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Office of Strategic Influence

From Academic Kids

This article is about the former U.S. Government department. For the rock band named after this organization, see OSI (band).

The Office of Strategic Influence, or OSI, was a department set up in the United States Department of Defense in late 2001 or early 2002, to support the War on terrorism through psychological operations in targeted countries. The closure of the office was announced by Donald Rumsfeld soon after its existence became publically known.

The OSI would have been a center for the creation of propaganda materials, for the stated purpose of misleading enemy forces or their civilian populations. After information on the office spread through US and foreign media in mid February 2002, intense discussions on purpose and scope of the office were reported. The discussions culminated in a public statement by Donald Rumsfeld on 2002-02-26 that the office has been closed down.

Some argue that due to its nature and stated purpose, the (non-)existence of such an agency would be hard to determine. In fact, in November 2002, Donald Rumsfeld himself stated in an interview that only the name of the office was abolished, that it further exists and that it pursues its original purpose.

Timeline of Events

  • February 19, 2002: Major US news organizations report that the Defense Department has set up the Office of Strategic Influence. These reports quote an unnamed official, who is dicussing the advantages and dangers in setting up such an office. [1] (http://archives.cnn.com/2002/US/02/19/gen.strategic.influence/)
  • February 20, 2002: After discussions on the purpose of the Office in the US media, Douglas Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, assured the public in an interview that Defense Department officials will not undermine the credibility of US institutions by lying to the public, and stated that the exact mandate of the office is under review. [2] (http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2002/02/dod022002c.html)
  • February 26, 2002: Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld announced the decision by Douglas Feith to close the Office of Strategic Influence. [3] (http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Feb2002/t02262002_t0226sd.html)
  • November 18, 2002: Rumsfeld states in an interview that the Office of Strategic Influence was closed down only by name, that the office still exists and pursues its original purpose. [4] (http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Nov2002/t11212002_t1118sd2.html)

Other articles on psychological warfare

External links

  • BBC news story about the creation of the OSI (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/1830500.stm)
  • FAIR (http://www.fair.org/activism/cnn-psyops.html)
  • PC (http://www.projectcensored.org/publications/2001/3.html)
  • WSWS (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2000/apr2000/cnn-a18.shtml)
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