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Pentagon opens sweeping review of clandestine psychological operations

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Pentagon opens sweeping review of clandestine psychological operations​

By ELLEN NAKASHIMATHE WASHINGTON POST • September 19, 2022

The Pentagon has ordered a sweeping audit of how it conducts clandestine information warfare after major social media companies identified and took offline fake accounts suspected of being run by the U.S. military in violation of the platforms' rules.

Colin Kahl, the undersecretary of defense for policy, last week instructed the military commands that engage in psychological operations online to provide a full accounting of their activities by next month after the White House and some federal agencies expressed mounting concerns over the Defense Department's attempted manipulation of audiences overseas, according to several defense and administration officials familiar with the matter.

The takedowns in recent years by Twitter and Facebook of more than 150 bogus personas and media sites created in the United States was disclosed last month by internet researchers Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory. While the researchers did not attribute the sham accounts to the U.S. military, two officials familiar with the matter said that U.S. Central Command is among those whose activities are facing scrutiny. Like others interviewed for this report, they spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military operations.

The researchers did not specify when the takedowns occurred, but those familiar with the matter said they were within the past two or three years. Some were recent, they said, and involved posts from the summer that advanced anti-Russia narratives citing the Kremlin's "imperialist" war in Ukraine and warning of the conflict's direct impact on Central Asian countries. Significantly, they found that the pretend personas — employing tactics used by countries such as Russia and China — did not gain much traction, and that overt accounts actually attracted more followers.

Centcom, headquartered in Tampa, has purview over military operations across 21 countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Central and South Asia. A spokesman declined to comment.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said in a statement that the military's information operations "support our national security priorities" and must be conducted in compliance with relevant laws and policies. "We are committed to enforcing those safeguards," he said.

Spokespersons for Facebook and Twitter declined to comment.

According to the researchers' report, the accounts taken down included a made-up Persian-language media site that shared content reposted from the U.S.-funded Voice of America Farsi and Radio Free Europe. Another, it said, was linked to a Twitter handle that in the past had claimed to operate on behalf of Centcom.

One fake account posted an inflammatory tweet claiming that relatives of deceased Afghan refugees had reported bodies being returned from Iran with missing organs, according to the report. The tweet linked to a video that was part of an article posted on a U.S.-military affiliated website.

Centcom has not commented on whether these accounts were created by its personnel or contractors. If the organ-harvesting tweet is shown to be Centcom's, one defense official said, it would "absolutely be a violation of doctrine and training practices."

Independent of the report, The Washington Post has learned that in 2020 Facebook disabled fictitious personas created by Centcom to counter disinformation spread by China suggesting the coronavirus responsible for covid-19 was created at a U.S. Army lab in Fort Detrick, Md., according to officials familiar with the matter. The pseudo profiles — active in Facebook groups that conversed in Arabic, Farsi and Urdu, the officials said — were used to amplify truthful information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the virus's origination in China.

The U.S. government's use of ersatz social media accounts, though authorized by law and policy, has stirred controversy inside the Biden administration, with the White House pressing the Pentagon to clarify and justify its policies. The White House, agencies such as the State Department and even some officials within the Defense Department have been concerned that the policies are too broad, allowing leeway for tactics that even if used to spread truthful information, risk eroding U.S. credibility, several U.S. officials said.

"Our adversaries are absolutely operating in the information domain," said a second senior defense official. "There are some who think we shouldn't do anything clandestine in that space. Ceding an entire domain to an adversary would be unwise. But we need stronger policy guardrails."


 

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Does the Biden Admin NOT know what its military is doing???

DEEP STATE INVESTIGATING PENTAGON PSYOPS, RALLY FLAG & MORE...​

Follow up on some info from the rally over The Weeknd and an extended conversation about ongoing PSYOP’s and the Deep State’s efforts to root out ongoing operations to destabilize their ops against America, exposing some off their’s along the way!
 

Tbonz

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Does the Biden Admin NOT know what its military is doing???

DEEP STATE INVESTIGATING PENTAGON PSYOPS, RALLY FLAG & MORE...​

Follow up on some info from the rally over The Weeknd and an extended conversation about ongoing PSYOP’s and the Deep State’s efforts to root out ongoing operations to destabilize their ops against America, exposing some off their’s along the way!
No clue, that's for sure. How many trillions have been funneled into black projects that aren't on anyones radar.