#154 Todd Leventhal on Countering Disinformation

#154 Todd Leventhal on Countering Disinformation

The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association.

During this episode, Todd Leventhal recaps his many years of experience countering disinformation with the U.S. Information Agency and the U.S. Department of State–including AIDS disinformation, child organ trafficking rumors, exaggerated fears about depleted uranium, and Iraqi propaganda and disinformation during the 1991 Gulf War. Todd recently worked with the Global Engagement Center and he suggests ways for the Department of State to improve public diplomacy in the 21st Century.


Link to full show notes and resources

Guest Bio: Todd Leventhal has some 25 years of experience in countering Russian, Soviet, Iraqi, and other disinformation, conspiracy theories, and false stories, mainly for the U.S. Information Agency and the U.S. Department of State, starting in 1987.  He was the sole or main U.S. government official countering disinformation from 1989 to 1996, 2002 to 2010, and in 2015. He received an “Exceptional Performance Award” from the Director for Central Intelligence for his contributions to the 2003 White House report Apparatus of Lies: Saddam’s Disinformation and Propaganda 1990-2003.

After retiring from 33 years of U.S. government service in May 2018, Mr. Leventhal served as a Senior Counter-Disinformation Advisor in the Russia Division of the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) from late 2018 to April 2022, where he wrote 14 GEC Counter-Disinformation Dispatches, which summarize lessons learned about disinformation and how to counter it based on the experiences of frontline counter-disinformation practitioners.

About: The Information Professionals Association (IPA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring the role of information activities, such as influence and cognitive security, within the national security sector and helping to bridge the divide between operations and research. Its goal is to increase interdisciplinary collaboration between scholars and practitioners and policymakers with an interest in this domain.

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