Digital Conflict

By Kevin Coleman

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Kevin Coleman

Reducing damage from classified leaks

The number and impact of recent operational and intelligence leaks has caught the attention of just about everyone in the defense community, especially the upper brass. Their concern is that these leaks will not only have a negative impact on our national security but also could cost the lives of covert operatives working on our behalf. These events and concerns have resulted in a number of investigations being launched to get to the bottom of the leaks.

As the FBI continues its investigation into the inappropriate disclosures of this sensitive information, intelligence professionals, strategists and Defense Department policy staff are working on ways to solve this complex problem. In early July, an interesting idea surfaced that has by one account gotten legs.

The strategy is quite simple, the DOD and the intelligence community will work cooperatively to design and implement an ongoing disinformation campaign to proactively blur the view of sensitive information if it is leaked. This campaign is said to be designed to distribute false information deliberately and in some cases covertly to obscure the truth.

Disinformation as it relates to espionage or military intelligence is generally defined as the deliberate spreading of false information to mislead an adversary as to one's position or course of action. Some military and intelligence agencies also refer to this as black propaganda.

These techniques are commonly used to manipulate the recipients of the information at the rational level by either discrediting actual (i.e., real) information or supporting false conclusions.

I reached out to my sources to see if I could confirm this course of action and got the following response: “Implementing a disinformation campaign? With all the contradictory reports that I see in the media I thought we had done that years ago." Of course, the leak about the design and implementation of a disinformation campaign to obscure the truth could be disinformation itself.

Posted by Kevin Coleman on Jul 12, 2012 at 12:54 PM


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