There is a word with which we have all become acquainted over the past few years. That word is disinformation, and, as many politicians assert, it is indeed a danger to democracy. When voters are misinformed, they make bad decisions – and sometimes those decisions are catastrophically bad. Unfortunately, the most influential disinformation campaigns have been conducted not by foreign adversaries but by presidential campaigns here at home, aided and abetted by the Deep State and a compliant and complicit media. Still, the official narrative is that America’s rivals are the problem, and so the Biden administration has used a crisis that doesn’t exist to create its own “Ministry of Truth” known as the Foreign Malign Influence Center, or FMIC.
In 2022, Congress approved funding for the FMIC effective May 8, 2023. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines appointed Jeffrey K. Wichman, a former senior CIA analyst, to head up the new agency in the role of acting director. So, it seems that the quick demise of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Governance Board did not deter those who want to control what Americans hear, read, and believe. Now, they have revived the same entity under a different department and with a slightly less Orwellian name. But that’s not the whole story.
The Biden administration never did abandon its plans for sweeping censorship in the name of election integrity and national security. Though the Disinformation Governance Board disappeared, various federal government departments created their own versions, such as the Department of Defense’s Influence and Perception Management Office. The FMIC represents a ramping up of the executive branch’s war on unapproved news and opinion, operating within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to oversee the entire effort to counter what the administration deems to be disinformation. From the FMIC fact sheet:
“The threat to U.S. democratic processes and institutions from foreign malign influence is persistent and dynamic. Informing efforts to counter it requires constant attention, a whole-of-government approach, support from the private sector, and engagement from the public.”
If this sounds awfully close to the very definition of fascism, that’s because it is.
The legislation to approve funding for the FMIC describes “foreign malign influence” as “any hostile effort undertaken by, at the direction of, or on behalf of or with the substantial support of, the government of a covered foreign country with the objective of influencing, through overt or covert means –
“(A) the political, military, economic, or other policies or activities of the United States Government or State or local governments, including any election within the United States; or
“(B) the public opinion within the United States.”
The Disinformation Experts?
“Covered foreign country” refers specifically to Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. That last line should set alarm bells ringing, though. FMIC has been charged with nothing less than guiding public opinion in America. Certainly, supporters of this idea will argue that, no, this isn’t about influencing public opinion, it’s about protecting the public from disinformation. However, if you are making decisions about what information the American people can and cannot access, then you are indeed guiding or influencing public opinion. After all, who is to say what is or is not disinformation? Is there anyone currently working in the US Intelligence Community who is capable of knowing what is real and what is fabricated? It would not appear so, based on two relatively recent events.
In 2016, the campaign of then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton launched its own disinformation campaign that completely fooled the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the wider Justice Department. It paid a former British spy to produce what became known as the Steele dossier. This collection of unverified memos and media articles aimed at sinking Donald Trump’s White House campaign sparked an extensive FBI operation and then a special counsel investigation. It all turned out to be inconclusive at best and downright ridiculous at worst.
Fast forward to 2020 when 51 senior members or former members of the Intelligence Community signed a letter saying the Hunter Biden laptop story bore “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” The signatories offered no evidence to support this claim because they had none. They turned out to be wrong. So, what does that say about these officials and former officials? How competent are they? When they claimed the Hunter Biden story was likely Russian disinformation, were they lying or were they simply unable to distinguish between a real story and an “information operation”? Whatever the answer, how can such people be trusted to “protect” the American people from disinformation?
Sadly, we can expect future revelations of events that cast an unfavorable light on the current administration to be quickly labeled “foreign malign influence.” The chilling part is that ordinary American citizens who repost or like such stories on social media platforms might then find themselves accused of spreading this so-called “foreign malign influence.” There is no scenario in which a national government starts to regulate the free exchange of information and opinion that ends well for anybody but those in power.
All opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Liberty Nation.
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