20 October 2012
Deputy Sam decided that anything "off the record" didn't need to be off the record, and so he set up an audio recorder by using two "burner" phones he pocketed off of drug busts. Simply setting one phone up to silent/no vibrate and auto answer, and presto, instant bug. Sam kept the phones powered in minutes by buying minutes with cash at a store he knew the security video system was broken. The phone jack on the non bug phone was plugged into a digital recorder and all it took was a press of the button to tape a conversation.
Sam didn't know how to do anything with his recordings but he decided that if his ass were ever on the line wiretap laws be damned he would bring someone down with him. After six months of randomly tapping into the liaison officers office Sam's favorite quote was, "Well arrest him for something, we'll figure out how to make it stick later!"
Sam caught a lucky break when a pretty girl approached him at happy hour and started asking him questions about his patrol through the county, how many roadblocks got set up every quarter, and other tactically significant questions that even a set of cornflower blue eyes and three inches of cleavage couldn't make less suspicious.
"Look sweetie," Sam said, wishing he were handsome enough to actually warrant the attentions of an attractive young woman. "Why don't you tell whoever told you to ask all those questions to contact me directly." And with a tip for the bartender he left his business card with the burner phone number on the back. The next day Sam got a phone call, and became a known asset for the resistance.
Sam's handler picked up the audio files through a USB stick at a dead drop and pushed them through as a bit torrent to the propaganda cell contact he had. The intel section made a copy to analyze. Most of the intel was old, simply confirming some of what was already known about law enforcement operations in Sam's county. But just because it was of limited value to the intel section didn't make it of limited value. The intel chief pushed a copy to a propaganda cell for exploitation.
Audio and video editing software is relatively cheap. A person with a laptop an a few hundred dollars worth of software can put together a film on their own in their spare time, something that less than a lifetime ago was the realm solely of the super wealthy or those with commercial studio support. The US Military stance on information operations is to use only the truth. The instructors at FC7 took the same stance, after all, telling the truth in an untruthful world is a deliciously revolutionary act. With the interconnectedness of the internet propaganda cells were found in various locations throughout the world.
Sam's audio files were combed through for the juiciest soundbites, and then correlated with the thug activities for the quotes. The intel section vetted the final product and ensured that once released it wouldn't violate the source (Sam was quite grateful for not being turned into a walking target).
The propaganda cell decided to focus on three cases, three innocent men who were locked up because they had the unmitigated gall to ask for a warrant, talk back to an officer trying to conduct an unlawful search, and refusing to consent to search. All three had been given multiple year sentences on trumped up charges in a kangaroo court. Telling their stories, and how the administration had broken their sacred trust to ensure the rule of law, not the rule of thugs, was a powerful blow to the legitimacy of the administration.
Three innocent men in prison stayed in prison when the .gov decided that it was better to stick to a lie than to admit that they had bad apples acting under the color of law. However protests increased in frequency and open hostility towards the administration, and increasingly the population shifted support away from the administration. The effects of propaganda weren't measured in body counts, material destroyed, or any other sort of measure. The military strategists call this, "the intangible benefits" of ones efforts, and while no one will ever be able to count the people who lived or died because of a few folks with audio/video editing software, it isn't because they weren't effective.