US Govt Just Legalized Operation Mockingbird — FBI Can Now Impersonate the Media

fbi-mocing-testBy Claire Bernish

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.

Last Thursday, the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General published what’s become the subject of outrage for journalists, civil and constitutional rights advocates, and legal experts  — “A Review of the FBI’s Impersonation of a Journalist in a Criminal Investigation.”

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.

As shocking as the finding sounds, it only validates the practice — in fact, 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 report states.

But even the ubiquitous, mainstream AP — whose outlet became an unwitting pawn for the agency — sharply criticized the DOJ’s announcement.

“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.

It wasn’t until an ACLU technologist accidentally discovered copies of the bogus news stories in 2014 — buried in pages the Electronic Frontier Foundation obtained from the FBI via a Freedom of Information Act request in 2011 — that the plot to pose as journalists came to light, generating massive controversy and consternation.

Furthering the contempt, FBI Director James Comey penned a letter to the editor of the New York Times defending the agency’s impersonation, dismissively stating “we do use deception at times to catch crooks, but we are acting responsibly and legally.”

The Associated Press and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press didn’t believe either the veracity or legality of Comey’s statement, and sued the FBI to disclose documents relating to the practice — ultimately obtaining a redacted memo in which the agency acknowledged the agents violated the FBI’s own guidelines. However, the memo also stated that violation, under the circumstances, was not “unreasonable.”

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.

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In June this year, the FBI firmed up its rules for when an agent can pretend to be a journalist — but the added rules haven’t quelled the ire.

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.

“We believe the new interim policy on undercover activities that involve FBI employees posing as members of the news media is a significant improvement to FBI policies that existed,” states the inspector general.

But no one outside the FBI or DOJ’s Office of Inspector General who grasps the grievous threat to free speech and press — or the potential slippery slope law enforcement co-opting the media represents — agrees anything short of an abolishment on the practice could be acceptable.

“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.

“The Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press is deeply troubled by today’s disclosure,” David Boardman, RCFP steering committee chairman, wrote in a statement last Thursday, “that the FBI believes that there is a place in this country for federal agents to impersonate journalists. Such a policy can seriously damage the public’s trust in its free press and the ability of journalists to hold government accountable. We urge the Justice Department to take seriously the need for reform and the importance of protecting the integrity of the newsgathering process.”

Anyone with cursory knowledge of the U.S. government’s nefarious programs to control its citizenry will undoubtedly see similarities between the FBI’s fake journalism plot and the post-World War II CIA propaganda campaign, Operation Mockingbird.

To ensure support for its operations and views, the CIA clandestinely recruited American journalists and media outlets, funded the creation of student and cultural organizations, launched purely propaganda-based print media, and, ultimately, worked its way into political campaigns and employed similar methods abroad.

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.

Mockingbird covertly influenced national opinion for years, nefariously planting the CIA’s narrative on the unwitting collective public mind before finally being at least partially exposed over a decade later. It wasn’t until a congressional investigation in 1975 the putative full extent of the program was revealed. Although the CIA claimed it would no longer recruit journalists and media organizations into its folds, Mockingbird has oft been rumored never to have stopped.

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.

It would seem Mockingbird endures to this day — and whatever premise the government claims as reason to become the American media — the public remains, for the large part, its oblivious, captive audience.

Claire Bernish writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared.

  • eddysachs

    I fail to see why I’m constantly being MONITORED AP…with no Ad Hominem or Hate Speech whatsoever???

    • Common Sense

      We all are. I’ve noticed for sometime now.
      I’m sure there are programs running to flag the post if certain words are used and that list is probably changing and growing everyday.
      I don’t think it is all AP either. Big brother surely has a hand in it.
      While we sleep they infiltrate many areas.

      • eddysachs

        The mere fact that we’re using our own critical thinking & commenting on an ‘Alternative’ orbit….has us on multiple lists of various ‘goose-stepping’ / ‘heel clicking’ neocon Satasi alphabet agencies.
        …But I’m tooooo long in the tooth & tooooo old a guard dog… to care about the ‘how & the why’ of my eventual demise…I have my own ‘spiritual house’ in order…as I made peace with my decision a long time ago ….nobody gets outa here alive…including them.

        • Arcanek

          I’ve been a thorn is the side of authoritarianism since i as a child. frustrated the teachers to no end since at least second grade. I never did any homework, until I got to high school, when they had study hall, and i had nothing better to do.

    • Arcanek

      I don’t think it’s an algorithm. I know they sometimes adjust the scripting on the fly, but the way they’ve dealt with me makes me think that they have a moderator pool that gets priority messaged whenever somebody on their hot list posts. Pay attention to the circumstances. Are you being censored for starting a thread, or is it on replies? This will help id their sockpuppets. I’m sure there’s some auto censoring of some sort, but i don’t think I’m triggering it, so maybe that’s due to you implicating certain religio/philosophical subgroup. I just lump them all together and use the term elitist. I notice that the word totalitarian, and its variants gets comments scrubbed on the more lamestream sites. Eddy, you’re being monitored because you’re a menace to society. Their society. They don’t want you thinking.

      If you get censored dealing with a particular troll, then copy the last message from the troll and start a new thread, rather than reply, and this will not message them unless their settings are not set to default of receiving replies to their own messages.

      • eddysachs

        Arcenek…I just got moderated answering your comment…unfuknbeeeleevable…probably some pencil neck that has a hard on for me because I insult them every chance I get -hahahaha!

        • Arcanek

          When you get inside their rock noggins like I do, they cut the thread off. It’s nice to have something to laugh about. Laughing is good for the health. I can just see a wisp of smoke wafting from their reddened ears as they end the discussion in outrage that someone out there thinks for themselves. Always good for a chuckle.

          • eddysachs

            There’s a novel that Kurt Vonnegut wrote where he was being moderated by someone in the Fed that read his mail every day…so Kurt started to write letters directly to the snoop…where it wore on this guys conscience so badly that the snoop spook got to the point that he finally couldn’t take it anymore & quit his job….cheers

          • HanzP

            I love Vonnegut, but people seem to love him or HATE him. He smoked Pall Mall 100’s too ! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bf90f7d7dceecc520a8baba946d9d349126fb1b19fe0ca8bae11f64e8d8844c8.jpg

            Archy says, “I don’t think it’s an algorithm.”
            — We’ve talked this before and have disagreed. IMO, it is mostly definitely algorithms, screen words (why do you think words are loaded with metadata) and some kuntz that report people for hurting their “rights”. What is completely phucked is that they don’t disclose the RULES — so communication is not only perverted by the language (spelling phucked, definitions Bullshited, words weaponized w/ targeted emotional loaded metadata contructions), the actual telecommunication utility itself is a system of random arbitrarily determined speech ‘privilege’ based on secret rules. Now imagine if someone tried to pull this crap with your phone service or letters in the mail? Of course before metadata none of this was possible — but yeah, the NSA only collects metadata (which is a lie), but I would gratefully agree to give them the ability to track everything — except metadata. We would be a thousand times better off.

            In other words, metadata it is designed to suppress specific messages or ideas that can be determined by very complex algorithms (empirically derived data scientism) that attach “weights” combinations of words, based is unlimited data targeted correlations — in fact everything we write is data for advancing such purposes. There are still human mediators, but the goal of course is to automate all these processes and subjugate communication to the beast system of magick.

            It’s the machines, that what the “cloud” ! Hmmm…not I wonder where the term came from… Hope that rambly bit made some sense of what’s really going on here.

            Cheers.

            Hope that ramble mad

          • Arcanek

            I’m sure there’s some algorithms involved, but I doubt they’d have an algorithm that ends threads that I’m engaging in with one of their sockpuppets. Also, as Eddy mentions, it doesn’t seem to be hot word related. And, the replies I’ve made that trigger the end of the thread are just asking for the troll to quote any message I’ve ever posted that supports their straw man argument against my position.

          • HanzP

            Read my post above, regarding hot word related: “=====Original post (with the unspeakable word changed to “Joos”) =======”. I agree the other problems exist, but ultimately AI will replace those functions too — my larger point.

            Cheers!

          • Arcanek

            I read it, and in the interim, I posted a comment on AP that was ‘awaiting moderation’. After 20-30 minutes, i refreshed the page, and it was gone, no trace. So, I just repasted it, and it went right through. So, it looks like their AI just pipes to a moderator or mod pool, which would explain the inconsistencies. As for going to AI exclusively, that might be the plan, that will turn out to be not very wise.

          • HanzP

            All I have to say, is every-PHUCKING-thing in this god forsaken country does exactly opposite of it’s claimed purpose !!

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4649296539eeafeab80fd60561f2d62cba0de67409001a715b7d8a4d47f99ff5.jpg

          • Arcanek

            What else would you expect, when the self declared ‘leaders’ are are the ones with the worst reputation as liars on the planet? Starting with the lie that they know better than the people what is best for the people.

          • Arcanek

            What else would you expect, when the self declared ‘leaders’ are are the ones with the worst reputation as liars on the planet? Starting with the lie that they know better than the people what is best for the people.

            the curse of the grumpies on disqus, if this double posts.

          • eddysachs

            Good one Hanz…look below at my comment that was modnerated a record 3 times!!!///hahahahaha!

          • HanzP
    • c_chandler

      yahoo has hired opuerto ricans to censor the posts for awhile now. seems it it is the censor’s point of view that matters, not whether your post is flamingly unconsitutional.

  • Garry Compton

    This is old – Obama signed the Propaganda law into effect years ago- it made it legal to use propaganda Against the American people – which means there are no longer any laws against any propaganda and ALL consequences. – America – you’re F…d

    • Pyra Gorgon

      Not really. You just have to think for yourself and do not believe known liars. Pretty simple.

      • Garry Compton

        You don’t seem to get it PG – If it is legal to lie to the Public – then it is legal for the Gov. to lie in any way, and be totally be off the hook for just about everything they do. Which today is throwing all International Laws – out the windows, along with the Constitution. Pretty simple until you are the one that is charged with a crime and the cops, FBI, Prosecutors and the rest can legally lie.

        • friend-thru-the-storm

          Scary!!! & it’s all happened already in places, i bet:-(

          • eagle keeper

            Scary indeed. We know of a training camp near Jesup, Ga. The sworn enemy lives among us, shops at the same stores as we do. Heck they probably send their kids to school with ours too. We need to be vigilant, very vigilant. Although at this point, I’m not sure it will matter all that much? What I am saying is, are these invaders like a cancer that slowly eats away from the inside out? Will they indeed take this country without firing a shot? Time I guess will tell.

        • Pyra Gorgon

          They’ve been doing that for years anyways. Just now they are being brazen about it is all. Nothing news here, really.

          • HanzP

            Censored, will try again. is it the J-word?

            “If it is legal to lie to the Public – then it is legal for the Gov. to lie in any way, and be totally be off the hook for just about everything they do. Which today is throwing all International Laws – out the windows, along with the Constitution.”

            Oh how they forget, PyRA. Those people still relying on the external laws of the Pharisees — forgetting that their divinely endowed natural rights and the highest principles of truth are not derived from any earthly authority. And most tragically of all — not from the state.

            “When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation…

            We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable Rights; that among these, are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness; that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…

            For the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
            — Jefferson, Declaration of Independence (July 4th, 1776)

            Pharisaic Laws

            In contrast to the two commands of Christ, the Pharisees had developed a system of 613 laws, 365 negative commands and 248 positive laws… By the time Christ came it had produced a heartless, cold, and arrogant brand of righteousness. As such, it contained at least ten tragic flaws.

            (1) New laws continually need to be invented for new situations.

            (2) Accountability to God is replaced by accountability to men.

            (3) It reduces a person’s ability to personally discern.

            (4) It creates a judgmental spirit.

            (5) The Pharisees confused personal preferences with divine law.

            (6) It produces inconsistencies.

            (7) It created a false standard of righteousness.

            (8) It became a burden to the Joos.

            (9) It was strictly external.

            (10) It was rejected by Christ.

            Outlined from Fan the Flame, J. Stowell, Moody, 1986, p. 52.

          • Pyra Gorgon

            Good post (as usual), Hanz. The Declaration of Independence quotes seems to always either fall on deaf ears or blind eyes. When I was in college, all the younger students HAD NEVER EVER READ the Dec. of Indep. nor do they know that references to God and origin of rights. I read the declaration of independence and Constitution by 4th grade in public schools ‘back-in-the-day’. We had a class called CIVICS once a week (I think it was, maybe twice a month, cant remember exactly) where we read those documents, learned about the symbolism and what each part represents on the flag; how to display the flag, we did the ‘pledge of allegiance’ yada yada yada.

            Some may say that I was indoctrinated early because of that. However, back then, there was not the concerted push and agenda to corrupt America’s children. At least we were taught SOMETHING. Nowadays, I wonder if they even still bother.

            P.S. how do you get that formatting in your posts on Disqus? How do you bold and italicize or pull quote?

        • Arcanek

          You don’t get it. It’s all a con game. Game theory. Nobody had the right to declare themselves to be government in the first place. There was no consent of the governed. Government is based on lies, and the notion of a republic was developed to legitimize pirates, spies, thieves and slavers so they could launder their plunder through a legal system they created.

          • Garry Compton

            Oh I get it Ar – but what was not supposed to happen – DID- and the people of America are in big trouble if they don’t reverse the situation. I retired in Crimea years ago and I see/hear alot that most Americans – don’t. No one wants to see their “country” go down the tubes because of some wacked out NWO coup.

          • Arcanek

            I don’t think you do get it. The constitution was not intended to prevent the mess we have today. Patrick Henry warned about it: king, conscription, taxation and empire.He also warned about them using national security as a reason for secrecy. And he knew the people that wrote the constitution.

        • c_chandler

          police are trained to lie and have been judiciously lying a lot.

    • Joe Buckstrap

      Yes, he repealed the Smith-Mundt Act of 1947, which had been folded into the unconstitutional National Defense Authorization Act which Congress renewed. Want to get mad at somebody for this? Blame BOTH of the corrupt monopoly parties. They both share the blame for destroying this country.

      • Garry Compton

        Absolutely Joe, this guy Obama, with the same old Congress was exactly what America didn’t need after the Bush/Cheney show. I moved on in 08 and the USG still caught up to my little Peninsula here in the Black Sea –

  • Scott Pease

    The media is owned by the Demonrats and liberals,so what does it matter. The truth will disappear from the general public once the internet is handed over to the U.N.You think government propaganda is bad now,the only information available will be that which is authorized by the government.

    • friend-thru-the-storm

      But, the wise will understand and know to distrust what is been drip-fed to us. Just as we do now. ‘Tis my firm belief there is a higher ground, this world is not all there is to infinite life. The bard was correct, it is but a stage, the parts played, of course are what we choose. Do we choose to be the corrupt or un-corrupt roles??

    • eagle keeper

      For us true Americans who can tell the difference between bs and the truth, it will be like water off a duck’s back. They can run about scream and shout all the bs they want to. WE know the truth and it will set you free. Filters man filters.

  • Undecider

    Then what you do is impersonate the FBI impersonating the media. See how they like it.

  • deplorableCellaphane

    Makes being a crisis actor, childs play. I should aspire to be a professional provocateur, i would undoubtedly make more money, especially if some one films me crashing a window.

  • Silverado

    US Govt Just Legalized Operation Mockingbird — FBI Can Now Impersonate The Media
    So they’re planning on being just as tainted and unbelievable as the media? That should be no problem for them as they’re already there, especially after this crooked Hillary fiasco…

    • c_chandler

      look at obama and minions lying to get “refugees” licences and social security and food stamps just because they illegally decided to come to the usa.

  • MajJohn

    Hmm, soon posing as a news journalist will have no credibility at all, sort of like posing for aa a used car salesman. Intelligence operatives pose as embassy employees all the time and no one gets their panties in a wad.

    So this has effectively come to an end, once you meet with the Deputy AG your cover is blown at least in this administration.

  • Herbert Dorsey

    Operation Mockingbird was the brainchild of Frank Wisner, head of covert operations at CIA. This operation would plant CIA created storylines into the major news and entertainment media as a mass mind conditioning program so that the public would support CIA geopolitical agendas. This operation started in the early 1950s and continues to this day, as documented in the book “CIA: Crime Incorporated of America”. This operation was actually illegal as the CIA jurisdiction barred it from operating within the U.S.

  • eagle keeper

    With the Holy Spirit on our side, whom then shall we fear? Answer no one.

  • c_chandler

    they fail to expose the fbi arranging and setting up persons for bank robberies, and starting violent protests, and giving some jihadist sympathizer the materials to make a bomb…

  • Don’t worry people… This will be one of the times the government polices itself and will not misuse this authority. We can trust government. Government is hear to help.. #Sarcasm

  • linda

    “threatens journalistic integrity” ? now that is a laugh! The media has as much integrity as the Obama regime! Both foul and perverse institutions!

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