The first casualty when war comes is the truth.
— Hiram Johnson
No one knows this better than the folks at the pentagon.
The newspaper USA Today said Friday an editor and reporter probing Pentagon propaganda efforts have been targeted by an online “misinformation campaign.”
Fake Twitter and Facebook accounts have been created under the names of the reporter and editor with postings denigrating their professional reputations, according to the daily.
The timing of the online harassment coincided with stories by Pentagon correspondent Tom Vanden Brook, who has written about the military’s “information operations” program that spent large sums on marketing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The program has faced criticism in and outside the Defense Department as “ineffective and poorly monitored,” the paper said.
The false online accounts, including a fake Wikipedia entry, started appearing only days after the reporter first contacted Pentagon contractors for the story, the newspaper wrote.
Two weeks after enterprise editor Ray Locker’s byline appeared on a story on the same subject, a fake website under his name — RayLocker.com — popped up, the paper said.
You see? you go writing things about the pentagon that they don’t like and misinformation about you will magically appear out of this air. But worry not…
A US official confirmed to AFP that the Defense Department had made inquiries to contractors doing public relations work to ask them about the false online accounts.
The contractors denied any such activity, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
But the websites were taken down following the Pentagon’s inquiry. Some other accounts were removed for violating Internet providers’ terms of service, USA Today said.
The Pentagon said Friday it had not launched a formal investigation of the case.
No no… why would a formal investigation be necessary?
“We’re aware of the allegations and are not dismissing them outright to be sure,” press secretary George Little told reporters.
via Yahoo! News Canada.
Uh huh, right.
Know this: If the misinformation department at the pentagon is willing to take on a reporter and an editor from the USA Today — the nation’s largest paper — who have research staff and other resources at their disposal to fight back, then it would have no problem whatsoever totally destroying an ordinary citizen who exposes the truth.