In early January, USA Today reporter Tom Vanden Brook started asking questions about the U.S. military’s “information operations” program, which has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on poorly tracked marketing and propaganda campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A short time later somebody created websites TomVandenBrook.com and RayLocker.com — Locker is Vanden Brook’s editor — to harass the journalists. The sites were taken down after the Pentagon began investigating. Also, USA Today reports:
Fake Twitter and Facebook accounts have been created in their names, along with a Wikipedia entry and dozens of message board postings and blog comments.
“I find it creepy and cowardly that somebody would hide behind my name and presumably make up other names in an attempt to undermine my credibility,” Vanden Brook tells his paper.
Locker tells Erik Wemple that this campaign is “something I’ve never experienced in 30 years” as a journalist in this business. He calls the intimidation attempt “a little bit of a distraction,” but “I think it’s good that we called attention to it” in today’s paper.
Meanwhile, Vanden Brook is still on the story. “If they thought it would deter me from writing about this, they’re wrong.”