Congressmen seek to lift propaganda ban

Michael Hastings reports: An amendment that would legalize the use of propaganda on American audiences is being inserted into the latest defense authorization bill, BuzzFeed has learned.

The amendment would “strike the current ban on domestic dissemination” of propaganda material produced by the State Department and the Pentagon, according to the summary of the law at the House Rules Committee’s official website.

The tweak to the bill would essentially neutralize two previous acts—the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987—that had been passed to protect U.S. audiences from our own government’s misinformation campaigns.

The bi-partisan amendment is sponsored by Rep. Mac Thornberry from Texas and Rep. Adam Smith from Washington State.

In a little noticed press release earlier in the week — buried beneath the other high-profile issues in the $642 billion defense bill, including indefinite detention and a prohibition on gay marriage at military installations — Thornberry warned that in the Internet age, the current law “ties the hands of America’s diplomatic officials, military, and others by inhibiting our ability to effectively communicate in a credible way.”

The bill’s supporters say the informational material used overseas to influence foreign audiences is too good to not use at home, and that new techniques are needed to help fight Al-Qaeda, a borderless enemy whose own propaganda reaches Americans online.

Critics of the bill say there are ways to keep America safe without turning the massive information operations apparatus within the federal government against American citizens. [Continue reading...]

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Comments

  1. Al-Qaeda, the boogieman that the C.I.A. created, uses, while allowing the 1%ers to loot the treasury. Now, I ask you, just who are the terrorists in this scenario? They must be any & all who don’t buy into the KABUKI being played out, nor drink the koolaid offered. The worst part in all this, is the courts are going along with it too. What a shame, that these so called intelligent peoples, are just a bunch of pathetic wannabe’s, willing to throw their friends and neighbors under the bus while raising their hand in a salute to the head ding dong.

  2. The simple dictionary definition of the word propaganda is “the spreading of ideas”.

    Golly, how many know that there is a legal ban on “domestic dissemination” of propaganda material produced by the State Department and the Pentagon” brought about in in 1948 and again1987 in order to protect U.S. audiences from our own government’s misinformation campaigns.
    You mean the government has misinformation campaigns?
    With the reality of the Medias secretarial relationship with the State Department, the Pentagon and the White house, obviously the ban has had no effect. One must strain very hard to find that these current laws have” tied the hands of America’s diplomatic officials, military, and others by inhibiting their ability to effectively communicate in a credible way- the stuff the used overseas to influence foreign audiences is just too good to not use at home.”
    By all means the fetters must be dropped, even though they have not done much in the first place.The U.S. is the rule of law nation. Domestic audiences (the U.S. Public) deserve to ‘legally’ recieve that good stuff here at home. Fair is fair…correct?

  3. delia ruhe says:

    Finally, the law catches up to the practice.