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Pentagon, Keep Your Dirty Hands Off My Blog! Bloggers, Unite!

April 1st, 2008 · No Comments · Ethics in Government

Demcoracy Now reports on a particularly nasty initiative to hack into bloggers. Here’s the full report:

Military Considers Recruiting & Hiring Bloggers

In media news, new questions are being raised over the relationship between the Pentagon and bloggers. has uncovered a 2006 study written for the U.S. Special Operations Command that suggests the military should clandestinely recruit or hire prominent bloggers. The report stated “Hiring a block of bloggers to verbally attack a specific person or promote a specific message may be worth considering.” The report also suggested the Pentagon hack blogs that promote messages that are antithetical to U.S. interests. The report went on to say: “Hacking the site and subtly changing the messages and data—merely a few words or phrases—may be sufficient to begin destroying the blogger’s credibility with the audience. “

At first I thought it might be an April Fool’s joke, especially when a Google search for pentagon blogging hack didn’t turn up anything useful. But I traced back the quote to its authors, James Kinniburgh and Dorothy Denning, and from there easily located the source document. It’s right there, on page 35.

Is this what we’re paying our tax dollars to fund? For the government to go into our blogs and twist our words for their own purposes? Is this why the founders of our country incorporated the First Amendment? Does anyone else remember what George Orwell’s protagonist Winston Smith did for a living in the totalitarian 1984? He rewrote published newspapers to parrot the government’s current line, working in the “Ministry of Truth”

Bloggers–do NOT stand for this! If I find they’ve been int my blog, I’ll be on the phone with the ACLU and the National Writers Union immediately.

Once again, this administration is using 1984 as a playbook. It’s time to say NO.

PS–to bloggers thinking about taking the Pentagon’s pay for placing soft stories, all I can say is…DONT. The blogosphere is all about credibility; this would kill yours faster than you can say “Armstrong Williams.”

Bloggers need to protest en masse, and make it clear that we will not stand for this.


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