For years, Congress banned U.S. government-funded propaganda, masked as news and features reports, from being broadcast to Americans at home. The U.S. Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948, also known as the Smith-Mundt Act, made it illegal for Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, and Radio Free Asia to directly influence the news to which Americans were exposed at home with U.S. government slanted news. That all changed in January of this year when President Obama signed the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act, which lifted the ban on the three aforementioned broadcasters plus the Voice of America, Alhurra, Radio Sawa, and Radio and TV Marti permitted U.S. government broadcasters from beaming their tainted broadcasts to the American people. By his signature of theNational Defense Authorization Act, which abrogated Smith-Mundt, Obama changed a policy that had been recognized by eleven previous presidents of both political parties.
Critics of Obama’s overturning of Smith-Mundt warned that the American people would be subjected to a barrage of the type of Pentagon- and CIA-generated propaganda that permeates the airwaves of countries that have experienced the jackboot of U.S. military occupation, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Serbia, and Okinawa.
The critics were vindicated on October 27, when CBS’s 60 Minutesbroadcast a news story based entirely on the recollections of private security contractor Dylan Davies, who claimed he scaled the walls of the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012 when the building came under attack by Libyan irregulars. Davies worked for the Blue Mountain Group, one of literally hundreds of private security contractors relied upon by the U.S. and its allies around the world to provide security, logistical, and other services.
The problem for Davies, 60 Minutes reporter Lara Logan, 60 Minutesproducer Max McLellan, and CBS-owned Simon & Schuster, which published Davies’s book, “The Embassy House” under the nom de plume of Morgan Jones, is that Davies’s account of seeing U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens’s body inside the diplomatic compound and later at the hospital differed from what appeared in the FBI’s “302 report.” Davies told the FBI an entirely different story.
CBS News chairman Jeff Fager, who is also the executive producer of 60 Minutes, said he was “proud of the reporting that went into the story.” Fager had to eat crow after an investigation of the story turned up significant problems with “the reporting” and Logan and McLellan were sent on a leave of absence.
U.S. networks putting out moonshine news reports should come as no surprise after Obama’s abrogation of Smith-Mundt. Logan is married to Joseph Burkett, a prime facilitator of U.S. Army psychological operations on the battlefield. There is little doubt that Logan has allowed herself to be bamboozled by psy-ops fabricators like Davies and her husband.
Burkett worked for the Lincoln Strategy Group in Iraq and that is where he met Logan. Although Burkett was married with a child and Logan was in a relationship following the initiation of her divorce proceedings with her South African professional basketball player husband, the two carried on a tryst in Iraq that ultimately resulted in marriage. The fact that a CBS News reporter was carrying on with a U.S. military psy-ops contractor while covering a war should have set off alarm bells among CBS News’s senior management but it did not. There was even a report of a major brawl in Iraq between Burkett and CNN reporter Michael Ware over the attention of Logan, a former South African swimsuit model.
The Lincoln Group was founded by Nathan Sproul, a former executive director for the Arizona Republican Party and one of many GOP politicos who cashed in on the billions of Pentagon dollars that were up for grabs during the U.S. occupation of Iraq for “media influence operations.” Another Lincoln principal is Chuck Coolidge, a former press aide to Arizona Republican Senator John McCain who now volunteers for a non-profit educational group fostering secondary education in Turkmenistan and serves as vice president of “1820 Investment Group LLC” of Phoenix.
Burkett reaped in some of the Pentagon largesse as a Lincoln Group “information operations” contractor at Camp Victory in Iraq. The Lincoln Group is now known as Strategic Social. The firm’s website claims the company has “permanent staff and offices in Washington D.C., Silicon Valley, Baghdad, Kabul, Basra, Kandahar and North Africa.”
Strategic Social, a much smaller firm than its predecessor Lincoln Group, four “official” employees as opposed to Lincoln’s 80 employees, was founded by Matt Bigge, a former Army Ranger who served on the board of Narus, the Israeli telecommunications spyware company now owned by Boeing. WMR’s sources have revealed that Bigge is close to Matthew Armstrong, who worked for the Lincoln Group in Iraq, providing support to General William Caldwell, IV, the spokesman for the Mutli-National Force – Iraq (MNF-I).
Armstrong reportedly is using his connections with Strategic Social to pick up some lucrative influence operations work with the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). The United States is heavily expanding its psychological operations in Africa, notwithstanding the debacle of Benghazi.
But more importantly, earlier this year, President Obama nominated Armstrong to serve as a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which now oversees the operations of all U.S. government broadcasters, including the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Liberty, and Radio Free Asia, all of which are now permitted, with the killing of Smith-Mundt, to permeate U.S. airwaves with federal government propaganda. Armstrong was confirmed by the Senate on August 1.
Adding to the suspicions generated by Armstrong’s appointment to the BBG and the total collapse of 60 Minutes as a trusted news source, is informed speculation that Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings, killed in a fiery car crash in Los Angeles, was investigating U.S. government media manipulation via the BBG and Pentagon information operations contractors at the time of his death.
U.S. government media influence operations are nothing new for members of the National Press Club. The televisions in the press club lounge were donated by the Harris Corporation, a major U.S. military psy-ops contractor that was active with the Lincoln Group and SAIC in Iraq. The televisions are pre-set by some unwritten agreement and hardly ever vary from Fox News, CNBC, CNN, and MS-NBC. RT and Al Jazeera are never aired.