The revelations of Edward Snowden have included exposing a previously unknown British intelligence services branch dedicated to influencing human behaviour with psychological science. As The Guardian reveals, the work of the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) primarily involves electronic communication, but it also seeks to influence people socially.
The scope of the JTRIG’s mission includes using “dirty tricks” to “destroy, deny, degrade [and] disrupt” enemies by “discrediting” them, planting misinformation and shutting down their communications. Known as “Effects” operations, the work of JTRIG had become a “major part” of GCHQ’s operations by 2010. The slides also disclose the deployment of “honey traps” of a sexual nature by British intelligence agents.
Campaigns operated by JTRIG have broadly fallen into two categories; cyber attacks and propaganda efforts. The propaganda efforts (named “Online Covert Action”) utilize “mass messaging” and the “pushing [of] stories” via the medium of Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and YouTube. Online “false flag” operations are also used by JTRIG against targets. JTRIG have also changed photographs on social media sites, as well as emailing and texting colleagues and neighbours with “unsavory information” about the targeted individual.