News giant employed military 'psychological operations' personnel

News giant employed military 'psychological operations' personnel
Posted: March 03, 2000
1:00 am Eastern

By Geoff Metcalf

CNN employed active duty U.S. Army psychological operations personnel last year, WorldNetDaily has confirmed through several sources at Fort Bragg and elsewhere.

Maj. Thomas Collins, U.S. Information Service has confirmed that "psyops" (psychological operations) personnel, soldiers and officers, have worked in the CNN headquarters in Atlanta. The lend/lease exercise was part of an Army program called "Training With Industry." According to Collins, the soldiers and officers, "... worked as regular employees of CNN. Conceivably, they would have worked on stories during the Kosovo war. They helped in the production of news."

When asked if the introduction of military personnel into a civilian news organization was standard operating procedure, one source said, "That question is above my pay grade ... but I hope so. It's what we do."

The CNN military personnel were members of the Airmobile Fourth Psychological Operations Group, stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. One of the main tasks of this group of almost 1200 soldiers and officers is to spread 'selected information.' Critics say that means dissemination of propaganda.

Cable News Network suffered a major embarrassment in the wake of the 'Tailwind' story it aired, alleging the U.S. government used lethal sarin gas to kill suspected defectors during the Vietnam war. After WorldNetDaily was the first news organization to expose the fraudulent news production, two CNN producers were fired and, eventually, CNN veteran reporter Peter Arnett also was ousted. In that case, Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Perry Smith quit his long-time job as a military adviser to CNN.

What about now? Has the U.S. military been in a position to have influenced directly CNN's news reports about the crisis in Kosovo?

Collins claims a "handful" of military assets were assigned to CNN for weeks "to get to know the company and to broaden their horizons." The Major asserts "they didn't work under the control of the army."

Several sources have confirmed the temporary outplacement of U.S. Army psyops personnel started two or three years ago, and they have been integrated into "various sectors of society." The assignment durations have been short-term up to one full year, depending on the mission. When asked, "What were the missions?" responses to WND varied from "No comment.", "... need to know," to smiles, and, in one case, an obscene recommendation.

CNN is the most watched and widely viewed news outlet in the world. During Operation Desert Storm, Saddam Hussein regularly watched CNN for battlefield intelligence. The symbiotic, intimate relationship between CNN and army psyops specialists has raised many eyebrows, with critics saying it raises doubts about CNN's journalistic integrity and independence.

The Fourth Psyop Group has been involved in the Gulf War, the Bosnian War and the Kosovo crisis. American psyops troops attempt to influence media and public opinion in armed conflicts in which American state interests are said to be at stake.

News coverage of the war in Kosovo, by CNN and other media, has been criticized as "one-sided, overly emotional, over-simplified and relying too heavily on NATO officials," observed a report from the Netherlands.

CNN has not thus far commented officially on the allegations. Megan Mahoney, a CNN spokeswoman recently said, "I don't believe that we would employ military personnel; it doesn't seem like something we would normally do." However, now that the U.S. Army Information Service has confirmed the news, Mahoney said she would have to contact CNN's senior officials.

Geoff Metcalf is a staff reporter for WorldNetDaily.
Geoff Metcalf is a former talk-show host for TalkNetDaily.

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ACCESSED: August 20th, 2009