Friday, May 9, 2008

Information Warfare: "Retired" CIA Operative Using Internet to Undermine Barack Obama

Excerpt from: "Obama targeted by ugly -- and untrue -- Internet rumors," by Matt Stearns, Sacramento Bee, May 9, 2008.

... Obama isn't the only victim. Last week, in a dirty trick that couldn't have occurred in the pre-YouTube age, a video ricocheted through cyberspace that appeared to show Clinton adviser Mickey Kantor using slurs and obscenities to describe Indiana people in a documentary about the 1992 election – potential political dynamite in a tightly contested election.

A link to the video arrived in a reporter's e-mail inbox, along with the admonition "You must report this. It will change the election."

Within an hour, the Clinton campaign issued a statement from the filmmaker saying it was bogus: The video had been doctored, by attack artists unknown.

In fact, they tend to be the work of committed political amateurs.

One practitioner in Virginia led a reporter through his efforts. Because the man is a retired clandestine CIA officer, identifying him could endanger officers or operations that remain classified, so McClatchy will not reveal his name.

In late 2006, convinced that an Obama presidency would be disastrous, he decided to start an anti-Obama operation. He combed the public record on Obama. He used a couple of allies and informants – half-jokingly dubbing his group "The Crusaders" – to learn about Obama's background.

He assembled a dossier on Obama, including allegations that Obama attended a madrassa, or Islamic religious school, in his youth in Indonesia.

Then the retired spook tried to get Israeli intelligence officials interested in his Obama dossier. They weren't, to his chagrin. He also shopped it to some foreign reporters. Again, no luck.

He wound up posting some of it on a blog.

A few months after the man began his work, the allegation that Obama was educated in a madrassa appeared in an anonymous article in Insight Magazine, an online publication of the Unification Church, in January 2007. The article was cited by several conservative commentators, including on Fox News, before it was debunked.

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