Glenn Beck warned his audience Wednesday to be skeptical of the negative comments posted by unidentified individuals on the Internet -- including on websites like TheBlaze.
Yes, he said, some people just "get their kicks" by dragging others down, but some may have a more nefarious goal in mind. It is not out of the realm of possibility, he added, that some may be government operatives.
"We have used the IRS. We have used [government] agencies to come down on people and destroy them. But we would never infiltrate [the Internet]?" Beck said with heavy sarcasm. "We'd never do that. We'd never pose [as commenters] or leak lies about people, and push it out into the system..."
Beck cited a new report by Glenn Greenwald, who has been working with NBC News to cover the continuing revelations by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, that claims to have information indicating the British government is actively "attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction."
Greenwald embedded a purported document from the British Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group titled “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations.”
"Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets," Greenwald writes, "and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable."
Some of the tactics described in the document include "[writing] a blog purporting to be one of their victims," and "email/text their colleagues, neighbors, friends." Others suggest "[posting] negative information on appropriate forums" and "[stopping] deals/ruin business relationships."
Beck said he has seen a number of the tactics described used against him personally, and while that certainly doesn't mean the U.S. government is engaging in the same tactics as the British, he wouldn't be surprised if it is.
Beck added that he has long warned Americans that Cass Sunstein, an Obama adviser and the former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, advocated similar techniques in a "purely academic" paper in 2008.
The multimedia personality read from Greenwald's article, driving home the point: "These surveillance agencies have vested themselves with the power to deliberately ruin people’s reputations and disrupt their online political activity even though they’ve been charged with no crimes, and even though their actions have no conceivable connection to terrorism or even national security threats."
Beck once more encouraged his audience to be "extraordinarily careful" about what they believe, saying if you accept everything you read in "comments" sections, it is easy to get the view that you're "kind of alone" in your beliefs.
"We are not the kind of people that like to play psychological games," Beck said, "but they are."
He encouraged his audience to be aware of what may be occurring, and when they see things they suspect to be untrue, "just don't engage."
Watch the whole segment, below:
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