It seems we’ll have to get used to a new neologism, “Cognitive Infiltration”, after the Obama administration is proposing to pick Cass Sunstein to serve on the NSA Oversight Panel, the body responsible for reviewing allegations of NSA privacy abuses.
As The Washington Post reports in Obama pick for NSA review panel wanted paid, pro-government shills in chat rooms, “while at Harvard in 2008, Sunstein co-authored a working paper that suggests government agents or their allies “cognitively infiltrate” conspiracy theorist groups by joining ”chat rooms, online social networks or even real-space groups” and influencing the conversation.”
“Sunstein’s paper defined a conspiracy theory as “an effort to explain some event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role,” and acknowledges that some conspiracy theories have turned out to be true. It also specifically notes that his plan of “cognitive infiltration” should only be used against false conspiracy theories that could be harmful to the government or society.”
“But even the suggestion that the government should infiltrate groups that are not actively participating in criminal acts is troubling. ”
“The paper also suggests that the government “formally hire credible private parties to engage in counterspeech.” ”
“A man with such a credulous view of government power might not be the best choice to review allegations of NSA privacy abuses.”
The man in his full glory trying to avoid uncomfortable questions: