How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Intercept
Posted: March 4th, 2014
Western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. Today, [The Intercept is] publishing [a document from GCHQ's previously secret unit, JTRIG, the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group], entitled "The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations." Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: "false flag operations" (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting "negative information" on various forums. Government plans to monitor and influence internet communications, and covertly infiltrate online communities in order to sow dissension and disseminate false information, have long been the source of speculation. Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, a close Obama adviser and the White House's former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote a controversial paper in 2008 proposing that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-"independent" advocates to "cognitively infiltrate" online groups and websites, as well as other activist groups. Sunstein also proposed sending covert agents into "chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups" which spread what he views as false and damaging "conspiracy theories" about the government.
Note: To see a guidebook developed by intelligence agencies full of charts and information on how to infiltrate and deceive the public, click here. The Intercept is a media source being funded by Pierre Omidyar and featuring Glenn Greenwald and other top reporters known for their independence. Note that Greenwald fails to mention that Sunstein's almost exclusive focus was on "conspiracy theories" advocated by the 9/11 truth movement. For more on his call for what amounts to a new COINTELPRO, see David Ray Griffin's book Cognitive Infiltration.