Thursday, September 2, 2010

Minister of Disinformation at Dealey Plaza

Todd Leventhal – The USA Government Minister of Disinformation – By William Kelly (


During the Cold War and the hot wars that followed, “disinformaiton” was the buzz word for the false and deceptive information surreptitiously promoted by communist and foreign intelligence services.

Promoting disinformation wasn’t something that the United States itself did, at least it wasn’t something they wanted anyone to believe they did, as it was discussed by John Barron and others who studied and wrote about the propaganda put out by the Soviet’s official Ministry of Dizinformation.

That the United States doesn’t engage in such psychological warfare is a urban myth quickly dispelled by Todd Leventhal, America’s Minister of Disinformation, whose official title is State Department Counter-Miss and Disinformation Officer. As such Leventhal has been the subject of a spate of recent publicity, especially in regards to debunking conspiracy theories.

While we’ve heard from Leventhal before, pushing the Bush foreign agenda, disputing reports Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq was a false pretense for war, and more recently as the State Department’s spokesman designated to officially debunk conspiracy theories that the federal government considers serious threats – like UFOs, faked moon landings, 9/11 missiles and President Obama’s birth certificate.

Leventhal’s official blog on debunking such “conspiracy theories” serves as fodder for legitimate journalists looking for a good column when news is slow, but most real conspiracy theorists considered him just another media spokesperson for the government, not unlike those who speak for the al Quada and the Taliban, and trusted as much.

But Leventhal recently created a mini-firestorm when some mainstream publications began commenting on his inclusion of the assassination of President Kennedy among the “conspiracy theories” worth debunking, and his ridicule of those who believe anyone other than Lee Harvey Oswald was responsible for the murder of Kennedy.

As the official State Department specialist and spokesperson whose job is to counter-misinformation and disinformation, Leventhal’s blog (since suspended but archived under Rumors, Myths and Fabrications ) touches on a number of controversial subjects, including AIDS, the moon landing and the war in Iraq, but the subject of the Kennedy assassination seems to have struck the most sensitive nerve.


On Leventhal’s official State Department web site, under the banner of “Countering Misinformation,” it is noted that, “The purpose of this webpage is to counter misinformation,” which is defined in parenthesis as “unintentional mistakes.” Their mission is also to counter “conspiracy theories, urban legends, and disinformation,” which also rates the definition of “deliberate falsehoods and distortions.”

Originally disinformation, as explained by John Barron (see: Dezinformatsiya at, was defined as not only “deliberate falsehoods and distortions,” but contained the caveat that the deliberate falsehoods and distortions were the product of a foreign intelligence network.

It was technically defined as “Deliberately misleading information announced publicly or leaked by a government or especially by an intelligence agency for the purpose of influencing public opinion or the government in another nation.”

Definition of Disinformation: []

Also see:

While some frequent users of the word (ie. Professor J. H. Fetzer) have adopted it and use it frequently to apply to anyone they happen to disagree with, the classical definition will be used here, in order to distinguish those who actually are agents and/or assets of a government intelligence function and those who are merely misinformed, wrong or mistaken and promoting misinformation.

There are clearly identifiable and categorizable disinformation agents who promote real disinformation about the assassination of President Kennedy – intentionally wrong information meant to deceive for the purpose of influencing public opinion and the government at the behest of an intelligence agency. Issac Don Levine, Priscilla Johnson McMillan, David Atlee Phillips, Virginia Prewett, Hugh Aynesworth, Max Holland, Edward J. Epstein and Gus Russo come to mind right away.

But there are others who echo the same Lone Nut theme who are no connected to an intelligence apparatus and appear to be just sprouting plain old misinformation, such as academics John McAdams, Ken Rahn, Mel Anton and their disciples David Von Pain, Dale Myers and Dave Reitzes, all of whom appear to be simply misinformed about Oswald being both an assassin and a Lone Nut case.

As the official US Government web page on the subject explains, “Some groups and individuals spread disinformation deliberately, often to try to achieve a political purpose. The media and others can make errors due to sloppiness, misunderstanding, or urgent deadline pressures, resulting in misinformation that may linger long after the initial error has been corrected.”

So disinformation is deliberately wrong and has an intentional purpose, while misinformation is just plain wrong because people make mistakes or are often just wrong.

So far so good, but then, then Todd Leventhal makes a big leaping jump when he says that, “Conspiracy theorists believe that vast, powerful, evil forces secretly manipulate events that actually have much less dramatic causes. Many believe urban legends, which often circulate by word of mouth or the Internet, because they put a widespread fear, hope, or suspicion into story form.”

Leventhal goes from trying to correct mistakes and clearly wrong perceptions to branding most of the people of the world as irrational zombies who will believe anything and “spread fear, hope and suspicion into story form?”

Now they estimate that 80% of the people are so-called “conspiracy theorists,” and he’s put all conspiracy theories together in one big heap, even though, as John Judge, one of the most well known Conspiracy Theorists likes to say, “not all conspiracies are created equal."

As the official government conspiracy debunking web site puts it, “Some topics have been the subject of misinformation and disinformation for decades. There are many myths about depleted uranium, probably because people mistakenly associate it with weapons-grade uranium or fuel-grade uranium, which are much more dangerous substances. Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Milosevic's Yugoslavia, and others have deliberately fanned these unwarranted fears. Soon after AIDS was first recognized, conspiracy theories began to appear blaming the U.S. government or others for this mysterious new disease. As Russian officials later admitted, the Soviet disinformation apparatus concocted false allegations about AIDS, blaming it on non-existent Pentagon experiments.”

Now there we have it, REAL Dizinformation – the now dizolved “Soviet dizinformation apparatus concocted false allegations about AIDS, blaming it on non-existent Pentagon experments.” Now that’s REAL disinformation, as it is traced directly to the Soviets’ “disinformation apparatus.”

But then there’s that “misinformation,” or mainstream media that repeats the disinformation or otherwise wrong stories, such as “Television programs and newspaper articles repeating totally false organ and eye trafficking allegations won the most prestigious journalism prizes in France in 1995 and in Spain in 1996.”

So people like to buy sensational stories like those on organ traffickers, and it wasn’t the first time that news editors and journalists were fooled, and prizes given out for bogus articles, as it happens all the time. Just off the top of my head I can think of three cases of Pulitzer Prize winning stories being proven false and the prizes retracted.

But it’s not just such false sensational stories that people soak up, there’s the false 9/11 stories, as Leventhal points out. “After the September 11 attacks, conspiracy theories and urban legends arose, including one that falsely claimed that no Jews had died at the World Trade Center because they had been forewarned. In each of these cases and many others, it is possibly to demonstrate the falsity of these charges to fair-minded observers. That is what this webpage seeks to do.”

Well, okay, that’s a good mission, as stated – to demonstrate the falsity of such charges to fair-minded observers.

But not many people would have noticed the web site or what Leventhal was doing if it wasn’t for some mainstream media stories, such as the one in the Scottish Daily Record, which announced (in an August 2, 2010) headline that “White House launches new web site to debunk conspiracy theories.” Since the article is so short, I will quote it in its entirety:
“The White House has launched an official bid to shoot down conspiracy theories,” the Scottish news wrongfully announced, as Todd Leventhal’s position at the State Department preceeded the reign of the Obama administration. Now that’s just plain old misinformation the Scotts on the other side of the pond just didn’t know.

The news story continued that, “A new website aims to counter claims that the US government have been involved in top-secret plots and sensational cover-ups,” then zooming right in on the Kennedy assassination angle.

“The Conspiracy Theories and Misinformaiton page – posted by the US equivalent of the Foreign Office – insists that Lee Harvey Oswald killed John F. Kennedy alone, and that the Pentagon was not hit by a cruise missile on 9/11.”

For some reason they can’t discuss the JFK assassination alone, they have to mix it in with 9/11 or UFOs or Marilyn Monroe.

“The site also says officials have not covered up the existence of aliens and the moon landings were not faked and filmed in Hollywood. The internet has led to an explosion of outlandish theories and rumors about the US Government.”

Again dumping all “conspiracy theories” into one big heap, the article quotes the web sites as saying, “Conspiracy theories exist in the realm of myth, where imaginations run wild, fears trump facts and evidence is ignored.”

Then the article quotes our good friend and Lobster (See: Lobster publisher Robin Ramsay, “an expert in conspiracy theories,” who said: “It will have about as much effect as a site appealing for sexual abstinence amidst the internet’s oceans of porn.” (From the Daily Record- Best of Scottish News 17 August 2010).

As master American conspiracy theorists John Judge noted at that point, “In the official U.S. government website devoted to debunking conspiracy theories, JFK is lumped with all the nonsense of course,” and “we are allowed to believe anything but know nothing.”


Todd Leventhal is profiled on official web sites as “the Department of State's expert in this area,” and a professional who “has 12 years of experience in researching and countering disinformation, misinformation, urban legends, and conspiracy theories. He is available to respond to reasonable comments and requests in this area, and will do his best to provide accurate, authoritative information.”

On his archived blog page, under About the Author, it is noted that, “Todd Leventhal is the (State) Department’s expert on conspiracy theories and misinformation – stories that are untrue, but widely believed. He enjoys reading obituaries, which tell the personal stories of people who have shaped the fabric of American life. Todd became interested in international affairs after a four-month trip to the Soviet Union, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India in 1972. He worked for Voice of America for seven years and bikes to work year-round.”

Under Full Biography, it adds nothing, but elsewhere [] we learn that he is Harvard educated and his office bureaucratically comes under “The International Information Programs Bureau of the U.S. Department of State” and has a small, two-person team, composed of Todd Leventhal and Sarah Womer, “who counter false stories.”

Todd Leventhal himself elaborated on his background when he wrote that, “My interest in disinformation and misinformation has its roots in a four-month trip I took in 1972 to the Soviet Union, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. The Soviet Union's militarization, lack of freedom, and gloominess made a huge impression on me and I began to read as much as I could about the Soviet Union and communism and decided to make this my career interest. After studying Soviet affairs, I moved to Washington, DC and eventually found a job countering Soviet disinformation at the United States Information Agency (USIA) in 1987. The Soviets had a sizable bureaucracy dedicated to churning out lies about the United States and other countries. We were busy responding to requests from U.S. embassies to provide them with material to refute lies about the United States that had appeared in the local media. It was satisfying work and in 1988 I wrote and edited the USIA report Soviet Active Measures in the Era of Glasnost, in response to a request from the U.S. House of Representatives for a report on this issue. ‘Active measures’ was the term the Soviet foreign intelligence service, the KGB, used for its clandestine political influence operations, which relied heavily on spreading disinformation.”

“In 1990, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, his regime spread a great deal of disinformation about its occupation of Kuwait and the U.S. effort to help protect Saudi Arabia and the other countries of the Gulf and liberate Kuwait. I began to counter Iraqi disinformation and was the main U.S. official doing so during the Gulf War and its aftermath.”

[You can find material he wrote during that time at ]

“Later, in 1999,” Leventhal contines, “ I wrote a monograph recounting these events, Iraqi Propaganda and Disinformation During the Gulf War: Lessons for the Future, which was published by the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research in the United Arab Emirates…. After the Soviet Union collapsed at the end of 1991, I wrote a report in 1992, Soviet Active Measures in the "Post Cold War" Era, which explained the more sophisticated and conciliatory political influence operations of the Gorbachev era.”

[This report has been posted on the Internet at ]

“After the Soviet Union collapsed, the main part of my efforts shifted to countering misinformation about the United States, especially what we called the ‘baby parts’ rumor. This rumor, which has first burst into the world media in 1987, falsely claimed that Americans or others were kidnapping or adopting children from Latin America or other regions to use in organ transplants. Despite the fact that there was no truth whatsoever to this story, it spread all over the world. I wrote about the "baby parts" rumor in a 1994 USIA report to the United Nations The Child Organ Trafficking Rumor: a Modern Urban Legend.”
“In 1996, I was displaced from my job in a reduction-in-force within USIA and did not return to countering misinformation and disinformation until October 2002, when I came to the Department of State (USIA became part of the Department of State in 1999), to resume my previous job. I countered misinformation and disinformation during the 2003 war in Iraq, and have continued since then.”

While the JFK Assassination may have sparked the most recent public interest and response to Leventhal’s government work, others have written and complained about him before, especially journalist Larry Chin and investigative reporter Wayne Madsen.

In a 2006 story headlined, “Call the US State Department’s –counter-misinformation’ office what it actually is: official misinformation,” Chin wrote:

The US State Dept.'s “counter-misinformation” office headed by Todd Leventhal is the subject of a nationally syndicated article originally published in the Hartford Courant, and reprinted in major papers, including the San Francisco Chronicle. Leventhal, and the Bush administration’s “truth ministry” (the US State Department "Identifying Misinformation" Web Site) was previously exposed by Wayne Madsen as a shameless attack and cover-up apparatus. Madsen himself is the target of many of Leventhal’s attacks. Since Madsen’s 1995 expose, Leventhal’s ministry has obviously remained busy. Among Leventhal's current targets, all of which he concludes (as an official asset of the US government) are myths: 9/11"conspiracy theories," US plans to invade Venezuela, and the US creation of Osama bin Laden.

Historians, investigators, journalists, researchers and academics know full well that a great number of Leventhal’s targeted items, notably the above, are not myths, "urban legends" or "conspiracy theories," but fact, proven by official US government documents and credible mainstream news reports. The site identifies what issues this administration considers threatening enough to "debunk"--- i.e. cover up, deny, and discredit. It identifies groups and individuals that the government wishes to undermine.

It is also no surprise that Leventhal’s office has resorted to a familiar trick: lump genuine facts and real history into one cesspool along with bad, genuinely "crackpot" material, so that the important facts and real history are flushed down the pipe. Anything deemed to be damaging to the image of the US government is fair game. This includes documented facts.

The site goes out of its way, for instance, to label John Perkins’ book, Confessions of an Economic Hitman, a work of fiction. The book details how Perkins sabotaged the economies of various nations while in the employ of the National Security Agency (NSA). Perkins responded to the State Department’s web site: “Their mission statement is a lie. So when they use their mission statement to say my book is a lie, I think it speaks for itself.”

The very existence of this “truth ministry” speaks volumes about what this country has become, and how low this administration has stooped. Again, see the original expose by Wayne Madsen.

“The government has devoted an enormous apparatus (which includes the State Department, the CIA, a corporate media, a corrupted educational system, and more) to control what you think, openly manipulate reality, and cover up its malfeasance.

In his April, 2005 article on Leventhal, titled: Bush administration’s “Ministry of Truth” attacks American journalists who fail to adhere to the official line, Wayne Madsen wrote:

“After revelations that the Bush White House cleared a gay male prostitute as a daily credentialed member of the White House press corps and that the administration was paying journalistic shills like Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher, Michael McManus, and Karen Ryan to pump out pro-Bush propaganda to the media, nothing should come as any surprise when it comes to the Fourth Estate’s buckling under to political pressure from the right-wing regime that rules America.”

“What is surprising is that, in addition to using the media to concoct favorable propaganda, the Bush administration maintains an office in the State Department that keeps an eye on American and other journalists and does not hesitate to attack them for straying from the party line. To show how much censorship exists in America today, this journalist would have likely never known about the existence of a one-man office in the State Department that acts to debunk and attack anything the Bush administration deems is false. Thanks to a recent report by veteran America watcher and journalist Jyri Raivio in Finland’s Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, it can now be reported in the United States that the State Department uses taxpayers’ money to attack American journalists who refuse to parrot the Bush administration’s disinformation and propaganda.”

“The head of the State Department’s Counter Mis-Information ‘Team’ is Todd Leventhal, a long-time neoconservative propaganda operative who once worked for the U.S. Information Agency’s (USIA) Bureau of Information to counter Soviet and other disinformation with his own Brand X of American disinformation. Raivio reports that Leventhal was part of the Bush administration’s effort to convince the world that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction {WMD). Leventhal also contends in the Helsingin Sanomat report that any suggestion that false WMD intelligence was cooked up by the Bush administration is merely a conspiracy theory and that the faulty intelligence on Iraqi WMD was merely a huge mistake.’”

“It should not have come as any surprise that I was singled out by Leventhal,” wrote Madsen, “for an attack over a story written for Online Journal about the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and the involvement in the assassination’s planning of two neoconservative Bush administration officials — namely, Deputy National Security Advisor Elliot Abrams and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl C. Rove — with whom Leventhal is ideologically aligned. Leventhal’s operation is part of the State Department’s International Information Programs Bureau, now [then] headed by former Bush White House Communications Director and long time gal pal Karen Hughes.”

“Leventhal’s barb appears at and states, ‘self-described investigative journalist Wayne Madsen claimed that the Hariri assassination was ‘authorized’ by the United States because Mr. Hariri was known to adamantly oppose the construction of a major U.S. air base in the north of Lebanon.’”

Leventhal continues, “These claims are false. U.S. policy has expressly forbidden assassination since 1976, when President Ford signed Executive Order 11905. The prohibition against assassination was reaffirmed by President Carter and President Reagan, the latter in Executive Order 12333, which remains in force. Executive Order 12333 states, ‘No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination’ . . . Moreover, the U.S. military has confirmed that it has no plans for an air base in Lebanon. Mr. Madsen has made unreliable claims in the past. On October 20, 2004, he claimed that, in order to win reelection, the Bush administration ‘has initiated plans to launch a military strike on Iran’s top Islamic leadership, its nuclear reactor at Bushehr on the Persian Gulf, and key nuclear targets throughout the country.’ Needless to say, no such events occurred.”

Madsen responds: “Leventhal is obviously concerned that on numerous occasions this journalist’s articles are picked up by media outlets around the world, including papers in Pakistan, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Egypt and serve to debunk the cacophony of propaganda emanating from Washington and its embassies abroad. Leventhal citing two Executive Orders that prohibit assassinations is laughable in light of recent well-documented disclosures that U.S. interrogators killed at least one Iraqi general in custody. Since September 11, 2001, and adoption of George Tenet’s Worldwide Attack Matrix—a carte blanche for political assassinations around the world—both Executive Orders cited by Leventhal are not worth the paper they are printed on.”

“As to the ‘October Surprise’ story about a pre-election attack on Iran, I stand by my sources — which, since the original article’s appearance — have multiplied in number. In fact, I will stand my sources —including crew aboard the USS John F. Kennedy, then on station in the Persian Gulf — against Leventhal’s trite disinformation machine. Similarly, the sources on the Hariri assassination and the plans for the U.S. air base are well connected and trusted. The firm promised the air base construction contract by the Pentagon, Jacobs Engineering, is a major player in U.S. military and intelligence projects The company was started by the late Dr. Joseph Jacobs, a Lebanese-American who served on the advisory board of the Rand Corporation’s Center for Middle East Public Policy. The co-chair of that group during Jacobs’s tenure was none other than Frank Carlucci, the chairman emeritus of The Carlyle Group — an organization that has criminal conspiracy written all over it.”

“Perhaps, if Leventhal and his neocon friends used such trusted sources as the many I have developed over some twenty years, rather than using deluded and alcoholic disinformation scoundrels like Iraq’s ‘Curveball,’ this country would not be in the mess it is in today in Iraq and the entire Middle East. As a matter of fact, foreign ministries around the world could use their own Ministries of Truth for the sole purpose of wading through all the disinformation pumped out by the Bush administration: Iraq's WMD, Saddam's links to al Qaeda, Iraq's shopping for yellowcake uranium in Niger, and the many other lies and distortions.”

“First of all, some housekeeping is in order. Leventhal refers to this journalist as ‘self described.’ True, I use the term “investigative journalist” in tag lines. However, it is not ‘self described’ that my articles have been cited by Project Censored, famed author Gore Vidal, keen investigative journalist Greg Palast, and newspapers from Austria to Zimbabwe. In addition, it was not self-aggrandizement that resulted in my investigative book on genocide in Africa being cited in a French government counter-terrorism judicial investigation, a UN War Crimes Tribunal, U.S. House of Representatives testimony, and respected periodicals in Africa and Europe.”

“Although he is basically a one-man show (he does have a full-time assistant and one part-timer), Leventhal does not seem to produce much for his work at the State Department. Leventhal was actually laid off by the State Department in 1996 after his Cold War-era counter-disinformation office was disestablished, but he was rehired in October 2003 after the White House decided to resurrect its propaganda effort under the rubric of ‘strategic influence operations.’ Leventhal’s attacks are narrowly focused on particular stories, sources, and journalists. His web site has an explanation of how to spot disinformation — Leventhal contends that most conspiracy theories are rarely true and that they are spread by ideological extremists, that is liberals, because right-wingers like Leventhal would never be willing to address right-wing extremism (such as Fox News, the National Review, and The Wall Street Journal editorial page) in the media. Leventhal’s dismissing conspiracies as often untrue will, nevertheless, come as a great shock to the Criminal Division of the Justice Department, which has put away many a criminal based on violation of criminal conspiracy laws.”

“Another one of Leventhal’s government-funded attack pieces flays ex-U.S. soldier Nadim Abou Rabeh, an Iraqi war veteran who had taken part in Saddam Hussein’s capture. Leventhal pillories Rabeh for suggesting Saddam’s capture in a ‘spider hole’ was faked. Leventhal also calls fanciful reports that the United States used mustard gas in the siege of Fallujah, contends that the use of depleted uranium weapons by U.S. forces in Iraq is safe, and derides it as a ‘conspiracy theory’ that the United States helped create Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda via its support of the Afghan mujaheddin through Saudi and Pakistani facilitators.”

“In addition, Leventhal criticizes reports that the United States could have done more to warn Indian Ocean nations of the tsunami event last December. Astonishingly, Leventhal claims that the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii did not possess the capability to figure out that the 9.0 magnitude earthquake would produce a devastating tsunami. Leventhal also criticized by name Canadian journalist Michel Chossudovsky, who first reported on the failure of America to adequately warn Asian and African nations of the impending disaster.”

“Having never heard of Mr. Leventhal, I decided to do a bit of checking on him as only a ‘self described investigative journalist’ can do. First, there is Leventhal’s association with apartheid South Africa’s infamous ‘Project Babushka.’ According to a July 16, 1995 story in Newsday, during the 1980s, South Africa’s military established a dummy front called the International Freedom Foundation (IFF). The IFF was an influence-peddling organization used to counter critics of the apartheid regime and buy off right-wing American politicians to campaign against economic and military sanctions against the apartheid regime. According to former South African top spy Craig Williamson, IFF and Project Babushka enrolled such right-wing Republicans as North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, Henry Kissinger, California Republican Representative Robert Dornan, Indiana Republican Representative Dan Burton, Illinois Republican Representative Phil Crane, and right-wing GOP kook Alan Keyes. Helms even served as chairman of the editorial advisory board for the IFF’s publication branch—a group that pumped out all sorts of propaganda claiming that the African National Congress and Nelson Mandela were Communists.”

“Helping to run the IFF’s Washington, DC, office at 200 G Street, SE (and next door to the right-wing Free Congress Foundation) was none other than Jack Abramoff, who is now embroiled in a series of kickback and payola allegations involving House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Abramoff, a former Hollywood movie producer, helped the IFF to produce the movie “Red Scorpion,” a film about an anti-Communist African guerrilla leader battling Marxist forces with the assistance of South African military advisers. Of course, the film was a propaganda piece aimed at extolling Angolan anti-Communist UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi, who was fighting Angola’s Marxist government with the overt assistance of South Africa and the covert (and illegal) assistance of the Reagan-Bush administration. As late as 1990 and after Mandela’s release from prison, the IFF was running anti-ANC and Mandela ads in American newspapers.”

“Abramoff's involvement in Reagan era propaganda coincided with the appointment of longtime Reagan chum, Charles Z. Wick, as the head of the USIA. Wick, also a former movie producer, was most remembered for his famous Hollywood epic, ‘Snow White and The Three Stooges.’”

“One of the senior South African intelligence agents who used IFF cover was Wim Booyse. When Booyse visited Washington in1987 to attend IFF seminars, which were no more than covers for South African intelligence operations, he said he received specialized disinformation training from an expert at the U.S. Information Agency. And who was this expert on official government lying and distortion of the truth? Well, according to Booyse, it was none other than Todd Leventhal.”

“In a 1996 letter to The Washington Post, representing himself as an official of the USIA, Leventhal attacked former USIA official Alvin Snyder, who exposed U.S. government propaganda and lies in his excellent book on Reagan administration information warfare, Warriors of Disinformation. Leventhal dismisses Snyder’s claims in a previous Post op-ed piece that the Reagan administration faked results of Star Wars tests, that the Soviets actually did mistake the downed Korean Air Lines 007 for a U.S. espionage aircraft, and that the U.S. engaged in blatant propaganda in Chile to support the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship.”

“In 1995, Leventhal attacked documentary producer Allan Francovich for his film, The Maltese Double Cross, which provided evidence that Iran and Syria, rather than Libya, were behind the downing of PanAm Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Francovich, who later died while being questioned by U.S. customs and immigration agents at Houston’s international airport, determined that the Pan Am bombing was the result of a botched U.S. intelligence operation involving drugs and hostages in Lebanon. Leventhal’s smears against Francovich resulted in the latter’s May 12, 1995 letter to Britain’s Guardian newspaper in which Leventhal’s job as Program Officer for Countering Disinformation and Misinformation for the USIA is described as ‘Orwellian.’”

“In 1994, Leventhal took on the Los Angeles Times over its story about the kidnapping of poor children from poverty-ravished Latin American barrios for the purpose of organ harvesting. Leventhal’s small propaganda operation at the State Department is remarkably similar to an aggressive media operation that scans newspapers, television, and radio for stories critical of Israel. CAMERA, or the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, identifies and targets Israeli, American, and other journalists who question or provide alternatives to Israeli government propaganda.”

“In what is frightening and amusing at the same time, Leventhal makes an offer to those who have questions about the news stories they are reading: ‘If you wish, ask us. We can’t respond to all requests for information, but if a request is reasonable and we have the time, we will do our best to provide accurate, authoritative information.’ The State Department's website provides Leventhal's phone number for those who wish to have him interpret the news for them: 202-203-7492. Just another friendly service from your taxpayer-funded Ministry of Truth!”

[Wayne Madsen is an investigative journalist (described by others as such) and a nationally distributed columnist. ]


That’s all a lead in to what the official government Minister of Mis and Disinformation has to say about the assassination of President Kennedy.

Last July on his blog, which is called “Rumors, Myths and Fabrications ( ) Leventhal wrote, “Last week, I did a Web chat on conspiracy theories, in which I was surprised by the number of questions on the Kennedy assassination.

FOUR QUESTIONS on JFK Assassination:

Q [Gerak]: Is the assassination of Kennedy a conspiracy?
Q [Olabisi]: the Mafia and US Govt killed Kennedy and not Oswald. That's what I believe
Q [tito]: how about jfk assassination
Q [Alan]: The true story behind the Kenndey assassination. Rumour has it that the CIA plotted the murder.

A [Todd Leventhal]: The true story behind the Kennedy assassination is that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting as a lone assassin, killed President Kennedy.
A [Todd Leventhal]: The most comprehensive book on this subject is “Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy” by Vincent Bugliosi, published in 2007. In this 1600-page book, Bugliosi establishes clearly that Oswald acted alone.

A [Todd Leventhal]: From an early age, Oswald was a bitter, angry loner, ill-suited to working with, much less taking orders, from others. In grade school, he refused to salute the American flag. At age 13, he told his school psychiatrist “I dislike everybody.” He quit or was fired from every job he ever held, except the factory job he had in the Soviet Union. He defected to the USSR in 1959, requesting Soviet citizenship “because I am a Communist,” complaining that he “lived in a decadent capitalist society, where the workers are slaves.” Even after returning to the United States in 1962, Oswald remained strongly pro-Communist, idealizing Cuban communism — not the type of person who would be likely to want to work for the CIA, or whom they would be likely to entrust with the most sensitive mission imaginable.

A [Todd Leventhal]: The KGB observed Oswald while he was in the USSR and concluded that he was a “mediocre, uninteresting, useless man,” in the words of Vladimir Semichastny, who headed the KGB when Oswald lived in the USSR. Semichastny added, “I had always respected the CIA and FBI, and we knew their work and what they were capable of. It was clear that Oswald was not an agent, couldn’t be an agent, for the CIA or FBI,” noting that “Oswald’s actions in Minsk [where he lived in the USSR] were not those of a foreign agent. His primary interest was in attending dances.”

A [Todd Leventhal]: Bugliosi cites one of Oswald’s friends when he lived in Fort Worth, Texas, George de Mohrenschildt, who wrote: I never would believe that any government would be stupid enough to trust Lee with anything important … an unstable individual, mixed-up individual, uneducated individual, without background. What government would give him any confidential work? No government would.

A [Todd Leventhal]: In April 1963, Oswald attempted to kill retired General Edwin Walker, a fierce anti-Communist.This was the act characteristic of an unstable individual who hated anti-Communists, not that of a government agent. In August 1963, he planned to hijack a plane to Cuba — not a likely activity for a U.S. government agent. In September, he travelled to Mexico City, visiting both the Cuban and Soviet embassies in an unsuccessful attempt to travel to Cuba — the act of someone who hated America, not a U.S. government agent.

A [Todd Leventhal]: Bugliosi also points out that Oswald had no help from any co-conspirators when attempting to flee after killing President Kennedy, taking a bus and then a cab back to his room in Dallas.

A [Todd Leventhal]: Oswald only had a total of $183.87 ( to his name when he killed President Kennedy. He lived in a tiny (1.5 meters by four meters) room, which he rented for eight dollars per week. Nobody had paid him big bucks to be a hit man.

A [Todd Leventhal]: Oswald lived in a world of grandiose, make-believe delusions. He thought the USSR would be paradise; later Cuba. He told his wife that someday he would be “prime minister” of the United States – a job that has never existed. He was a nut obsessed with making his mark in history, which he, tragically, did, all by himself.

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You would think that the official government spokesman on misinformation, disinformation and conspiracy theories would quote the Warren Report or the Final Report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), the last official government body to investigate the assassination, but instead he quotes Vincent Bugliosi.

As John Judge notes, “The sole source of evidence are two sophomoric essays by some government hack (Leventhal) who claims to have read Bugliosi and praises his conclusions as exhaustive. I am sure he neither fully read Bugliosi nor did he read much else on the case from his illogical commentary.”

Indeed, Bugliosi’s 2,000 page book is of biblical proportions, and certainly gives a false portrait of the designated Fall Guy and Patsy, one that is repeated, almost word for word, in the JFK Assassination section of Leventhal’s now suspended blog. It appears he merely quoted portions of Bugliosi and then read what he had prepared for the web site, which reads:

“The most comprehensive book on this subject is the 1600-page book Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy by Vincent Bugliosi, published in 2007. Bugliosi clearly establishes that Oswald acted alone.”

In his profile of the mediocre, uninteresting, useless, unstable, degenerate, Lone Nut Loser and assassin, apparently based primarily on Bugliosi’s book, Todd Leventhal wrote:
From an early age, Oswald was a bitter, angry loner, ill-suited to working with, much less taking orders, from others. At age 13, he told his school psychiatrist “I dislike everybody.” He quit or was fired from every job he ever held, except a factory job he had in the Soviet Union. Oswald had extreme political views. He defected to the USSR in 1959, requesting Soviet citizenship “because I am a Communist,” complaining that he “lived in a decadent capitalist society, where the workers are slaves.” He tried to commit suicide when the Soviets denied his request. Oswald was quickly disillusioned by Soviet communism and returned to the United States in 1962, but still idealized Cuban communism. He was not the type of person likely to want to work for the CIA, KGB, or the Mafia, or whom any of these organizations would want to entrust with the most sensitive mission imaginable. The KGB observed Oswald closely while he was in the USSR and concluded that he was a “mediocre, uninteresting, useless man,” in the words of Vladimir Semichastny, who headed the KGB when Oswald lived in the USSR. Semichastny added, “I had always respected the CIA and FBI, and we knew their work and what they were capable of. It was clear that Oswald was not an agent, couldn’t be an agent, for the CIA or FBI,” noting that “Oswald’s actions in Minsk [where he lived in the USSR] were not those of a foreign agent. His primary interest was in attending dances.”

“Bugliosi quotes one of Oswald’s friends when he lived in Fort Worth, Texas, George de Mohrenschildt, who wrote: I never would believe that any government would be stupid enough to trust Lee with anything important … an unstable individual, mixed-up individual, uneducated individual, without background. What government would give him any confidential work? No government would.”

“In April 1963, Oswald attempted to kill retired General Edwin Walker, a fierce anti-Communist. This was an act characteristic of an unstable individual, not that of a government agent. In August 1963, he planned to hijack a plane to Cuba — not a likely activity for a secret U.S. or Soviet government agent or a Mafia hit man. In September 1963, he travelled to Mexico City, visiting both the Cuban and Soviet embassies in an unsuccessful attempt to travel to Cuba, where he apparently hoped to defect — again, not the act of someone secretly working for the United States, USSR, or the Mafia.”

“Bugliosi also points out that Oswald had no help from any co-conspirators when fleeing after killing President Kennedy. He took a bus and then a cab back to his room in Dallas, and then hid in a movie theater. Oswald only had a total of $183.87 when he killed President Kennedy. He lived in a tiny (1.5 meters by four meters) room, which he rented for eight dollars per week. Nobody had paid him a lot of money to be an assassin.”

“Oswald was obsessed with making his mark in history. He told his wife that someday he would be “prime minister” of the United States – a job that has never existed. He was a fool but, tragically, made it into the history books, entirely on his own.”


Allen Dulles took a book with him to one of the first meetings of the Warren Commission, Robert Donovan’s The Assassins, a book about American assassins and how they, historically, all appear to be psychologically deranged lone-nuts.

Dulles gave out copies of the book to other commissioners and he recommended they read it.
As detailed by Donald Gibson in his The Kennedy Assassination Coverup (2000), in which he wrote in the chapter, “SHAPING THE INVESTIGATION” that, “John J. McCLoy, who installed Rankin as general counsel against the wishes of Earl Warren, suggested guidelines and a purpose for the Commission at that first executive session on December 5, 1963….During this discussion, McCloy gave his opinion on the basic purpose of the President’s Commission. “This Commission is set up to lay the dust, dust not only in the United States but all over the world.” (33) (p. 98)

Gibson wrote:

...What is clear is McCloy’s general attitude about the Commission’s mission – it was to shut down suspicions, rumors, and questions….While McCloy was emphasizing the goal of laying the dust, Dulles was offering a conclusion for the Commission’s investigation before it had even started. The conclusion was that Oswald did it, did it alone, and did it because he was a nut. Warren had raised the psychiatric issue first, but he was citing what was in the press and he did not dwell on this. (36) It was Dulles who attempted to impose the lone-nut idea on the Commission as a virtual premise for its investigation.

As was noted earlier, James Reston had suggested, less than 24 hours after the assassination, that this act as committed by one person and that the act reflected a “strain of madness” in the country. (37). The New York Herald Tribune had editorialized on November 23 that assassins in the United States are typically “crazed individuals” and are “real lunatics.” (38) On November 25, the Wall Street Journal asserted that assassins are “idiots” and suffering with “hysteria.” (39) Also, in Dallas, Mayor Earle Cabell was quoted in the November 23 Dallas Morning News describing the assassination as the work of a maniac, as an “irrational ac” of a “deranged mind.” (40) As documented earlier, this was not the view of police or the district attorney.

Allen Dulles was the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency. He had decades of experience in intelligence work and in internal affairs. He was one of the most sophisticated men in the world. Later, we will discuss the relationship between Dulles and the other early sources of the lone-nut theory. This an probably was not just repeating something he had seen in the newspaper, unless what was appearing in the media immediately after the assassination and what he tried to impose on the Commission had a common source.
On December 5, Warren briefly mentioned the mental illness issue. Dulles then also brought this up and he began but did not get to finish a description of books he had been reading which focused on “the psychiatric angle.” (41)

On December 16, Dulles was far more aggressive in his promotion of this “angle.” Dulles was handing out copies of a book which analyzed seven previous attempts on the lives of U.S. Presidents. Dulles was giving this book to members of the Commission and to the Commission’s lawyers. (42) As indicated by Dulles, the theme of the book was that such attempts were typically the acts of lone individuals, usually individuals with mental disorders. The book that Dulles was pushing was The Assassins by Robert J. Donovan. Although Dulles did not identify it, Donovan’s book was published in the year mentioned by Dulles as the publication year and Donovan’s book contains a statement that is almost identical to something said by Dulles.

In response to a comment from McCloy that there was a plot in the Lincoln assassination, Dulles noted that that was true, “but one man was so dominant that it almost wasn’t a plot.”

In his book, Donovan, who was in 1963 the New York Hearld Tribune’s Washington bureau chief, argued that in the U.S., assassinations are the work of individuals and he went on to say: “This was true even in the Lincoln assassination, in which, though other conspirators were involved, Booth was the moving spirit and dominated his accomplices to such an extent that the plot was the product of one man’s will. (43)

The implication of this is that if conspiracies have leaders, they aren’t conspiracies! Donovan’s analysis contained another ingredient that was important in Dulles’ proffered conclusions about the assassination, i.e., that the assassins were usually crazy. Donovan’s conclusion: “By and large the story behind the assassinations and attempted assassinations of American Presidents is that the assassins not only were lone operators, but were, most of them, men suffering from mental disease, who pulled the trigger in the grip of delusion.” (44)

When Donovan later wrote the introduction to the Popular Library Edition of The Warren Commission Report on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, he applied his generalizations to the Kennedy assassination: “For the murder of President Kennedy was so horrifying, so senseless and heart-rending that the act was difficult to comprehend in terms of the average person’s experience. To anyone who happened to know the history of the assassinations of American Presidents, Lee Harvey Oswald conformed remarkably to the pattern of obscure misfits, loners, fanatics, cranks and mentally deranged and deluded men who committed these historic crimes. Indeed he even bore a vague physical resemblance to them. To millions everywhere, however, the crime in Dallas as too momentous in all its implications to be accepted as the pitifully simple thing it was, the solitary act of a deranged and deteriorating wanderer, taking his revenge on the world by destroying one of its finest living figures. Surely, it seemed to many – especially to many abroad – there MUST be further explanation, a more complex cause, a plot, a conspiracy.” (45)

Donovan uses about eight different terms to suggest Oswald was a lone-nut. The official line that developed during the hours immediately following the assassination has not changed, it was restated with even greater emphasis by Donovan.

Commission member Gerald Ford offered what was a but a slight variation on the lone-nut theory in his 1965 book Portrait of the Assassin. Ford explained the assassination in psychological terms. Oswald was described as a man who had a “deep rooted resentment of all authority” and as a man with a capacity for violence and a place in history. Ford claimed that Oswald was unable to form meaningful relationship and that Oswald had an “addled head.”


If Dulles was more interested in determining the truth about the assassination, than promoting the bogus Lone-Nut theory, he would have the other commissioners read his own book, "The Craft of Intelligence," in which he quotes Sun Tzu’s ancient manual "The Art of War."

In the very first chapter, on page one, under the title “THE HISTORICAL SETTING,” Dulles notes that, “In the fifth century B.C. the Chinese sage Sun Tzu wrote that foreknowledge was ‘the reason the enlightened prince and the wise general conquer the enemy wherever they move....’”

“…Rejecting the oracles and seers,…Sun Tzu takes a more practical view. “What is called ‘foreknoweldge’ cannot be elicited from spirits, nor from gods, nor by analogy with past events, nor from calculations,’ he wrote, ‘It must be obtained from men who know the enemy situation.’”

“In a chapter of the Art of War called ‘Employment of Secret Agents,’ Sun Tzu gives the basics of espionage as it was practiced in 400 B.C. by the Chinese,” wrote Dulles, “much as it is practiced today.”

According to Sun Tzu : "Now there are five sorts of agents to be employed. These are: native, inside, double, expendable and living." A native agent is one of the nationality of the enemy. An inside agent is one who lives and works in the enemy’s camp. A double agent is an enemy agent who works for both sides. An expendable agent is one that can be cut loose after achieving his goal, while a living agent is one that can get into the enemy camp and return with information."

Sun Tzu writes: "When these five types of agents are all working simultaneously and none knows their message of operation, they are called ‘The Devine Skeim," and are the treasure of the sovereign."

As explained by Dulles, “ ‘Native’ and ‘inside’ agents are similar to what we shall later call ‘agents in place.’ ‘Double,’ a term still used today, is an enemy agent who has been captured, turned around and sent back where he came from as an agent of his captors. ‘Expendable agents’ are a Chinese subtlety which we later tough upon in considering deception techniques. They are agents through whom false information is leaked to the enemy. To Sun Tzu they are expendable because the enemy will probably kill them when he finds out their information was faulty. ‘Living’ agents to Sun Tzu are latter-day ‘penetration agents.’ They reach the enemy, get information and manage to get back alivle.”

“To Sun Tzu belongs the credit not only for this first remarkable analysis of the ways of espionage but also for the first written recommendations regarding an organized intelligence service. He points out that the master of intelligence will employ all five kinds of agents simultaneously; he calls this the ‘Divine Skein.’ The analogy is to a fish net consisting of many strands all joined to a single cord. And this by no means exhausts Sun Tzu’s contribution. He comments on counter-intelligence, psychological warfare, on deception, security, on fabricators, in short, on the whole craft of intelligence...”

(Dulles credits: “For my remarks on Sun Tzu I am indebted to the recent excellent translation of the Art of War with commentaries by General Sam Griffith (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1963). - v=onepage&q&f=false


Donovan is also the author of PT 109.

Robert J. Donovan

Robert John Donovan (August 21, 1912-August 8, 2003) was a Washington correspondent, author and presidential historian. Donovan attended Lafayette High School in Buffalo, New York, where he was Captain of the Hockey and Track Teams, won honors as the Champion Orator of Buffalo and was a member of the Alpha Beta Chapter of the Omega Gamma Delta Fraternity. He had planned to attend Yale, but when he graduated in 1932, his family didn't have the necessary funds and he went to work as a copy boy at The Buffalo Courier Express, rising to reporter before leaving for The New York Herald Tribune. During World War II he was an Army Sergeant reporting for Stars and Stripes. Donovan returned to the Herald Tribune after the war and served as a foreign correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief. During the latter period he was President of the White House Correspondents' Association. From the Tribune, he moved to the Los Angeles Times as Washington Bureau Chief and for a short time as Associate Editor in Los Angeles.Donovan had begun writing books on the Washington political scene while still a reporter and continued that after retirement. He also served a year as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and a year as a Visiting Professor at Princeton University. He liked to joke that he was the only Professor at Princeton never to have attended a single day of college in his life. On the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Harry Truman, he addressed a Joint Session of Congress as Truman's principal biographer. At the time, he was the only active journalist to have ever had that distinction.His titles include ''The Assassins'' (1955), ''Eisenhower: The Inside Story'' (1956), ''PT 109: John F. Kennedy in World War II'' (1961), ''The Future of the Republican Party'' (1964), ''Conflict and Crisis: The Presidency of Harry S. Truman, 1945-48'' (1977), ''Tumultuous Years: The Presidency of Harry S. Truman, 1949-53'' (1982), ''Nemesis: Truman and Johnson in the Coils of War in Asia'' (1984), ''The Second Victory: The Marshall Plan and the Postwar Revival of Europe'' (1987), ''Confidential Secretary: Ann Whitman's Twenty Years with Eisenhower and Rockefeller'' (1988), ''Unsilent Revolution: Television News and American Public Life, 1948-1991'' (1992, with Ray Scherer), and ''Boxing the Kangaroo: A Reporter's Memoir'' (2000).
The Assassins, Robert J. Donovan (1955, Elek 1956)

Kennedy Assassination Coverup by Donald Gibson - v=onepage&q=The%20Assassins%20by%20Robert%20J.%20Donovan&f=false

The Kennedy assassination cover-up - Google Books Result
Donald Gibson - 2000 - History - 306 pages
The book that Dulles was pushing was The Assassins by Robert J. Donovan. Although Dulles did not identify it, Donovan's book was published in the year ... - v=onepage&q=The%20Assassins%20by%20Robert%20J.%20Donovan&f=false