The Agency of Domestic Invasive Activity – Information War Lost – The Standard for Dysfunctional and Defunct in the Federal Government – International Broadcasting Bureau
by The Federalist
We were sitting at the computer the other day (Friday, July 19), going over the WTOP website, when we happened upon an article about the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warning Americans not to shoot at drones.
From a piece written by Joan Lowy of the Associated Press (AP) who filed the story,
“Under the proposed ordinance, Deer Trail (Colorado) would grant hunting permits to shoot drones. The permits would cost $25 each. The town would also encourage drone hunting by awarding $100 to anyone who presents a valid hunting license and identifiable pieces of a drone that has been shot down.”
Americans are becoming increasingly wary of what the Federal Government is doing supposedly in their behalf.
Drones have a variety of uses, many of them benign. However, with a long established tradition of privacy, codified in law, many Americans are concerned that these unmanned aircraft could be put to extra-judicial uses.
Back at the Cohen Building
In the meantime, the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) is regaling in the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act which allows broadcasting entities of the US Government to make programs available over public airwaves, cable systems and other media platforms within the United States.
While there may arguably be beneficial uses of drone aircraft, there is nothing beneficial in this agency of the Federal Government to propagandize the American people.
As we and our editors have noted, these programs have long been readily available if Americans wanted them, primarily via the Internet.
But this is an entirely different circumstance.
This change in the law would allow this agency to specifically target Americans with its program content.
Generally speaking, it would likely be extremely difficult for the agency to manipulate traditional news content and present it in a form that would be overtly misleading. Mainstream American audiences would likely pick up on the misinformation right away and raise an uproar – which is precisely what they are doing now, upon learning of this IBB foray into domestic propaganda.
An add to the equation that the IBB is notorious for lack of transparency, accountability and responsibility for what it does.
It also has established a reputation for attacking anyone critical of how it operates. The public attacks are generally vague, negative allegations against the critic but lacking specific examples. That’s the public attacks. However, out of the public eye, this agency is also known to resort to private arm-twisting, intimidating employees, ratcheting up the pressure to prevent critical articles from appearing in the mainstream media.
Senior agency operatives want to preserve a virginal, lily-white public image – a veneer for a lot of bureaucratic rot and corruption.
Much of that veneer got demolished when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly (and correctly) labeled the agency “dysfunctional” and “defunct.”
Hillary Clinton had also said earlier that the agency is losing the information war abroad. She did not say the information war had to be waged in the United States on Americans.
Whatever the presumptive benefits of the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act may have been, the reality is that it didn’t do anything beneficial to rehabilitate the agency’s massive failings with global audiences and set itself up to be a propaganda screed – mostly in the form of what we view as deliberately misleading self-promotional press releases designed to create the appearance, not the fact, that the agency is still somehow viable and effective.
With a record of abysmal failure with global audiences, there is only one “audience” left to go after – and that audience is the American people.
The Executioner’s Bullet: De-Federalization
The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act is bad enough. However, to compound the dysfunction permanently, the Congress is also in the process of considering language that would de-Federalize the agency’s public employees – primarily those of the Voice of America (VOA).
(As if the employees are somehow responsible for the disastrous decision-making by the IBB staff focused around its failed “strategic plan.”)
Let’s be clear:
De-Federalization doesn’t fix any of the strategic failures perpetrated upon the American taxpayers by this agency’s career IBB staff.
We’ve said it before and we will say it again: the last line of defense against the corruption manifest in this agency is its civil service workforce and its Federal employee unions, particularly the AFGE Local 1812 union.
At times, the trade union movement in the United States leaves a lot to be desired. However, this is one clear case where union employees and their representatives are trying to do right for the American people. To a large extent, that means standing up for the mission of the agency as codified by the VOA Charter.
By ignoring the Charter and US national interests it represents, senior agency officials of the IBB have voided the effectiveness of the agency.
What de-Federalization does do is remove the agency’s career civil service staff from protections under law and subject them to the draconian personnel practices this agency is known for. This is “the worst organization in the Federal Government.” It was at the time the statement was made and remains so to this day, making it one of the worst places to work in the Federal Government.
In addition to de-Federalization, it has been suggested that the agency be placed under “professional management.”
Where does this supposed subject expert brain trust reside?
Don’t say it’s the IBB. Not by a long shot. This group of officials has established itself for a whole lot of negatives: gross insubordination, defiance and other acts of inept service in its relationship to the presidentially appointed oversight Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). They have done it openly, refusing direction from the BBG, refusing to supply relevant information concerning the agency’s operations and issues that arise from it and failing to be responsive to attempts to rehabilitate its treatment of agency employees.
These IBB people are not good people. Period. When you disabuse yourself of the notion that the IBB has anything constructive to offer, come back and talk to us.
The great irony in all this is the one thing the IBB has managed to do with the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act is something rarely seen in 21st century American national government:
It has managed to unite the Left, Right and Center in common cause against it!
Members of Congress and their staff people should sit up and take notice because we all know one thing:
Something that unites disparate groups in this way must be more than bad.
It’s really bad.
It’s inherently bad.
The IBB has also practiced a perfect example of what columnist Deroy Murdock calls “lingo fandango: squirting perfume on a smelly label won’t change a meaning.” In this instance, the smelly label is:
And it has a big, red directional arrow pointed right at the American people. The IBB isn’t squirting perfume at this odious direction in its operating philosophy. It is now turning a fire hose on it, trying desperately to control the spontaneous combustion of the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act, something the IBB has coveted for a long time. Well, now they have it.
The best thing the Congress can do is take the de-Federalization idea and stuff it in a drawer labeled “Bad Ideas.”
Unfortunately, the Smith-Mundt Modernization didn’t make it to the file cabinet.
It is obvious that no one knows what to do with this agency in its state of gross disrepair. The will to substantively deal with its failings is not there. Finding people with “the right stuff” to establish authority over the renegade IBB are not there (and least it seems they haven’t been identified, sought out and consulted). And even if they were, the task is so monumental and costly that they may not have any impact on reversing the agency’s crash and burn trajectory.