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8 Nov, 2022 13:28

Snowden highlights ‘most important video of the year’

The whistleblower shared an old clip of former CIA officer Frank Snepp detailing how the agency planted stories in the media
Snowden highlights ‘most important video of the year’

US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden says a 1983 interview with former CIA officer Frank Snepp, detailing how the agency used mainstream newspapers in the US to distribute disinformation, is still the “most important video of the year.”

Snowden, who currently lives in Russia after gaining citizenship in the country, posted a short clip from Snepp’s interview on Monday. In the video, the former intelligence officer explained how he had served as an interrogator, agent debriefer and chief strategy analyst while working in the US embassy in Saigon during the Vietnam War.

Snepp said one his duties was to brief the press when the CIA wanted to “circulate disinformation on a particular issue,” noting that this information was not necessarily a lie, and could be a half-truth. 

“We would pick out a journalist, I would go do the briefing, and hope that he would put the information in print,” Snepp said, noting that the journalists would usually have no way of actually verifying any of the information provided to them.

Snepp went on to name a few journalists who the CIA had specifically targeted over their “terrific influence,” and named a few “respected journalists” who were working in Saigon at the time, such as Robert Chaplin of the New Yorker, Kies Beach of the Los Angeles Times, Malcolm Brown of the New York Times, and Maynard Parker of Newsweek magazine, among others.

The whistleblower even revealed how the CIA had managed to plant a story in the New Yorker about supposed North Vietnamese war plans. This story was later used by the agency to convince the US Congress to provide more aid to Saigon and paint North Vietnam as the “chief violators of a ceasefire” accord.

Snowden pointed out that, shortly after this interview, Snepp was sued by the CIA in a trial that made its way to the Supreme Court, which ruled that any publications by intelligence workers must first be submitted to the agency for approval.

The NSA whistleblower separately thanked another Twitter user for starting a “do you think the CIA still does this?” series of posts, detailing the inner workings of the agency as shared by other whistleblowers who had been “sued into silence.

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