Obama Quietly Signs The "Countering Disinformation And Propaganda Act" Into Law

Tyler Durden's picture

Late on Friday, with the US population embracing the upcoming holidays and oblivious of most news emerging from the administration, Obama quietly signed into law the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which authorizes $611 billion for the military in 2017.

In a statement, Obama said that:

Today, I have signed into law S. 2943, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017.” This Act authorizes fiscal year 2017 appropriations principally for the Department of Defense and for Department of Energy national security programs, provides vital benefits for military personnel and their families, and includes authorities to facilitate ongoing operations around the globe. It continues many critical authorizations necessary to ensure that we are able to sustain our momentum in countering the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and to reassure our European allies, as well as many new authorizations that, among other things, provide the Departments of Defense and Energy more flexibility in countering cyber-attacks and our adversaries’ use of unmanned aerial vehicles."

Much of the balance of Obama's statement blamed the GOP for Guantanamo's continued operation and warned that "unless the Congress changes course, it will be judged harshly by history," Obama said. Obama also said Congress failed to use the bill to reduce wasteful overhead (like perhaps massive F-35 cost overruns?) or modernize military health care, which he said would exacerbate budget pressures facing the military in the years ahead.

But while the passage of the NDAA - and the funding of the US military - was hardly a surprise, the biggest news is what was buried deep inside the provisions of the Defense Authortization Act.

Recall that as we reported in early June, "a bill to implement the U.S.’ very own de facto Ministry of Truth had been quietly introduced in Congress. As with any legislation attempting to dodge the public spotlight the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act of 2016 marks a further curtailment of press freedom and another avenue to stultify avenues of accurate information. Introduced by Congressmen Adam Kinzinger and Ted Lieu, H.R. 5181 seeks a “whole-government approach without the bureaucratic restrictions” to counter “foreign disinformation and manipulation,” which they believe threaten the world’s “security and stability.”

Also called the Countering Information Warfare Act of 2016 (S. 2692), when introduced in March by Sen. Rob Portman, the legislation represents a dramatic return to Cold War-era government propaganda battles. “These countries spend vast sums of money on advanced broadcast and digital media capabilities, targeted campaigns, funding of foreign political movements, and other efforts to influence key audiences and populations,” Portman explained, adding that while the U.S. spends a relatively small amount on its Voice of America, the Kremlin provides enormous funding for its news organization, RT.

“Surprisingly,” Portman continued, “there is currently no single U.S. governmental agency or department charged with the national level development, integration and synchronization of whole-of-government strategies to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation.”  

Long before the "fake news" meme became a daily topic of extensive conversation on such discredited mainstream portals as CNN and WaPo, H.R. 5181 would task the Secretary of State with coordinating the Secretary of Defense, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors to “establish a Center for Information Analysis and Response,” which will pinpoint sources of disinformation, analyze data, and — in true dystopic manner — ‘develop and disseminate’ “fact-based narratives” to counter effrontery propaganda.

In short, long before "fake news" became a major media topic, the US government was already planning its legally-backed crackdown on anything it would eventually label "fake news."

* * *

Fast forward to December 8, when the "Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act" passed in the Senate, quietly inserted inside the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report.

And now, following Friday's Obama signing of the NDAA on Friday evening, the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act is now law.

* * *

Here is the full statement issued by the generously funded Senator Rob Portman (R- Ohio) on the singing into law of a bill that further chips away at press liberties in the US, and which sets the stage for future which hunts and website shutdowns, purely as a result of an accusation that any one media outlet or site is considered as a source of "disinformation and propaganda" and is shut down by the government.

President Signs Portman-Murphy Counter-Propaganda Bill into Law

Portman-Murphy Bill Promotes Coordinated Strategy to Defend America, Allies Against Propaganda and Disinformation from Russia, China & Others

U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) today announced that their Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act – legislation designed to help American allies counter foreign government propaganda from Russia, China, and other nations has been signed into law as part of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report. The bipartisan bill, which was introduced by Senators Portman and Murphy in March, will improve the ability of the United States to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation from our enemies by establishing an interagency center housed at the State Department to coordinate and synchronize counter-propaganda efforts throughout the U.S. government. To support these efforts, the bill also creates a grant program for NGOs, think tanks, civil society and other experts outside government who are engaged in counter-propaganda related work. This will better leverage existing expertise and empower our allies overseas to defend themselves from foreign manipulation. It will also help foster a free and vibrant press and civil society overseas, which is critical to ensuring our allies have access to truthful information and inoculating people against foreign propaganda campaigns.

“Our enemies are using foreign propaganda and disinformation against us and our allies, and so far the U.S. government has been asleep at the wheel,” Portman said. “But today, the United States has taken a critical step towards confronting the extensive, and destabilizing, foreign propaganda and disinformation operations being waged against us by our enemies overseas. With this bill now law, we are finally signaling that enough is enough; the United States will no longer sit on the sidelines. We are going to confront this threat head-on. I am confident that, with the help of this bipartisan bill, the disinformation and propaganda used against us, our allies, and our interests will fail.”

The use of propaganda to undermine democracy has hit a new low. But now we are finally in a position to confront this threat head on and get out the truth. By building up independent, objective journalism in places like eastern Europe, we can start to fight back by exposing these fake narratives and empowering local communities to protect themselves,” said Murphy. “I’m proud that our bill was signed into law, and I look forward to working with Senator Portman to make sure these tools and new resources are effectively used to get out the truth.”

NOTE: The bipartisan Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act is organized around two main priorities to help achieve the goal of combatting the constantly evolving threat of foreign disinformation from our enemies:

  • The first priority is developing a whole-of-government strategy for countering THE foreign propaganda and disinformation being wages against us and our allies by our enemies. The bill would increase the authority, resources, and mandate of the Global Engagement Center to include state actors like Russia and China as well as non-state actors. The Center will be led by the State Department, but with the active senior level participation of the Department of Defense, USAID, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the Intelligence Community, and other relevant agencies. The Center will develop, integrate, and synchronize whole-of-government initiatives to expose and counter foreign disinformation operations by our enemies and proactively advance fact-based narratives that support U.S. allies and interests.
  • Second, the legislation seeks to leverage expertise from outside government to create more adaptive and responsive U.S. strategy options. The legislation establishes a fund to help train local journalists and provide grants and contracts to NGOs, civil society organizations, think tanks, private sector companies, media organizations, and other experts outside the U.S. government with experience in identifying and analyzing the latest trends in foreign government disinformation techniques. This fund will complement and support the Center’s role by integrating capabilities and expertise available outside the U.S. government into the strategy-making process. It will also empower a decentralized network of private sector experts and integrate their expertise into the strategy-making process.

* * *

And so, with the likes of WaPo having already primed the general public to equate "Russian Propaganda" with "fake news" (despite admitting after the fact their own report was essentially "fake"), while the US media has indoctrinated the public to assume that any information which is not in compliance with the official government narrative, or dares to criticize the establishment, is also "fake news" and thus falls under the "Russian propaganda" umbrella, the scene is now set for the US government to legally crack down on every media outlet that the government deems to be "foreign propaganda."

Just like that, the US Ministry of Truth is officially born.

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bretthar123's picture

Welcome to the Brave New World - except its been running for three weeks:



Polygraph.info to speak truth to disinformation

December 6, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As disinformation and misinformation extend their global reach and influence, Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) are teaming up to offer a new fact-checking resource.

Polygraph.info, a globally aware and nonpartisan website, is a timely response to the deluge of often false or misleading information confounding audiences around the world.

“Polygraph.info addresses the public demand for professionally verified information, and will power a range of RFE/RL and VOA news coverage that will report the truth,” said RFE/RL President Thomas Kent.

“It separates fact from fiction, adds context, and debunks lies, blunting the destructive effects of disinformation and helping audiences make informed choices and decisions,” said VOA Director Amanda Bennett.

Polygraph.info’s team of RFE/RL and VOA journalists researches and analyzes statements from government officials and other high-profile individuals to assess their veracity. The site currently focuses on statements involving relations between Russia and the West, but its analysis will expand to other areas of the world.


Pull the other one!

Starve The Beast's picture

Polygraph.info, a globally aware and nonpartisan website, is a timely response to the deluge of often false or misleading information confounding audiences around the world. "

" Nonpartisan " ?? Well , I guess it's a good thing the Ruling Class is not considered a "Patry". Believe me , they are all in the same boat, pulling in the oar and hoarding the lifevests.

For those who consume news as a means of aquiring social content will unwittingly beleive and spread this Gov approved Propaganda as quickly as the common cold. With the destruction of critical thinking skills and common sense, future generation will be as maliable as Play Doh


They really have delusions of grandeur. They sign a piece of paper and think we listen and piss our pants, they need to grow up.

tuttisaluti's picture

at least they cannot outlaw common sense 

numapepi's picture

Whatever good one might think comes from hate crime legislation, it is a bad, thing because it is a form of thought law. Now the door has been opened to thought laws, sooner or later, common sense itself must be outlawed.

Starve The Beast's picture

No, but they can kill it through State Run Academia. Hell it's breathing it's last breath through the pre Millenial Generations

Obamaroid Ointment's picture

Goebbels was an amateur.

TomGa's picture


TheLastMan's picture

Cunning leads to knavery; it is but a step from one to the other, and that very slippery; lying only makes the difference; add that to cunning, and it is knavery.  La Bruyère

Add the grasping of power to knavery and you have fuckery.

What a bunch of fuckery!

flea's picture

"... to include state actors like Russia and China as well as non-state actors (e.g., Drudge and Zero-Hedge)"

numapepi's picture

Lest we forget what propagated the "fake news" meme, by government and it's cronies, was the revelations by Wikileaks about the illegal, slimy, insider machinations of Hillary Clinton and the democrat party... which were all true, and for much of which, had you or I done them would land us in jail.

From that we can only conclude that since the "problem" was that information the elite didn't want to get out, did, and so the "solution" must therefore address that "problem," and stop problematic information from getting out.

In other words, our new ministry of truth will be tasked with covering up inconvenient truths but hey, all of us already knew that, right?

numapepi's picture

Fake news is the same as Newspeak.

Kernighan's picture

The Act really sets up a Committee, Steering Committee, and a place to research and publish, coordinate and set up counter intel publications.  Total budget $20 MM.  It's pretty bureaucratic sounding, with no mention of any policing authority, or ability to actually take legally meaningful action.  Example-I don't see where this group can actually shut down any operation regularly engaging in misinformation. They can point it out, and flag it, but that appears to be it. 

The people running this are people placed there by State Dept., Director of National Intelligence, Secretary of Defense, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors.  There is a Coordinator at the top who is appointed by State.  The twenty million includes the grants doled out, in addition to all salaries of the various committees and managers.  This really looks like a do nothing deal.  But, I could be wrong. 

FLHRS's picture

$20 mil will be $200 mil in no time.

Thurmonster's picture

Crucial changes to the legislation later on from some nameless bureaucrat deep within some arbitrary ABC committee or agency will teeth for a future Democrat. Trump won't happen again.

toncuz's picture

Funny...Obama passes a REPUBLICAN bill yet Zerohedge headlines it as an Obama bill. This is what we call fake news folks. Zerohedge has now become...or never was...not much better than Brietbart as far as integrity is concerned. 

Chet Ricco's picture

Who watches the watchers?

Starve The Beast's picture

Hegelian Dialect

The Gov floats a meme to the MSM which they incessantly drum to creating the illusion of a " Fake Consensus", which in turn demands Gov action. The only "fake News" here is, Fake News Being a major problem.

mary mary's picture

Merrimack College started the "fake news sites" meme. 



"Merrimack College is a private college in the Roman Catholic, Augustinian tradition located in North Andover, Massachusetts."

lasvegaspersona's picture


Where will I get all the fake news I need to form my opinions now?

pouncekitty's picture

Obama and his regime seem to do everything in the middle of the night.  Gee, wonder why?  They passed Obama"care" that way, too, and without one single Republican vote because Democrats reallly don't cooperate --- they dictate.

mary mary's picture

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances".  First Amendment to the Consitution of the United States of America.

moralmattersdotorg's picture

Nice informative article! Thank you!


I noticed a typo - rather than "which," I believe that you intended to say, "'witch' hunts" 

..........Here is the full statement issued by the generously funded Senator Rob Portman (R- Ohio) on the singing into law of a bill that further chips away at press liberties in the US, and which sets the stage for future which hunts and website shutdowns, purely as a result of an accusation that any one media outlet or site is considered as a source of "disinformation and propaganda" and is shut down by the government...........

moralmattersdotorg's picture


I noticed a typo - rather than "which," you intended to say, "'witch' hunts" 

..........Here is the full statement issued by the generously funded Senator Rob Portman (R- Ohio) on the singing into law of a bill that further chips away at press liberties in the US, and which sets the stage for future which hunts and website shutdowns, purely as a result of an accusation that any one media outlet or site is considered as a source of "disinformation and propaganda" and is shut down by the government...........

OurUnitedStates's picture

And ZeroHedge was mentioned in the original PropOrNot 'list' of Russian propaganda sites that WaPO reported: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Byj_1ybuSGp_NmYtRF95VTJTeUk/view

iwillikers's picture

Any bill Portman comes up with and Obama signs at lightspeed is a guaranteeed major scandal down the road. Also, the reason we don't have much of a propaganda arm is the people who would be in charge would have to be FOR the United States.

cacrotalus's picture

"Portman (R- Ohio) on the singing into law of a bill that further chips away..."




I've asked before: What's brown, and rings?

kwaremont's picture

These obummeristas have no balls - why playing with this "countering" in the act's name? 


Why not direct 0th amendment: Thou Haveth No Rights! (text: None! At all!)


Did they specify what should citizens do in case of disinformation and propaganda? Especially from the government and MSM?

RightStuff1944's picture

We are witnessing Soviet-style tactics designed to confuse and demoralize the citizens.  Two books by Anatoliy Golytzen should make that abundantly clear.  Golytzen was a Soviet defector, and he was high in the ranks of those who were using the tactics on both the Soviet citizens and foreighn diplomats.  See "New Lies for Old", and "Perestroika Decepton".  Your jaw will hit the floor when you compare the tactics with Obama's eight-year tenure in the White House.

Yonathan Zwift's picture

Perhaps this new law may be employed against Globalist Seditionists....  

OsamasPajamas's picture

Censorship is the Democrats' favorite debate technique --- but, of course, the only good censor, like the only good dictator, is a dead one.

Herdee's picture

Here's what the CIA is funding in order to keep its' heroin moving. If the Taliban gain control they'll cut off the opium for CIA operations which is in the billions. The money is then used to arm whoever they want, bribe foreign officials and overthrow countries like the Ukraine.



OsamasPajamas's picture

OK, lemme see --- "FAKE NEWS" --- the censors are salivating.

Let's just check out the Democrats' propaganda playbook --- outright lies, misrepresentation, context-dropping, misinformation, disinformation, planted axioms, ad hominem attacks, suggestions, hints, implications. innuendos, insinuations.  Blah, blah, fkg blah.  Overthrow them, forever.

AriusArmenian's picture

Senator Rob Portman, traitor against the American Republic.

He is an agent of the US Empire of Chaos.

Sauerkraut-Opinion's picture

´Same development in Germany - soon we will get our „de facto Ministry of Truth“. 


But there is one big difference between the USA and Germany related to the press: The biggest media player is the government itself: Around 9 billion Dollar compulsory fee were collected in 2016 from TV-owners to place political propaganda via TV, radio & web: Mostly against their own political convictions. Owning a television without paying fee is an offence by law - about 720.000 foreclosures and 25,5 million take-measures took place in 2015 in order to oblige the support of government propaganda. 


Unfortunately huge parts of the established private press marches in step with the public-law medias de facto economy driven government - so the media-machinery is (justifiably) widely derided as „compliant medias“. 


They do not consider the coming implementation of a Ministry of Thruth“ as a mark of further curtailment of press freedom, but welcome political measure of safeguarding their own „interpretation ex cathedra“, enormous power to discredit dissidents, to shatter critics to some extend and securing high pensions through marching in step with political leaders. 

onmail1's picture

<-- one word: ISISfatherObamma

Witchy-witch's picture




rtb61's picture

How about some humour. In an act of profound honesty, the US government Disinformation and Propaganda Agency, censored itself out of existence and retired to the Bahamas with the budget, after all the money was just going to get stolen anyhow by various lobbyists and public relations firms and be hidden in the Bahamas, so they in an act of efficiency simply eliminated that step. How much of those propaganda budgets do you think get's stolen, half?

charlesfrith's picture

Remember folks. Barry O signed the 2012 NDAA act legalizing fake news.

Too-Big-to-Bail's picture

The milennials have only ever known that 2+2=5