1983 Video Goes Viral of CIA Officer Discussing Planting Stories After It Was Shared By Former NSA Consultant Edward Snowden

CIA Officer Frank Snepp Discusses Planting Stories in Vietnam
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Officer Frank Snepp noted that the CIA had a select group of distinguished journalists that they specifically targeted in order to give their planted stories a sheen of legitimacy. Vietnam Reconsidered Conference, USC Conference USC, 1983

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – A video showing an interview with Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Officer Frank Snepp back in 1983 discussing planting stories has recently gone viral amid continued accusations of federal law enforcement agencies pushing “Orwellian” censorship agendas and campaigns on social media.

The video gained traction after is was shared by Edward Snowden, the former contract employee at the National Security Agency and whistle-blower behind significant revelations that surfaced in June 2013 about the U.S. government’s top secret, extensive domestic surveillance programs.

Since 2013, Snowden – born in America and now a naturalized Russian – has been branded both a traitor and hero for his bombshell leaks.

In the 1983 video tweeted out by Snowden on Monday, Snepp – now a journalist, but the former chief analyst of North Vietnamese strategy for the CIA in Saigon during the Vietnam War – is shown discussing “Operation Mockingbird,” an ongoing CIA program centered on planting and disseminating disinformation and shaping public discourse through mass media manipulation.


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“I had several jobs, one of the jobs was that of analyst, I was also an interrogator, and I briefed the press when we, the CIA, wanted to circulate disinformation on a particular issue,” he said. “This information is not necessarily a lie, it may be a half-truth and we would pick out a journalist. I would go to the briefing and hope that he would put the information in print.”

“For instance, if we wanted to get across to the American public that the North Vietnamese were building up their structure in South Vietnam, I would go to a journalist and advise him that in the past six months ‘X’ number of North Vietnamese forces had come down the Ho Chi Minh trail system in Southern Laos. Now there’s no way journalist can check that information, so either he goes with the information or he doesn’t, and ordinarily or usually, the journalist will go with it because it looked like some kind of exclusive, and I would say our percentage planting that kind of data was 70 to 80 percent.”

Snepp noted that the CIA had a select group of distinguished journalists that they specifically targeted in order to give their planted stories a sheen of legitimacy, noting that he would spend time with the reporters in question in order to cultivate and build up their trust and confidence by mixing false intel with dollops of valid information, making it difficult to discern which was which.

“I would give them information that was true, and then I would drop in into a conversation the data which we wanted to get across which might not be true,” he said. “For example, data that we managed to plant in the New Yorker Magazine had to do a supposed North Vietnamese effort in 1973 to develop airfields along the border of South Vietnam.”

“The reason we wanted to plant this information was that we were trying to persuade the U.S. Congress that Saigon should continue to get a great deal of aid, and that the North Vietnamese were the chief violators of the ceasefire accord. That was printed in the New Yorker magazine,” he continued.

Snepp also noted that he would clue government officials – both domestic and foreign – as to the nature of the disinformation he had planted with a given journalist, just in case they attempted to cross-check its validity.

“[The reporter] would get false confirmation, the same message coming back at him,” he said. “He would say ‘aha, I’ve got proof that Frank Snepp told me the truth’ when, in fact, what he had gotten was simply an echo of what I’d given him in the first place.”

At the end of the interview, Snepp expressed remorse for his part in hoodwinking the American public during the Vietnam War by way of Operation Mockingbird.

“As an ex-CIA agent, I’m opposed to the disinformation activities in which I was involved,” he said. “I admit that I was involved, and I think it served no useful purpose. Propagandizing the American public or Congress is not the CIA’s job.”

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