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Counter-Information Team

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The Counter-Information Team, a "Cold War-era office with a shadowy name and a colorful history of exposing Soviet deceptions" in the U.S. Department of State, resumed operation in October 2002.[1]

[Note that the "Team" has also been called the "Counter-Disinformation/Misinformation Team" but is more currently known as the "Counter-Information Team."]

Mission

"In coordination with the CIA, FBI and others," the "Team"'s mission -- now "watching Iraq" -- was said to help "U.S. embassies identify and rebut other nations' disinformation, most often fabrications about the United States planted in foreign newspapers or television shows and, these days, on the Internet." [2]

The "Team" was described in March 2003 as "part of a broader Bush administration project to shore up America's reputation when sentiment against a possible war with Iraq is running high overseas." [3]

Manpower

It was also reported in March 2003 that Todd Leventhal, "the last man in the counterdisinformation office," laid off in 1996, "was rehired in October [2002]; now he has a researcher and a part-time writer, too." [4]

"Team": Saddam and WMD

"The head of the State Department's Counter Mis-Information 'Team' is Todd Leventhal, a long-time neoconservative propaganda operative who once worked for the U.S. Information Agency's (USIA) Bureau of Information to counter Soviet and other disinformation with his own Brand X of American disinformation. [Journalist Jyri] Raivio reports that Leventhal was part of the Bush administration’s effort to convince the world that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Leventhal also contends in the Helsingin Sanomat report that any suggestion that false WMD intelligence was cooked up by the Bush administration is merely a conspiracy theory and that the faulty intelligence on Iraqi WMD was merely a huge 'mistake.'" --Wayne Madsen, Online Journal, April 18, 2005.

Quotes

"Even though a story can be incredibly preposterous in the Western mind, it can resonate deeply in other parts of the world," Todd Levanthal, a U.S. Information Agency specialist on disinformation, told the New York Times (9/16/90)." [5]

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