How American journalism became the mouthpiece of the Deep State
Reporters joke that being the CIA spokesman is the easiest job in Washington. All you have to do is listen carefully to questions, say “no comment” and go to happy hour. The joke is up to us, however. The reporters pretend to only see one side of the CIA, the passive hiding of information. They are now benefiting from the other side of the equation, active information operations designed to influence events in America. It’s 2021 and the CIA is conducting an operation against the American people.
Leon Panetta, once director of the CIA, bluntly stated that the agency had influence strange Media before the elections to “change attitudes within the country”. The method was to “acquire media within a country or region that could very well be used to get a particular message across, or to influence those who may have elements of the media to work with you to get that message across . “The CIA has carried out such operations since the end of World War II in order to continuously influence the foreign elections.
The aim is to control information as an instrument of influence. Sometimes the controls are very direct and operate the media outlet itself. The problem is that this can be easily revealed and it destroys credibility.
A more effective strategy is to become a source of legitimate media so that your information (dis) inherits its credibility. It is most effective when one CIA system is the exit source while a second CIA system acts as the seemingly independent source of confirmation. They can relay information to the mainstream media, which they can then “independently”, sometimes unknowingly, confirm through your secondary agents. You can basically write the headlines of tomorrow.
Other techniques include exclusive true information mixed with disinformation to establish credibility, official sources such as embassy spokespersons “inadvertently” confirming sub-details, and covert funding of research and side appearances to encourage academics and experts who can discredit counter-narratives.
From the end of World War II to the church committee in 1976, all of this was dismissed as conspiracy theory. Of course, the US would not use the CIA to influence elections, especially in other democracies. Except that it was. Real-time reporting of information is inherently limited in information, although labeled with the unique fingerprints of established craftsmanship. Always give time an opportunity to explain.
Through Operation Mockingbird, the CIA has over 400 American journalists as direct assets. Almost no one has ever publicly discussed his work. Journalists have carried out these duties for the CIA with the approval of the leading American news organizations. The New York Times alone ten CIA officers prepared willingly cover for decades and remained silent about it.
Long term relationships are a powerful tool, so telling a young reporter a really big story is part of the game in order to get them promoted. Don’t forget that the anonymous source who advanced the Watergate story was an FBI officer who through his actions made the careers of young reporters Woodward and Bernstein. Bernstein went on to champion Russiagate. Woodward became a Washington hagiographer. Ken Dilanian, who previously worked for the Associated Press and now works for NBC, continues to have a “working relationship” with the CIA.
That is the craft. Again, the problem for America is that the tools of war have come home overseas, just as after 9/11 the NSA turned its antennas inward. The intelligence services are currently working against the American people with established media.
Some of this can’t be more obvious. The CIA always planted stories overseas for American outlets to pick up. In order to influence public opinion, they lied to journalists in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war. The agency works directly with Hollywood to control films about itself.
Tune in to any of the advocacy media and you will see Panels former CIA official. However, none is more egregious than John Brennan, a former director who denounced Russiagate for years when he knew from information gathered during his tenure that it was all wrong. Brennan likely leaked the basic lie that Trump was dirty with Russia to the press in January 2017, as the kick-off event for the info operation that is still ongoing today.
Brennan’s role is more than speculation. John Durham, the American attorney who led Russiagate’s ongoing investigation into the intelligence community, has requested Brennan’s emails and call logs from the CIA. Durham is also looking to see if Brennan changed his story between his public comments (not under oath: say something) and his testimony to Congress in May 2017 (under oath: watch out for perjury) on the dossier. Reporter Aaron Mate is less sensitive and presents the evidence that Brennan was “a central architect and promoter of conspiracy theory from the start”. Even more blunt is Senator Rand Paul, who directly accuses Brennan of trying to “overthrow a seated president”.
How this worked shows how info-ops intertwine with covert ops. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report shows that the FBI has launched a widespread espionage campaign using the main document of information, the Steele dossier, as an excuse. Dossier author and former British Intel officer Christopher Steele also created a textbook information loop to publicize his work and secretly became his own correspondence source.
The Horowitz report also shows that it was a 5-eye team effort. Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, a man with ties to his country’s secret services, arranged a meeting with Trump employee George Papadopoulos to start FISA surveillance. The UK GCHQ monitored Trump officials and passed information on to the NSA. The operation used CIA assets, shady academics Stefan Halper and Joseph Mifsud, as danglers. There was even a honey trap with an undercover FBI agent involved with a Trump employee in social situations arranged by Israel.
It was all based on nothing but disinformation, and the American press swallowed everything to falsely convince large numbers of citizens that their nation was run by a Russian asset. Robert Mueller, whose investigation all of this should do nothing to impeach, ultimately wielded one of the last political courage Americans will ever see if they go on the verge of a coup and refuse to go any further.
The CIA is a learning institution and has made a good recovery from Russiagate. Details can be examined. Here the old story fell apart. The Steele dossier was wrong. The a-ha discovery, however, was the realization that if all you can do is throw back allegations, you won’t have to deal with evidence as you will never officially prosecute anyone. The new paradigm allowed the nature of the source – the brave intelligence guys – to legitimize the allegations. Go ahead and let the CIA’s unexpected prestige as progressive heroes make things happen. It worked.
In December 2017, CNN reported that Donald Trump Jr. had advance access to the WikiLeaks archive. Within an hour, Ken Dilanian and CBS asked NBC for independent verification. It was an outright lie. How do you confirm a lie? Ask another liar.
In February 2020, the Office of the Director of the National Intelligence Service (ODNI) informed the House Intelligence Committee, in which the Russians again interfered in order to favor Trump. A few weeks earlier, the ODNI informed Bernie Sanders that the Russians were also interfering in the democratic primary elections in his favor. Both briefings were leaked, the former to the New York Times Smearing Trump for replacing his DNI, the latter to the Washington Post in front of the Nevada Caucuses to damage Sanders. Who will benefit from this is always a good question. The answer was Joe Biden.
In June 2020 the New York Times The CIA concluded that the Russians “secretly offered bounties to Taliban-affiliated militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan – including fighting American forces.” The story ran close to another claim that Trump spoke disrespectfully about fallen soldiers. Neither was true. But they broke off Trump’s announcement of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and aimed to discourage pro-military voters.
Earlier this month the Washington Post, citing anonymous sources, asserts The FBI gave Rudy Giuliani a defense briefing in 2019 before traveling to Ukraine. Giuliani reportedly ignored the warning. The story was “independently confirmed” by both NBC and the New York Times. It was completely wrong.
We have to ask how all of these media outlets keep making the same mistakes with sources and only Trump et al. And never the other way around. You have become a machine that is just as trustworthy as the spies they rely on.
The American system has always provided a controversial role for the media. One of the earliest challenges to press freedom was the colonial Peter Zenger case, which established the right of the press to criticize politicians without allegations of defamation. In times when it really mattered, men like Edward R. Murrow worked on their craft to preserve democracy. The same applies to Walter Cronkite, who has reached his opposition to the Vietnam War New York Times Reporters weighing detention to release Pentagon papers.
In each of these cases, the few reporters who risked anything to tell the truth were held up as heroes. See that Times fight for his life that Washington Post Co-publishing the Pentagon Papers to force the government to take action not only against a competing newspaper but also against 1A itself.
Not today. Journalism is devoted to eliminating practitioners who are unwilling to play the game. Few have been targeted more than Glenn Greenwald (with Matt Taibbi finishing runner-up).
Greenwald exploded into a journalistic superhero for his coverage of Edward Snowden’s NSA archives and founded the Intercept as a platform for this work. Then something very, very strange made it seem like the Intercept had brought out one of its own whistleblower sources. There is evidence that the source was a patsy set up by the Intel community and exposed through Matt Cole, one of the Intercept journalists in this story. Cole was also involved in CIA officer John Kiriakou’s excursion as a source of torture. Whistleblowers had to think twice before turning to the intercept.
Greenwald’s later criticism of the media for accepting Deep State as the truth, particularly regarding Russiagate, made him a villain for progressives. MSNBC banned it and other outlets have cut corners. He recently left the Intercept after it refused to publish his article on Hunter Biden’s relations with China unless he deleted parts critical of Joe Biden.
The most significant alliance in the Trump era is between corporate agencies and state security agencies, whose evidence-free claims they undoubtedly disseminate. Any journalist, even the most honest and cautious, will get it wrong at times, and trusted journalists will issue immediate corrections in the process. This behavior should be Building trust…
But if the media continues to employ the same ruthless and deceitful tactics – such as claiming to have “independently verified” each other’s false stories when they were merely serving as stenographers for the same anonymous state security agents and not “verifying” anything – it strongly suggests towards a complete indifference to the truth and above all the willingness to serve as a means of disinformation.
After decades of success overseas with info ops, the CIA and others have turned these weapons on us. We see the Deep State meddling in presidential politics while destroying (albeit largely through their cooperation) the opposing media while destroying confidence in our leaders and in the process of their election. Democracy has no meaning here.
Peter Van Buren is the author of We meant well: How I helped lose the battle for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, Hoopers War: A World War II novel in Japan, and Ghosts of Tom Joad: A 99 percent story.