The US decision to declassify intel around Ukraine and forewarn the global public may be more consequential than almost any decision platforms have made to limit disinformation since 2016. This is in part because the US decision is net positive for information and narratives. While the platform decisions simply makes room for the next round of conspiracy theory and disinformation content to fill them.
I’ve gone back to piece together as best I can the fragments of sentences from the 2020 letter signed by nine four-star generals, asking the US intelligence community to make this change.
If democracy can survive this moment, this letter – dubbed the 36-star-memo – could come to be seen as a turning point. It’s to the credit of the generals to be imaginative enough to ask for this.
The US can bolster support from allies only by “waging the truth in the public domain against America’s 21st century challengers…”
“We request this help to better enable the US, and by extension its allies and partners, to win without fighting, to fight now in so-called gray zones, and to supply ammunition in the ongoing war of narratives…
“Unfortunately, we continue to miss opportunities to clarify truth, counter distortions, puncture false narratives, and influence events in time to make a difference…”
“China and Russia are employing all instruments of comprehensive national power to execute political warfare, manipulate the information environment, violate the sovereignty of nations, co-opt international bodies, weaken the integrity of multilateral institutions, and splinter our alliances and partnerships. Their efforts to reshape the world in their image, proliferate authoritarianism, and advance their ambitions are provocative, dangerous, and destabilizing.”
“The severity and pace of the information challenge…will take active and prolonged engagement…to accelerate a transformation to meet the volume, variety, veracity, and velocity of information ammunition that we require.”