US 'Psychological Operations' comes home

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Saturday, January 28, 2006

United States Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged in a document called the "Information Operations Roadmap" that the Pentagon's information packages meant for foreign consumption are often "consumed by our domestic audience."

The National Security Archives, a private non-profit research group obtained the document through a Freedom of Information Act request and made it public this month.

"Secretary Rumsfeld's road map says the American people can't be protected from the Pentagon's psychological operations abroad but it doesn't matter as long as he's not targeting the American public. It's the collateral damage theory of propaganda," said the director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, Thomas Blanton.

The role of PSYOP, according to the document itself, is an effort by the military to "convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals."

Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said the Pentagon was not comfortable with propaganda "bleeding back" from overseas to the United States. "We're not OK with it," Di Rita said. "First of all, we're not lying. We're talking about truthful, accurate information, so that's baloney." Di Rita said.

The document said that "psyops," are restricted by policy and executive order from targeting US audiences, US military personnel and news agencies and outlets. "However, information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and PSYOP, increasingly is consumed by our domestic audience and vice-versa."

"Information Operations Roadmap" said in part: "The increasing ability of people in most parts of the globe to access international information sources makes targeting particular audiences more difficult. Today the distinction between foreign and domestic audiences becomes more a question of USG (U.S. government) intent rather than information dissemination practices."

Information used in psychological operations "will often be replayed by the news media for much larger audiences, including the American public...The likelihood that PSYOP messages will be replayed to a much broader audience, including the American public, requires specific boundaries be established," the document stated.

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