For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Mandy Simon, (212) 549-2666; media@dcaclu.org
 

Military General Reportedly Ordered Unlawful Operations Against Members of Congress

ACLU Calls for Aggressive Military and Government Oversight

WASHINGTON - According to a Rolling Stone article, a general in the United States Army ordered a “psychological operations” (psyops) unit to manipulate members of Congress visiting Afghanistan in an attempt to influence their decisions regarding support and funding of the war there. Follow-up reports indicate that General David Petraeus is preparing to order an investigation.

The American Civil Liberties Union condemned the military’s alleged actions, saying that the Defense Department’s use of psyops to manipulate members of Congress and target Americans with military propaganda is a clear violation of the law. The ACLU called on Congress to investigate this ill-advised operation and to perform more rigorous oversight of all intelligence operations to ensure they are in full compliance with the law, and not being used to mislead the American public.

The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

“If found to be true, these revelations are alarming. Using U.S. military intelligence assets designed for manipulating our enemies against our own elected officials is a brazen and chilling abuse of power that directly threatens the core democratic principle of civilian control over the military. This story should be a stark warning of what happens when intelligence agencies and the military are permitted such broad operational authority without sufficient congressional oversight and public accountability.

“We call on Congress to intensify its oversight of intelligence activities directed against Americans, whether conducted by the military or any other government agencies, and to hold the Defense Department accountable for these illegal and extreme efforts to manipulate domestic public opinion. We have to ensure that the American public is not being deceived by those who are charged with defending it.”

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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