6

Numerous disinformation campaigns were spread about the US during the Cold War by the KGB. Some notable examples include Operation INFEKTION, which attributed the AIDS virus to the US's involvement, as well as the fabrication of the 'nuclear winter' by the KGB in order to slow down US military development.

However, there does not seem to be a large record of the US's disinformation campaigns regarding the Soviet Union. The US CIA was heavily involved in Radio Free Europe; however, there does not seem to be evidence of intentionally spreading fake information through that program.

So the overall question is: What US operations actually caused the spread of disinformation about the Soviets? And if there weren't any, then why did the US not start campaigns like those of the Soviets?

  • Perhaps the US had little need for disinformation (except perhaps in specific, limited cases, though I can't think of an instance offhand) because spreading accurate information served its purpose just as well if not better, at much less cost. – jamesqf Mar 9 '18 at 19:04
4

As far as I know, solid evidence of programs dedicated specifically to dissemination of false information in Soviet Union and Soviet-aligned countries is rare. As an example, there's this piece by Reuters regarding CIA false news campaigns.

But there is quite a bit of evidence on COINTELPRO operations conducted by FBI against targets (not only communist activists and organisations, but also many other groups and persons deemed subversive, for example, the New Left movement and Ku-Klux-Klan) within the USA, which, amongst other methods, employed forgery and leaking fake accounts to the media. These operations were brought to light during the Church Committee investigation (the committee's final report). The FBI claims that it no longer undertakes COINTELPRO or COINTELPRO-like operations, although apparently that claim was challenged several times since (no information on any evidence presented, though).

2

Disinformation was (and still is) done day to day in political discourses and posturing. Consider two examples, courtesy of Chomsky:

  • Democracy has a dictionary meaning, that revolves around the people running the place. In practice, it's actually about businesses running the place.

  • Peace process similarly has a dictionary meaning, which is about anything that leads towards peace. In practice, it's whatever the US happens to be advocating at a particular moment. You won't find, in western media, any instance of the US being opposed to the peace process.

  • 4
    Chomsky is the prime example of golden hammer. Referencing him as an authority outside of his narrow domain of professional expertise is preposterous. – sds Mar 9 '18 at 14:54
  • 3
    Chuckles. And your source reference is a question to a cogsci SE question asking if a golden hammer actually is a thing, with no answer? Chomsky certainly is a polarizing figure, but the two points put forward in this answer are undeniably valid. If I had posted them without the video and had instead expanded on what is in the latter, I'd gather you would not have downvoted. Don't shoot the messenger. – Denis de Bernardy Mar 9 '18 at 22:49
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    While I don't doubt that disinformation was, is and will be used by all intelligence agencies, US or otherwise, but this answer doesn't present any evidence on US anti-soviet disinformation programs, thus it doesn't answer the question. – Danila Smirnov Mar 21 '18 at 10:46
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    It's more that likely that anything coming from Chomsky, outside his narrow professional sphere, is going to be disinformation in the opposite direction, in order to support his particular socio-political viewpoint. – jamesqf Mar 21 '18 at 18:21
  • Nonresponsive, argumentative, and it cites Chomsky. The first two I can forgive. More seriously, disinformation implies agency, and formally implies government sponsorship. Neither of the examples you cite come close to being disinformation. The difference between the denotation of democracy and the practice is not relevant, nor is your assertion supportable. – Mark C. Wallace Oct 17 '18 at 0:36

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