a three-star general in charge of training Afghan troops – the linchpin of U.S. strategy in the war. Over a four-month period last year, a military cell devoted to what is known as "information operations" at Camp Eggers in Kabul was repeatedly pressured to target visiting senators and other VIPs who met with Caldwell. When the unit resisted the order, arguing that it violated U.S. laws prohibiting the use of propaganda against American citizens, it was subjected to a campaign of retaliation.
According to the Defense Department’s own definition, psy-ops – the use of propaganda and psychological tactics to influence emotions and behaviors – are supposed to be used exclusively on "hostile foreign groups." Federal law forbids the military from practicing psy-ops on Americans, and each defense authorization bill comes with a "propaganda rider" that also prohibits such manipulation. "Everyone in the psy-ops, intel, and IO community knows you’re not supposed to target Americans," says a veteran member of another psy-ops team who has run operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. "It’s what you learn on day one."
The general’s chief of staff also asked Holmes how Caldwell could secretly manipulate the U.S. lawmakers without their knowledge. "How do we get these guys to give us more people?" he demanded. "What do I have to plant inside their heads?"
At a minimum, the use of the IO team against U.S. senators was a misue of vital resources designed to combat the enemy; it cost American taxpayers roughly $6 million to deploy Holmes and his team in Afghanistan for a year. But Caldwell seemed more eager to advance his own career than to defeat the Taliban. "We called it Operation Fourth Star," says Holmes. "Caldwell seemed far more focused on the Americans and the funding stream than he was on the Afghans. We were there to teach and train the Afghans. But for the first four months it was all about the U.S. Later he even started talking about targeting the NATO populations." At one point, according to Holmes, Caldwell wanted to break up the IO team and give each general on his staff their own personal spokesperson with psy-ops training.
(In recent months, the Pentagon has quietly dropped the nefarious-sounding moniker "psy-ops" in favor of the more neutral "MISO" – short for Military Information Support Operations.)
Originally posted by charles1952
My initial response is that you seem to be taking this in an extreme manner. Didn't the system work as it is supposed to? An improper suggestion was made to people who rejected it and reported it up the chain of command where its being investigated.