Rolling Stone: Lieberman a target of savvy “psy-ops” effort

Sen. Joe Lieberman isn’t exactly a military dove when it comes to support for the current U.S. military campaigns in Iraq or Afghanistan.

But apparently a military commander in Afghanistan, three-star Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, still thought Lieberman needed to be targeted with a sophisticated “psychological operations” campaign, aimed at manipulating U.S. policymakers into providing more money and more troops for that conflict.

According to an article in Rolling Stone, this effort, which targeted Lieberman and other senators on the Armed Services Committee, went well beyond the usual public-relations spin.

It involved tasking the members of an “information operations” unit, trained in so-called “psy-ops” measures designed to influence the thoughts and behaviors of an enemy, to use their expertise to help shape the views of visiting lawmakers.

“The general wanted the IO team to provide a ‘deeper analysis of pressure points we could use to leverage the delegation for more funds’,” Rolling Stone reports. The article quotes the general’s chief of staff as asking: “How do we get these guys to give us more people?” and “What do I have to plant inside their heads?”

Whitney Phillips, a spokeswoman for Lieberman, said she had no comment on the article.

The story doesn’t say if Lieberman actually attended any meeting where these tactics were used or what impact the effort had, if any. Lieberman has made several congressional trips to Afghanistan and other hot-spots, as part of his role on the Armed Services panel.

In fact, Phillips said he’s on a trip right now-visiting Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and other countries in the Middle East-with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who was also reportedly targeted in the “psy-ops” effort.

Let’s hope they’re on guard against any mind-control games.