Pentagon Opens Review Of Its Clandestine Psychological Operations

Pentagon Opens Review Of Its Clandestine Psychological Operations

Authored by Dave DeCamp via AntiWar.com,

The Pentagon has ordered a sweeping review of how it conducts clandestine information warfare after social media sites removed fake accounts that were suspected of being linked to the US militaryThe Washington Post reported on Monday.

A report published last month by research groups Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory detailed the activity of fake accounts on Facebook and Twitter that were promoting pro-Western narratives in posts targeting audiences overseas. The social media companies removed around 150 accounts over the past few years, with some removed recently as they were promoting anti-Russia narratives about the war in Ukraine.

Soldiers assigned to the Military Information Support Task Force-Central (MISTF-C) Production Development Detachment at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Image: US Army

The report did not attribute blame for the accounts, but two unnamed military officials speaking to the Post hinted that US Central Command (CENTCOM) was involved. Separately, the Post said that Facebook removed fictitious personas created by CENTCOM to counter a Chinese claim that Covid-19 originated from the US Army bio lab in Fort Detrick, Maryland.

In response to the Graphika and Stanford Internet Observatory report, Colin Kahl, the undersecretary of defense for policy, ordered the review, which instructed US military command involved in psychological operations to fill the White House in on their activities by next month. Kahl said he wanted to know what types of operations were being carried out and if they were effective.

The US military has a long history of psychological operations, but its activities online in that area are shrouded in secrecy. While there are military units that specialize in psyops, such as the US Army’s 4th Psychological Operations Group, the Pentagon also employs more covert forces in this area.

A video published by the US Army’s 4th Psychological Operations Group earlier this year: