State Dept’s Initiative to Counter al-Qaeda Propaganda

Several months ago, President Obama signed an executive order establishing an interagency center to coordinate the US government’s public messages against terrorist organizations. A major component of this Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) was in the news lately for its clever campaign against AQAP on Yemeni tribal forums.

Because the center is new, most people are unfamiliar with its mandate or how it operates. More broadly, people are unaware of the complexities of government messaging against terrorist organizations. To shed light on these subjects, the first coordinator of the CSCC, Ambassador Richard LeBaron (now retired), has given me permission to post his recent remarks on what he learned during his tenure. It’s very instructive for anyone interested in counter-propaganda and how the US government is coping with the new information environment.

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