In a July 24 Defense Department public affairs briefing, Pentagon spokesman George Little (shown) told DoD public affairs officers that they must increase and intensify their efforts to deal with bad news stories before the independent media and social media websites make them go viral on the Internet. (The DoD press story is here; the actual video recording of the press briefing is here.)
“When bad things happen, the American people should hear it from us, not as a scoop on the Drudge Report,” said Little, who, as assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs, is the Pentagon’s chief spokesman. “We cannot hide our bad news stories,” Little also said. “Bad news gets out one way or the other and we must come to terms with telling bad stories as well as the good.” He also stated that commanders must be open and honest with the media, and should avoid “spin,” something he said he has no taste for.
All of which sounds very positive; open and honest is good, right? However, it was apparent from Little’s response to the first question from the assembled public affairs officers that he was being less than “open and honest” with his spinning of the official line on the NSA’s illegal spying on American citizens. Public affairs officer Johnson asked (about 23:00 on the video timeline) for an official “from the horse's mouth” response as to how public affairs officers are supposed to deal with media questions about the spying/surveillance scandal.
In typical Beltway fashion, Little evaded the question with a non-answer answer that praised the NSA’s General Alexander for doing a good job (of lying to Congress and the American people). “General Alexander, I think, has done a very effective job in recent media interviews, and I think the more the NSA can talk about what it does that contributes to the nation’s security, I think that will be helpful in informing the American people…. But there’s going to be light at the end of the tunnel, but it won’t be easy…. As long as we’re straightforward and accurate — I think that’s how we have to deal with the situation.”
General Alexander, of course, and virtually all of the Obama administration’s top intelligence officials (including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and FBI Director Robert Mueller) have been repeatedly caught in lies, untruths, prevarications, and semantic dodges. (See here, here, here, and here.)
In a March 12 Senate hearing, DNI Clapper engaged in Clintonian semantic evasion and denial that most reasonable people would consider lying. Here is the relevant exchange with Sen. Ron Wyden:
SEN. RON WYDEN (D-Ore.): “This is for you, Director Clapper, again on the surveillance front. And I hope we can do this in just a yes or no answer because I know Senator Feinstein wants to move on. Last summer, the NSA director was at a conference, and he was asked a question about the NSA surveillance of Americans. He replied, and I quote here, ‘The story that we have millions or hundreds of millions of dossiers on people is completely false.’
“The reason I’m asking the question is, having served on the committee now for a dozen years, I don’t really know what a dossier is in this context. So what I wanted to see is if you could give me a yes or no answer to the question, does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”
Director of National Intelligence JAMES CLAPPER: “No, sir.”
SEN. WYDEN: “It does not?”
DIR. CLAPPER: “Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect, but not wittingly.”
SEN. WYDEN: “Thank you. I’ll have additional questions to give you in writing on that point, but I thank you for the answer."
Subsequently, of course, it has been revealed that NSA has indeed been collecting data on millions of Americans. In a June 9 interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Clapper stated that his false response to Sen. Wyden was “the most truthful, or least untruthful” response he could give. He admitted he had engaged in deceptive semantics that some would describe as “too cute by half.” But there is really nothing cute at all about heads of very powerful spy agencies engaged in widespread violation of the rights of American citizens, while also violating the oaths they’ve sworn to defend the Constitution — and lying about it to congressional oversight committees with clever semantics.
"Putting Out Mindless Propaganda"
During the DoD’s July 24 public affairs briefing, George Little also took a question from Staff Sgt. Hostutler, who asked him for help in changing the culture of the DoD’s public affairs leadership because she feels she is being tasked with “putting out mindless propaganda” that the American people no longer trust.
“It seems like we have this culture in our career to kinda glaze over these issues,” said Hostutler, “and put out this positive press — ‘No, our jets are fine’ — and so with the good and the bad, I don’t think the American people actually trust us to deliver accurate information.”
“Is there a plan to kinda change the way that we think?” Hostutler asked. “Because as it is, a lot of people, from what I can see, are going through — We’re putting out mindless propaganda — is what some of us feel that we’re putting out and what the American people feel that we’re putting out, so how do we change this?”
Little replayed the slick transparency/honesty/openness gambit:
This is a point of tension …"What is spin versus what is legitimate defense of your equities?" My perspective on this is that we should not think in terms of spin. I’m not a big fan of that word and it’s something I try to avoid…. But the way to get through such problems as the one you’ve just noted, I think, is to acknowledge when we’ve got a problem. It’s gonna get out, so let’s be straightforward about it. So, let’s be accurate, and let’s show a plan for how we’re going to get through the problem…. We have to tell it to the American people as straight as we can. If we try to avoid the problem, delay it, if we’re not up front, then that’s going to have a corrosive effect…. I don’t think in terms of spin, I certainly don’t think in terms of propaganda…. I think about our obligation, morally and legally to be accurate and to tell the truth.
Truth? Skeptics have good reason to doubt that Little is a reliable source of truth. Prior to taking his position as top "truth teller" for DoD, he held a similar position at the Central Intelligence Agency, as the agency’s director of public affairs. (Little makes reference to his CIA stint at the beginning of his July 24 briefing Q&A.) That was under CIA chief Michael Hayden, who had previously (1999-2005) served as director of NSA. While running NSA, Hayden had launched that agency’s massive illegal domestic surveillance program for President Bush. One of the first exposés in the major media of that unconstitutional Bush-Hayden-NSA program came in May 2006 with a detailed article by Leslie Cauley in USA Today.
Little was certainly aware of this high-profile media exposé of NSA’s abuse and false denials to Congress and the press. Prior to his CIA service, George Little was (according to his official DoD bio) “an intelligence community and business consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton,” the mammoth hi-tech consultancy with large contracts with the DoD and intelligence agencies. (Among other claims to infamy, Booz Allen Hamilton, reportedly, had a major role in developing NSA’s invasive PRISM surveillance program. Most recently, BAH has been noted as the former employer of NSA whistleblower/defector Edward Snowden.) It is altogether likely that the intelligence chiefs recently exposed lying to Congress and the press (Alexander, Clapper, Mueller, et al.) were coached by Little and/or some of his Booz Allen confreres.
During the course of his public affairs briefing, George Little said new approaches should include engaging more with nontraditional journalists such as bloggers and tweeters, who sometimes break news but also may report gossip and rumor. It might not be too cynical to translate this into: We need to do more to compromise and corrupt the alternative media and turn them into lap dogs the way we’ve successfully done with the MSM “journalists.”
Of course, DoD does not (as far as we know) have the billions of dollars of “Black Ops” funds outside of congressional oversight that CIA, NSA, and other intel agencies do. With its huge, unaudited slush funds, the CIA has been buying American journalists for decades. According to media insider Carl Bernstein (of Watergate, Pulitzer Prize, Washington Post, and All the President’s Men fame) over 400 American journalists — many of them very prominent — were working in various capacities for the CIA. That was back in 1977, when he penned his essay, “The CIA and the Media” for Rolling Stone magazine. Bernstein wrote:
In 1953, Joseph Alsop, then one of America’s leading syndicated columnists, went to the Philippines to cover an election. He did not go because he was asked to do so by his syndicate. He did not go because he was asked to do so by the newspapers that printed his column. He went at the request of the CIA.
Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty-five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters.
Further investigation into the matter, CIA officials say, would inevitably reveal a series of embarrassing relationships in the 1950s and 1960s with some of the most powerful organizations and individuals in American journalism.
Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were William Paley of the Columbia Broadcasting System, Henry Luce of Time Inc., Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times, Barry Bingham Sr. of the Louisville Courier-Journal, and James Copley of the Copley News Service. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include the American Broadcasting Company, the National Broadcasting Company, the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald-Tribune.
By far the most valuable of these associations, according to CIA officials, have been with the New York Times, CBS and Time Inc.
What Bernstein doesn’t mention anywhere in his stinging critique is another all-important three-letter acronym that has played the key role in the subversive CIA-Big Media collusion: CFR, for Council on Foreign Relations.
This is no minor oversight. Virtually all the major names he mentions in his 25,000-word article — Joseph Alsop, William Paley, Henry Luce, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, C.L. Sulzberger, Barry Bingham Sr., Philip Graham, Katherine Graham, Norman E. Isaacs, Philip L. Geyelin, Sam Jaffe, Cord Meyer — are CFR members. As are/were hundreds of other corporate Big Media journos and execs, over the past few decades: Tom Brokaw, Diane Sawyer, Tom Braden, Michael R. Bloomberg, Barbara Walters, Andrea Mitchell, Brian Williams, Judith Miller, Rupert Murdoch, Thomas L. Friedman, and William F. Buckley — to name a few.
The top drawer slots at CIA have also almost always been reserved for CFR members, going back to its earliest days, when it was known as the OSS, under William J. Donovan (CFR). CIA directors who were/are also CFR members include Walter Bedell Smith, Allen Dulles (a CFR founding father), John McCone, Richard Helms, James R. Schlesinger, William E. Colby, George H. W. Bush (the future U.S. president), Stansfield Turner, William J. Casey, William H. Webster, Robert M. Gates, James Woolsey, John Deutch, George Tenet, and Michael Hayden.
Admiral Chester Ward, a former judge advocate general of the U.S. Navy, was for many years a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, but subsequently became one of its chief critics when it became clear to him that the organization was fundamentally subversive. According to Admiral Ward, the goal of the CFR is the "submergence of U.S. sovereignty and national independence into an all-powerful one-world government." Ward charged that "this lust to surrender the sovereignty and independence of the United States is pervasive throughout most of the membership."
This lust was especially clear in the case of CIA/CFR/media doyen Cord Meyer, who was president of the United World Federalists (which the CIA funded) and a lifelong avid advocate of world government.
Another example was Tom Braden (CIA/CFR/columnist/newspaper publisher), best known for his seven-year stint as the liberal commentator opposite Pat Buchanan on CNN’s Crossfire. During a September 15, 1983 episode of Crossfire, Braden was forced into making some surprising admissions concerning his work in the CIA funding communist, socialist, and subversive organizations. During debate with Scott Stanley, editor of American Opinion magazine and The Review of the News magazine (both forerunners of The New American), Braden admitted that the pro-communist National Student Association was actually “a CIA front” and that the CIA provided millions of dollars in funds to the Communist Party’s Daily Worker newspaper.
The CIA/CFR/Big Media collusion continues, which is why we are unlikely to see any serious pushback by the MSM journalists concerning the accelerating drive toward the Big Brother total surveillance state of the CIA/NSA/FBI/DOD/IRS/TSA/DHS. Any serious exposure and genuine opposition must continue to be mounted by truly independent media and patriot bloggers.