The Obama administration and Congress continue to come up with new and different ways to spread propaganda, even to the point of using the once-respected FBI as fake media.
As reported by The Free Thought Project, undercover agents conducting investigations have been given the authority to impersonate reporters and journalists, the Justice Department just decided, which essentially legalizes Operation Mockingbird, a notorious government propaganda program.
Last week, the DOJ’s inspector general published what has become a major source of concern and outrage among the real media, civil and constitutional rights activists and advocates, and even some legal experts. In its finding titled, “A Review of the FBI’s Impersonation of a Journalist in a Criminal Investigation” which was revised this month, the IG found that it was an acceptable practice for an FBI agent to pose as an editor for The Associated Press in 2007, in order to gather evidence on a 15-year-old who was using proxy servers to email daily bomb threats to a high school near Seattle. Specifically, the IG noted that at the time of the investigation the FBI “did not prohibit agents from impersonating journalists or from posing as a member of a news organization.”
The sting operation, which did result in the identification and arrest of the teenager responsible for emailing the threats, drew a rebuke from the AP, which sent a letter of protest to then-Attorney General Eric Holder. Several other news agencies also wrote articles questioning the FBI’s tactic.
“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.”
What makes this practice particularly specious, according to many legitimate press outlets, is that giving agents the authority to infiltrate known media entities for any reason at all threatens to further erode the public’s trust and confidence – which is already at historic lows. They argue, correctly, that allowing federal law enforcement agents to impersonate reporters and editors will destroy what is left of jounalistic integrity (though that, too, has take a major hit this election cycle), and disrupt the free-flow of information from sources and whistleblowers who will be uncertain as to whom they can trust.
But none of that matters to the government. In a Nov. 6, 2014 letter to The New York Times, which had previously published a critique of the FBI’s tactic in this case, Director James Comey (yes, that James Comey) not only admitted that the agency uses “deception” at times to catch criminals, but claimed that in doing so the FBI is acting “responsibly and legally.”
So in other words, the practice isn’t going to change.
As for Operation Mockingbird, that was a CIA operation begun in the 1950s to influence (read propagandize) the media to reflect the agency’s viewpoint. The operation recruited leading American journalists who served as willing dupes.