Skip to comments.U.S. Military Report on Use of Blogs in Warfare Credits Free Republic
Posted on 04/01/2008 7:04:03 PM PDT by kristinn
An unclassified 2006 report by the Strategic Studies Department of the U.S. military's Joint Special Operations University relates the story of how Freepers, followed by others in the blogosphere, took down Dan Rather over the forged Killian memos as a way to demonstrate the growing ability of individuals using the Internet to influence the world at large.
The report also discusses the feasibility of "clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers" for information warfare and of the reticence the military has toward using the Internet for disinformation campaigns.
The report was authored by Maj. James Kinniburgh and Dr. Dorothy Denning. The authors demonstrate an incomplete knowledge of the facts in some areas of the report (to put it gently), but they are reasonably accurate in the telling of how Free Republic exposed Rathergate.
Link to PDF file of 50 page report at City Pages.
If you prefer to download it from a DOD server, that can be done here.
Link to City Pages article on report.
Link to Wired.com article on report.
The first mention of this report was found on Blogger News Network last Friday. Curiously, that article has been pulled. However, it can be found in Google cache.
The moonbats are starting to howl, of course.
Wired.com's Danger Room is faslely getting credited with breaking this story. Blogger News Network's pulled story appeared three days before Wired noticed it. (Note: I saw the Blogger News network story the day it came out. Computer problems prevented me from posting about it then.)
The introduction to the report:
September, 2004: The 2004 presidential campaign is in full swing and the producers of the television news show 60 Minutes Wednesday, at CBS, have received a memo purporting to show that the sitting President, George W. Bush, had used his family connections to avoid his service obligations. The story, given the controversy and ratings it will generate, is just too good not to run. On cursory inspection, the documents and their source appear legitimate. On September 8th, 60 Minutes producer Mary Mapes and anchorman Dan Rather decide to air it
Within minutes of airtime, posted discussion participants at the conservative Web site FreeRepublic.com posited that the documents were faked. Bloggers at Power Line1 and Little Green Footballs (littlegreenfootballs.com) picked up these comments and posted them and their associated hyperlinks on their own blogs. The clues to the now infamous Killian memo forgeries, the bloggers pointed out, were the superscript th and the Times New Roman font; both indicated the use of modern word-processing programs rather than a 1972-era typewriter. The signatures on at least two of the documents appeared to have been forged, and some with experience called into question the very format of the memo, purported to show orders issued to then-Lieutenant Bush. The story was given even greater attention after noted pundit, Matt Drudge, posted a link to the Free Republic thread on his own Web site, The Drudge Report (www.drudgereport.com).,
What followed initially was what is known as a blogswarm, where the story was carried on multiple blogs, and then later a mediaswarm. As a result of these phenomena and CBS inability to authenticate the documents, several CBS employees, including producer Mary Mapes, were asked to resign. Within a month, Dan Rather announced his own retirement.
What garnered considerable interest afterward was how a group of nonprofessional journalists was able to outperform and bring down two icons of the traditional media, CBS and Dan Rather. CBS executive Jonathan Klein said of the bloggers, You couldnt have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of checks and balances (at 60 Minutes) and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing. 2
Some columnists, like Corey Pein at the Colombia Journalism Review, explained the spread of the story (a.k.a., Memogate, or Rathergate) as the result of journalistic haste and the rapid coalescence of popular opinion, supported and enhanced by a blogging network of Republican story spinners.3
CBS offered its own explanations for the problems surrounding the story in its final report on the matter. The CBS reviewers found four major factors that contributed to the incident: weak or cursory efforts to establish the documents source and credibility, failed efforts to determine the documents authenticity, nominal efforts at provenance, and excessive competitive zeal (the rush to air).4
Despite the fact that the initial questions about the CBS story were posted on a discussion forum instead of a blog, the partially erroneous attribution of the entire Memogate incident, and other stories that followed, to bloggers likely increased public awareness of blogs and blogging, and their potential power to influence. Governments have noticed this potential, and many authoritarian governments censor blogs believed to threaten their regimes. Iran has imprisoned bloggers who offended the ruling mullahs. At the same time, however, Iranian officials recognized the value of blogs to information strategy, holding the Revolutionary Bloggers Conference to promote pro-regime blogs in February 2006.5
The rise of military bloggers from deployed areas such as Iraq has raised concerns with U.S. Department of Defense officials that information posted in a blog could compromise operations security (OPSEC). Stars and Stripes, a newspaper that caters to the overseas military personnel, quoted a recent memo from the Army Chief of Staff, General Peter Schoomaker:
The enemy aggressively reads our open source and continues to exploit such information for use against our forces, he wrote. Some soldiers continue to post sensitive information to Internet Web sites and blogs. Such OPSEC violations needlessly place lives at risk and degrade the effectiveness of our operations. 6
This paper explores the possibility of incorporating blogs and blogging into military information strategy, primarily as a tool for influence. Towards that end, we examine the value of blogs as targets of and/or platforms for military influence operations and supporting intelligence operations. Influence operations are a subset of information operations (IO) that includes the core capabilities of Psychological Operations (PSYOP) and Military Deception (MILDEC), and the related capabilities of Public Affairs (PA), Military Support to Public Diplomacy (PD) and Civil Affairs/Civil-Military Operations (CA/CMO). To evaluate the IO potential for blogs, we seek answers to two questions:
1. Are blogs truly influential, and if so, in what manner?
2. Does the information environment support blogging as part of an information campaign?
Before addressing these questions, however, we first review the nature and structure of the blogosphere.
The Slimes has always been a sucker for “posers.” I love the way the idiot in the last photo is holding on to his baseball cap. Probably doesn’t want to lose it in the rubble. The sad part is, the moron that took those photos knew that they were all staged and tried to pass them off to the American public as being real.
Why that would be right next to the Green Helmet Guy.
Remember even Brit Hume got to calling him green helmet guy.
Great thread folks.......sorry for the mass ping but figured ya’ll might enjoy this.......
Excellent! That was a lot of fun back then!
Excellent! That was a lot of fun back then!
Whoo Hoo!! bttt
Blogs have a great deal of practical value to the Pentagon.
To begin with, they can act as librarians of specialized threat and military information, with what could be a useful means of disseminating that information to military personnel in a concise and readable manner. A site like Strategy Page is almost a daily international military newspaper, filled with highly useful data for military personnel about friendly and enemy forces.
Second, they are much more capable of analyzing military information than are the uneducated main stream media (MSM). A single writer may have the equivalent of dozens of editors, scrupulously fact checking any assertion or opinion.
Third, bloggers also pick up on unauthorized or inappropriate information being disseminated. This points the finger right at leakers, propagandists, and fifth columnists. Though they cannot un-publish the information, they can be of great help stopping future leaks and mission compromising revelations.
For this reason, the Pentagon should have a special office not unlike a press office, but more complex. To start with, it should disseminate information in a blog-friendly format.
But far more importantly, it needs to collate information.
That is, a single event may result in a dozen different news stories, but there is no discrimination available that tells bloggers that they are from the same event, and not just similar events. A Pentagon blog office would immeasurably aid with the dissemination of accurate information, stripped of erroneous interpolation, extrapolation, background information and opinion.
Basically assigning a data number to a particular information release, Pentagon or private. Then, news stories based on that information can be analyzed for details, accuracy, bias, and outright lies. The Pentagon should not be bashful at all at identifying anti-military and anti-American slants to the news.
Media correspondents should not only be rated by the Pentagon, but the public should see that information. The Pentagon might even have a website critique of journalists, pointing out errors in their writings like a schoolteacher would correct for grammar. Text that is red is incorrect, text that is blue is opinion, text in green is factlessly judgmental, and text in orange is plagiarized.
But the bottom line is that bloggers can be a useful civilian and prior-service military source of information, they can offer morale and material support, and they can break the monopoly of information by the MSM.
A warning for many.
Your breaking of this story is what led me to FR.
I’ve been hooked ever since. Thank you... I think.
Thank you all for the education.