There’s an interesting detail in the reports trying to expose “Team Jorge“.
An investigation by 30 media outlets, including the Guardian and Der Spiegel, has claimed to have exposed a team of freelance units based in Israel who disrupt elections and manipulate public opinion using disinformation campaigns.
“We are now involved in one election in Africa … We have a team in Greece and a team in [the] Emirates … You follow the leads,” Hanan said in one secretly filmed meeting quoted in the Guardian. “[We have completed] 33 presidential-level campaigns, 27 of which were successful.”
While some speculate the interview itself is full of disinformation, it’s also unusual for someone to admit six campaigns failed. Either that’s top shelf lying, or it’s the kind of honesty shared from real expertise.
Given that the accused Israeli head of the operation is allegedly 50 years old, he’s surely steeped in the disinformation of 1990s Intifada, not to mention the legendary tactics of Orde Wingate in Middle East operations.
For what it’s worth, this is the sort of thing I warned about a decade ago in my 2012 Big Data presentation at BSidesLV — use of disinformation on mobile devices to swing political outcomes.
Back then I framed it as the Loch Ness monster problem, to highlight information integrity vulnerability that has a long precedent.
Modern information warfare today is exactly where we should have expected it to be.