"The tweak to the bill would essentially neutralize two previous acts - the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987 - that had been passed to protect U.S. audiences from our own government's misinformation campaigns... The new law would give sweeping powers to the government to push television, radio, newspaper, and social media onto the U.S. public. 'It removes the protection for Americans,' says a Pentagon official who is concerned about the law. 'It removes oversight from the people who want to put out this information. There are no checks and balances. No one knows if the information is accurate, partially accurate, or entirely false...' Critics of the bill point out that there was rigorous debate when Smith Mundt passed, and the fact that this is so 'under the radar,' as the Pentagon official puts it, is troubling... The evaporation of Smith-Mundt and other provisions to safeguard U.S. citizens against government propaganda campaigns is part of a larger trend within the diplomatic and military establishment... In December, the Pentagon used software to monitor the Twitter debate over Bradley Manning’s pre-trial hearing; another program being developed by the Pentagon would design software to create 'sock puppets' on social media outlets [such as Facebook, Twitter and online forums
]; and, last year, General William Caldwell, deployed an information operations team under his command that had been trained in psychological operations to influence visiting American politicians to Kabul."