Comment: Bin Laden’s Alleged ‘Magazine Stash’ May be CIA PsyOp

Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden

Rumors of an alleged discovery of “a stash of pornography” in Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan have spread like wildfire since Friday, when Reuters published an “exclusive” report on the subject. The report, written by Mark Hosenball and Tabassum Zakaria, cites “current and former US officials […] who discussed the discovery […] on condition of anonymity”. According to the allegations, “[t]he pornography recovered in bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, consists of modern, electronically recorded video and is fairly extensive”. The report was almost immediately picked up by several news outlets, including The New York Times, which notes that the disclosure “will be welcomed by counter-terrorism officials because it could tarnish [the al-Qaeda founder’s] legacy and erode [his] appeal”. Indeed. It appears that only Danger Room‘s Spencer Ackerman thought it wise to air a brief disclaimer to the effect that the “welcomed disclosure” may in fact be “a CIA information operation”. He has a point.

‘Information operations’ is a technical term that includes a variety of tactics, such as psychological and deception operations, aimed at distorting enemy information and information systems. The history of information operations is as long as spying itself. Spreading rumors of alleged sexual impropriety to encourage disillusion among adherents of adversary ideologies was used by the Allies and the Axis alike during World War II —most effectively by Nazi media propagandist Julius Streicher. Soon afterwards, it was turned into a science by the Cold War’s principal adversaries. After the Sino-Soviet split, the Soviet KGB circulated countless stories about Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong’s alleged preference for underage virgins from the Chinese countryside, supposedly delivered to him every evening by his trusted advisers. According to the Mitrokhin Archive, the Soviets were also instrumental in encouraging rumors about FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s alleged homosexuality.

In more recent times, allegations of sexual impropriety have been used extensively against North Korean strongman Kim Il Sung by South Korean intelligence, as well as by the Malaysian secret services against the country’s former Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, in an attempt to sabotage his political career. The history of American secret services, particularly as revealed in the post-Watergate investigations of the Church and Pike Congressional committees, reveals that they frequently employ information operations in the pursuit of strategic goals. Observers of such methods can point to several post-9/11 “news stories” of alleged sexual impropriety by members of al-Qaeda and other militant Islamist groups. In one recent example, a news report alleged that “Islamic terrorists rape young men as a means of recruitment for suicide bombings”. According to that highly improbable story, which first surfaced in British tabloid newspaper The Sun, “[r]ape creates a social stigma and fear […] that leave Muslims prepared to die”.

Of course, the allegations about bin Laden’s “porn stash” may well prove to be true. However, considering the nature and mission of the CIA and other US intelligence agencies involved in the “war on terrorism”, news outlets must exercise caution in swallowing every “anonymous revelation” about the intelligence ramifications of Osama bin Laden’s assassination. This is indeed a “wilderness of mirrors”, and news reporters ought to know better by now.

About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

12 Responses to Comment: Bin Laden’s Alleged ‘Magazine Stash’ May be CIA PsyOp

  1. jack says:

    U.S. laws prohibits the CIA from using propaganda against American citizens. A planted story about UBL porn would clearly be picked up by US media. There is no conspiracy here.

  2. Rob Knowles says:

    There are many things that U.S. intelligence agencies are prohibited from doing. But U.S. intelligence agencies have a way of evading regulations; this post mentions the Watergate investigations by congress. They make good reading and reveal plenty of conspiracies. Why assume things have changed since then?

  3. Seby Sabatar says:

    The man died years ago, is a hero for his people for fighting against ussr,
    is ex-CIA and his family got a lot of construction contract(billions) out of the deal about using him as the boogeyman in charge of Al-CIA.
    If your not disinformation then, you are … being used?

    But hey, that is just my 2 cents.

  4. Eric says:

    Im glad the CIA/NSA/whomever is doing whatever it takes to get intel.

  5. 9h0s7 says:

    What I get out of this story is when there are no more “foriegn” terrorists and only domestic terrorist a porn stash will link you to terrorism.

    Sneaky. Planting seeds.

  6. BMZ says:

    And thats news? Next what? Pink slippers and a tutu skirt?
    And presumably he did his own ironing….

    In years to come these psyops morons will be in civvie street presumably doing advanced psionic manipulation on TV commercials to sell breakfast cereals.

  7. Funny says:

    Really, You had do a whole page on it? I thought it was obvious to everyone

  8. Uletaoxh says:

    I came here to work

  9. Benjamin says:

    I’d like to open a personal account Viagra price records providers. · Write a minimum of 10 Evaluate written material clear and concise progress

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