Disinformation is deliberately misleading information announced publicly or leaked by a government, intelligence agency, corporation or other entity for the purpose of influencing opinions or perceptions.Why am I bringing this up? Well, I think I found a textbook example.
Yahoo! News has a Reuters story today with this headline: "Pakistan: U.S. Official's Osama Claim Was 'Political.'"The latest story references news reports from a few days ago quoting a US counterterrorism official who claimed that the capture of Osama bin Laden might be near.
This was total disinformation, according to Pakistan:
Pakistani media Sunday quoted Cofer Black, State Department coordinator for counter-terrorism, as saying that the United States and its allies have put the al Qaeda leader on the defensive, increasing chances of his capture soon.The remarks, as Reuters points out, came just a couple of days after President Bush "said that three-quarters of known al Qaeda leaders have been captured or killed."
But Pakistani Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said Black's remarks were a "political statement."
"We don't have any information about that," Ahmed told Reuters by telephone from Saudi Arabia where he is accompanying Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on an official visit.
Oh, did the US media covering the story provide this detail, which I found by a simple google search?
Ambassador Black has had a distinguished 28-year career in the Directorate of Operations at the Central Intelligence Agency.That's from Black's official bio on his State Department webpage.