Home » » The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA FY2013) and the Repeal of Restrictive Mandate Governing the Publication of Material Designed to Alter Public Opinion and Influence Perception in the Interest of Corporate Telecommunications Agencies in the United States

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA FY2013) and the Repeal of Restrictive Mandate Governing the Publication of Material Designed to Alter Public Opinion and Influence Perception in the Interest of Corporate Telecommunications Agencies in the United States

Written By Michael Reign on Tuesday, July 26, 2016 | 10:19 PM


NDAA 2013 - specifically Amendment 114, which was approved by the House of Representatives in May of 2012 - effectively negated the protectionist clauses present within both the U.S. Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 (Public Law 80-402) ˡ, as well as the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 1987, that would have otherwise shielded impressionable viewers from the pervasive specter of government-sponsored disinformation. Buried within the written contents of the aforementioned provision is the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 (House Resolution 5736), portions of which have been excerpted in the following paragraphs:

Section 501. (a) The Secretary and the Broadcasting Board of Governors are authorized to use funds appropriated or otherwise made available for public diplomacy information programs to provide for the preparation, dissemination, and use of information intended for foreign audiences abroad about the United States, its people, and its policies, through press, publications, radio, motion pictures, the Internet, and other information media, including social media, and through information centers, instructors, and other direct or indirect means of communication.

(b)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the Secretary and the Broadcasting Board of Governors may, upon request and reimbursement of the reasonable costs incurred in fulfilling such a request, make available in the United States, motion pictures, films, video, audio, and other materials prepared for dissemination abroad or disseminated abroad. 

The late Michael Hastings, an individual whose untimely demise became the subject of conspiratorial conjecture and speculative reasoning (Link 1, Link 2, Link 3), penned a statement alluding to the consequences associated with the ratification of such a measure:

“The new law would give sweeping powers to the State Department and Pentagon to push television, radio, newspaper, and social media onto the U.S. public.”

A Pentagon official whose identity remained withheld from the general public at the time of the mandate was quoted as saying, “It removes protection for Americans. It removes oversight from the people who want to put out this information. There are no checks and balances. No one knows if the information is accurate, or entirely false.”

Justification regarding the amendment of the 1948 provision was bipartisan, with both William McClellan ‘Mac’ Thornberry, acting Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and RNC-affiliated Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas’s 13th District; and Adam Smith, a DNC-affiliated Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Washington’s 9th District, voicing their support on the basis of national security concerns, specifically the radicalization of foreign nationals residing in the United States through their exposure to propagandist elements deemed sympathetic to terrorism.

ˡ U.S. Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 (Public Law 80-402) - Oftentimes referred to as the Smith-Mundt Act (SMA) in academic circles, this legislative provision was first introduced in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (HCFA) in October of 1945 at the request of the U.S. State Department. Named after DNC-affiliated HCFA chairman and New York State congressional representative Sol Bloom, the Bloom Bill proposal was announced  in December of 1945 in the 79th Congress and subsequently passed by the 80th Congressional assembly on January 27, 1948 prior to its addition to the Federal Register by acting President Harry S. Truman. This particular measure, initially designed as a form of peacetime instrumentation in the actualization of foreign policy objectives during the height of the Cold War, authorized the U.S. State Department to actively promote sensationalist rhetorical discourse via the telecommunications industry, intergovernmental intermediaries, formative exchanges (inclusive of educational, cultural, and technical documentation and material), internet-oriented correspondence, written literature and publication (books and magazines), etc. to audiences whose geographic location rested outside the territorial boundaries of the domestic periphery. The principal purpose of the legislation was one of engagement - in compliance with a phrase attributed to Presidents Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower - emphasizing the reality of a global war on information brought about by the desire to influence the will, and thereby the subconscious mind, of foreign nationals who may otherwise view the United States in a negative light. This directive also facilitated the creation of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (Link 1, Link 2), an independently contracted agency of the U.S. Federal Government heralded by its progenitors as a beacon of transparency in the manufacture of material drafted by the political establishment to “inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.”
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