The Nuts and Bolts of the “Countering Disinformation And Propaganda Act”

ministry-of-truth


“Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” – Jim Morrison


On Friday, President Obama signed the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law.

Hidden on page 547 is the establishment of the “Global Engagement Center.”

Let’s cut to the chase: This law authorizes the government to collect, store, and disseminate the records of anyone that’s considered to be spreading propaganda and disinformation.

That includes you.

There is also no limitation in the law to prevent the government from directing anti-propaganda efforts to it’s own citizens.

That also includes you.


There are subtle yet significant differences between the original version of the “Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act” and the version that was just signed into law.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said last Tuesday that this legislation does not address Russian propaganda directed at U.S. Citizens.

“This bill is primarily dedicated to countering propaganda and disinformation outside the United States,” he said.

 

That is a flat-out lie.

 

The original version of the bill contained a provision that specifically stated that anti-propagation efforts by the Global Engagement Center will only be done with the intent to influence foreign audiences:

TARGETED FOREIGN AUDIENCES.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—The activities under this subsection of the Center described in paragraph (1) shall be done only with the intent to influence foreign audiences. No funds for the activities of the team under this section may be used with the intent to influence public opinion in the United States.

That language was removed from the final version, which was just signed into law.

The final version states that Global Engagement Center is limited to “countering foreign propaganda and misinformation that threatens the United States national security.

(h) LIMITATION.—None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available to carry out this section shall be used for purposes other than countering foreign propaganda and misinformation that threatens United States national security.

What does this mean?

 

This means that there’s no limitation in the law for to prevent the government from directing anti-propaganda efforts to it’s own citizens.

That includes you.


The functions of the “Global Engagement Center”

 

The original version of the bill focused solely on countering foreign government information warfare efforts.

The final version just signed into law was modified to include “non-state actors.”

(2) PURPOSE.—The purpose of the Center shall be to lead, synchronize, and coordinate efforts of the Federal Government to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.

 

What is a “non-state actor”?

 

Well, US Code doesn’t provide a solid definition for “non-state actor.”

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a “non-state actor” as:

An individual or organization that has significant political influence but is not allied to any particular country or state.

 

Here are some examples of “non-state actors:”

  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • Multinational corporations
  • The international media
  • Violent non-state actors (ISIS, drug cartels, ect.)
  • Religious Groups
  • Anonymous
  • An individual with a large Twitter/Facebook following

Have a Twitter or Facebook account? You could be considered a “non-state actor” under the provisions of this law.

 

That’s absurd, one individual doesn’t have significant influence to spread ‘misinformation’.

 

Individuals wield a significant amount of influence to control information in the internet age.

In 2006, TIME Magazine quite literally awarded the Person of the Year award to ‘You’.

 

time-person-of-the-year-you

 

Individuals absolutely have enough influence to be considered a “non-state actor.”

 

That includes you.


 

The government can collect your records for “research and data analysis”

 

The original version of the bill contained 9 functions for the Global Engagement Center.

The version just signed into law contains 10.

Here’s what was added:

(10) Maintain, collect, use, and disseminate records (as such term is defined in section 552a(a)(4) of title 5, United States Code) for research and data analysis of foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts and communications related to public diplomacy efforts intended for foreign audiences.

 

“Records”, as defined by section 552, means:

(4) the term “record” means any item, collection, or grouping of information about an individual … not limited to, his education, financial transactions, medical history, ect.

 

An “individual”, as defined by section 552, means:

(2) the term “individual” means a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence;

 

What does this mean?

 

This means that the government can collect the records of United States Citizens whom it determines to be spreading propaganda and disinformation efforts on social media.

That includes you.


Sen. Murphy also claimed last Tuesday that the Global Information Center would “simply be offering to help other countries’ in their efforts to produce more independent journalism to counter Russian propaganda.”

 

This is also a flat-out lie.

 

The Global Information Center itself is limited to “proactively promoting fact-based narratives and policies to audiences outside the United States.”

But they also have the authority to administer an “information access fund.”

 

What is the “information access fund”?

 

This fund is a mechanism for the Center to offload the dirty work of spreading propaganda to United States Citizens.

(1) AUTHORITY FOR GRANTS.—The Center is authorized to provide grants or contracts of financial support to civil society groups, media content providers, nongovernmental organizations, federally funded research and development centers, private companies, or academic institutions for the following purposes:

 

There is nothing in the law that prevents the Center from giving grants to domestic entities

 

That means that CNN, Media Matters, and other American “media content providers” are eligible to receive money from the Global Information Center.

Here’s what they can do with this grant money:

(B) To collect and store examples in print, online, and social media, disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda directed at the United States and its allies and partners.

 

This means that the government can grant money to American media companies to collect and store examples of what they consider to be “social media disinformation.”

That includes your social media feed.

Here’s what else they can do:

(D) To support efforts by the Center to counter efforts by foreign entities to use disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda to influence the policies and social and political stability of the United States and United States allies and partner nations.

 

That means that the government can feed it’s own propaganda to American media companies, who then forward the messaging to United States citizens.

That includes you.

 

The Global Information Center will have the authority to indirectly influence public opinion within the United States on a massive scale.


There is nothing in this law that authorizes the government to “shut down” independent voices.

 

But the Center has been granted a 2 year budget of $160 million to give out in grants to non-governmental entities to push the government’s narrative to United States Citizens.

The Global Information Center will be doing everything in it’s power to drown out and eliminate narratives that go against the will of the government.


We are one step away from having a “ministry of truth.”

 

“Fake news” has been branded as ‘dangerous’.

The language in this law is centered around combating information that is “aimed at undermining the United States national security interests.

Just as there are limitations to our Freedom of Speech, the government could use the “dangers” of “fake news” to limit the Free Press.

We are one step away from the government determining that a news narrative is “dangerous” to the security of the United States of America.

 

 

At that point, say goodbye to our right to a Free Press.

 

 

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  • PatBryanTX2

    I do not see why a Republican Congress would pass a bill “proactively promoting fact-based narratives and policies” when the web of propaganda and lies the Right has spewed for the last 30 years is what brought it to power, sustains it, and got Trump elected. Is the US government going to realize that the greatest propaganda and fake news threat to the Republic is the GOP?

    • gerrilea

      NO, you really don’t get it do you? This has nothing to do with D or R, it has everything to do with our criminal government deciding what the truth is. If you disagree, you are a threat to the security interests of the United States.

      Get over the idea of us having a divided government or a two-party system. Americans in record numbers are becoming Independent. While I am a registered and voting Democrat, this past election was the first time in my life that I voted straight R.

      Project Veritas undercover videos and the Wikileaks Podesta emails clinch my decision to vote them all out of office. I want peace, not “insurgents” we created and funded cutting the heads of 11-yr old children.

      Many parts of this law are simply unconstitutional. Especially the part about the collection of our data. Which Manning, Kirkou, Snowden, et al told us about. This “law” is another nail in that “damn piece of paper”. They truly have become traitors.

      • K Selected – Mr Twister

        Snowden’s turned out to be a traitor..spilling the secrets of the only intel agency operated by the military, the NSA, who are the counter to the highly compromised Civilian agencies C_A/FBI/DOJ etc.

        Snowden = C_A agent inserted into the NSA to blow their advantage, by revealing “PRISM” Vault 7 etc

  • Janco van Niekerk

    Where can I see the version that has been signed into law?

    • Andrew Kerr

      Hi Janco.

      The version signed into law can be found on page 547 of this document: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/2943/text

    • public_servant_watch

      Language signed into law 2017 NDAA

      SEC. 1287. GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT CENTER.
      (a) ESTABLISHMENT.— (1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 180 days after the date
      of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense and the heads of other
      relevant Federal departments and agencies, shall establish
      within the Department of State a Global Engagement Center
      (in this section referred to as the ‘‘Center’’).
      (2) PURPOSE.—The purpose of the Center shall be to lead,
      synchronize, and coordinate efforts of the Federal Government
      to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state
      and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed
      at undermining United States national security interests.
      (b) FUNCTIONS.—The Center shall carry out the following functions:
      (1) Integrate interagency and international efforts to track
      and evaluate counterfactual narratives abroad that threaten
      the national security interests of the United States and United
      States allies and partner nations.
      (2) Analyze relevant information, data, analysis, and analytics from United States Government agencies, United States
      allies and partner nations, think tanks, academic institutions,
      civil society groups, and other nongovernmental organizations.
      (3) As needed, support the development and dissemination
      of fact-based narratives and analysis to counter propaganda
      and disinformation directed at the United States and United
      States allies and partner nations.
      (4) Identify current and emerging trends in foreign propaganda and disinformation in order to coordinate and shape
      the development of tactics, techniques, and procedures to expose
      and refute foreign misinformation and disinformation and
      proactively promote fact-based narratives and policies to
      audiences outside the United States.
      (5) Facilitate the use of a wide range of technologies and
      techniques by sharing expertise among Federal departments
      and agencies, seeking expertise from external sources, and
      implementing best practices.
      (6) Identify gaps in United States capabilities in areas
      relevant to the purpose of the Center and recommend necessary
      enhancements or changes.
      (7) Identify the countries and populations most susceptible
      to propaganda and disinformation based on information provided by appropriate interagency entities.
      (8) Administer the information access fund established
      pursuant to subsection (f).
      (9) Coordinate with United States allies and partner
      nations in order to amplify the Center’s efforts and avoid
      duplication.
      (10) Maintain, collect, use, and disseminate records (as
      such term is defined in section 552a(a)(4) of title 5, United
      States Code) for research and data analysis of foreign state
      and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts and
      communications related to public diplomacy efforts intended
      for foreign audiences. Such research and data analysis shall
      be reasonably tailored to meet the purposes of this paragraph
      and shall be carried out with due regard for privacy and civil
      liberties guidance and oversight.
      (c) HEAD OF CENTER.— (1) APPOINTMENT.—The head of the Center shall be an
      individual who is an official of the Federal Government, who
      shall be appointed by the President.
      (2) COMPLIANCE WITH PRIVACY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES LAWS.— The President shall designate a senior official to develop guidance for the Center relating to relevant privacy and civil liberties laws and to ensure compliance with such guidance.
      (d) EMPLOYEES OF THE CENTER.— (1) DETAILEES.—Any Federal Government employee may
      be detailed to the Center without reimbursement, and such
      detail shall be without interruption or loss of civil service
      status or privilege for a period of not more than 3 years.
      (2) PERSONAL SERVICE CONTRACTORS.—The Secretary of
      State may hire United States citizens or aliens as personal
      services contractors for purposes of personnel resources of the
      Center, if—
      (A) the Secretary determines that existing personnel
      resources are insufficient;
      (B) the period in which services are provided by a
      personal services contractor, including options, does not
      exceed 3 years, unless the Secretary determines that exceptional circumstances justify an extension of up to one additional year;
      (C) not more than 50 United States citizens or aliens
      are employed as personal services contractors under the
      authority of this paragraph at any time; and
      (D) the authority of this paragraph is only used to
      obtain specialized skills or experience or to respond to
      urgent needs.
      (e) TRANSFER OF AMOUNTS AUTHORIZED.—
      (1) IN GENERAL.—If amounts authorized to be appropriated
      or otherwise made available to carry out the functions of the
      Center—
      (A) for fiscal year 2017 are less than $80,000,000,
      the Secretary of Defense is authorized to transfer, from
      amounts authorized to be appropriated by this Act for
      the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2017, to the
      Secretary of State an amount, not to exceed $60,000,000,
      to be available to carry out the functions of the Center
      for fiscal year 2017; and
      (B) for fiscal year 2018 are less than $80,000,000,
      the Secretary of Defense is authorized to transfer, from
      amounts authorized to be appropriated by an Act authorizing funds for the Department of Defense for fiscal year
      2018, to the Secretary of State an amount, not to exceed
      $60,000,000, to be available to carry out the functions
      of the Center for fiscal year 2018.
      (2) NOTICE REQUIREMENT.—The Secretary of Defense shall
      notify the congressional defense committees of a proposed
      transfer under paragraph (1) not less than 15 days prior to
      making such transfer.
      (3) INAPPLICABILITY OF REPROGRAMMING REQUIREMENTS.—
      The authority to transfer amounts under paragraph (1) shall
      not be subject to any reprogramming requirement under any
      other provision of law.
      (f) INFORMATION ACCESS FUND.—
      (1) AUTHORITY FOR GRANTS.—The Center is authorized to
      provide grants or contracts of financial support to civil society
      groups, media content providers, nongovernmental organizations, federally funded research and development centers, private companies, or academic institutions for the following purposes:
      (A) To support local independent media who are best
      placed to refute foreign disinformation and manipulation
      in their own communities.
      (B) To collect and store examples in print, online, and
      social media, disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda directed at the United States and its allies and
      partners.
      (C) To analyze and report on tactics, techniques, and
      procedures of foreign information warfare with respect to
      disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda.
      (D) To support efforts by the Center to counter efforts
      by foreign entities to use disinformation, misinformation,
      and propaganda to influence the policies and social and
      political stability of the United States and United States
      allies and partner nations.
      (2) FUNDING AVAILABILITY AND LIMITATIONS.—The Secretary of State shall provide that each organization that applies
      to receive funds under this subsection is selected in accordance
      with the relevant existing regulations to ensure its bona fides,
      capability, and experience, and its compatibility with United
      States interests and objectives.
      (g) REPORTS.—
      (1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than one year after the date
      on which the Center is established, the Secretary of State
      shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a
      report evaluating the success of the Center in carrying out
      its functions under subsection (b) and outlining steps to improve
      any areas of deficiency.
      (2) DEFINITION.—In this subsection, the term ‘‘appropriate
      congressional committees’’ means—
      (A) the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Homeland
      Security and Governmental Affairs, and the Committee
      on Appropriations of the Senate; and
      (B) the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee
      on Armed Services, the Committee on Homeland Security,
      and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.
      (h) LIMITATION.—None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available to carry out this section shall
      be used for purposes other than countering foreign propaganda
      and misinformation that threatens United States national security.
      (i) TERMINATION.—The Center shall terminate on the date that
      is 8 years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

    • public_servant_watch

      2013 NDAA Section 1078

      A Bill is not law. Smith-Mundt Modernization Act slid into NDAA under ‘other matter’ for funding & allowed programs for FOREIGN audience to be seen/heard in USA because an unwritten but understood ‘ban’ could not be enforced with internet. Effective July 2013. Legislation applied to the State Department no other ABC government entity.

      Repeal was not in the language in the 2012 Bill – repeal (revoke, rescind, cancel, reverse, abrogate, annul, nullify) Repeal means that law no longer has any legal force i.e., nullified and that is the rumor which is patently false.

      Modernization – the process of adapting something to modern need.
      Article addressing how propaganda about propaganda took off like a wildfire
      https://foreignpolicy.com/2013/07/14/u-s-repeals-propaganda-ban-spreads-government-made-news-to-americans/

      An attorney overview https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1203&context=nulr
      Repeal is the wrong terminology – this was a Modernization act.
      The ORIGINAL https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/177574.pdf

      Graphics with the signed into law language
      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DmigBojV4AAjCrz.jpg:large
      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DmigNVtU0AQ8Ht8.jpg:large
      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DmigRmLU8AE6Nys.jpg:large

      2017 NDAA Language signed into law

      SEC. 1288. MODIFICATION OF UNITED STATES INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING ACT OF 1994.
      The United States International Broadcasting Act of 1994 (22
      U.S.C. 6201 et seq.; Public Law 103–236) is amended—
      (1) by amending section 304 (22 U.S.C. 6203) to read as
      follows:
      ‘‘SEC. 304. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF
      THE BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS.
      ‘‘(a) CONTINUED EXISTENCE WITHIN EXECUTIVE BRANCH.—The
      Broadcasting Board of Governors shall continue to exist within
      the Executive branch of Government as an entity described in
      section 104 of title 5, United States Code.
      ‘‘(b) CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER.—
      ‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—The head of the Broadcasting Board
      of Governors shall be a Chief Executive Officer, who shall
      be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and
      consent of the Senate. Notwithstanding any other provision
      of law, until such time as a Chief Executive Officer is appointed
      and has qualified, the current or acting Chief Executive Officer
      appointed by the Board may continue to serve and exercise
      the authorities and powers under this Act.
      ‘‘(2) TERM.—The first Chief Executive Officer appointed
      pursuant to paragraph (1) shall serve for an initial term of
      three years.
      ‘‘(3) COMPENSATION.—A Chief Executive Officer appointed
      pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be compensated at the annual
      rate of basic pay for level III of the Executive Schedule under
      section 5314 of title 5, United States Code.
      ‘‘(c) TERMINATION OF DIRECTOR OF INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING BUREAU.—Effective on the date of the enactment of this
      section, the position of the Director of the International Broadcasting Bureau shall be terminated, and all of the responsibilities,
      offices, authorities, and immunities of the Director or the Board
      under this or any other Act or authority before such date of enactment shall be transferred or available to, assumed by, or overseen
      by the Chief Executive Officer, as head of the Board.
      ‘‘(d) IMMUNITY FROM CIVIL LIABILITY.—Notwithstanding any
      other provision of law, all limitations on liability that apply to
      the Chief Executive Officer shall also apply to members of the
      boards of directors of RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Asia, the Middle
      East Broadcasting Networks, or any organization that consolidates
      such entities when such members are acting in their official capacities.’’;
      (2) in section 305 (22 U.S.C. 6204)—
      (A) in subsection (a)—
      (i) by striking ‘‘Board’’ each place it appears and
      inserting ‘‘Chief Executive Officer’’;
      (ii) in paragraph (1), by inserting ‘‘direct and’’
      before ‘‘supervise’’;
      (iii) in paragraph (5)—
      (I) by inserting ‘‘and cooperative agreements’’
      after ‘‘grants’’; and
      (II) by striking ‘‘in accordance with sections
      308 and 309’’ and inserting ‘‘in furtherance of the
      purposes of this Act and on behalf of other agencies, accordingly’’;
      (iv) in paragraph (6)—
      (I) by striking ‘‘International Broadcasting
      Bureau’’ and inserting ‘‘Board’’; and
      (II) by striking ‘‘subject to the limitations in
      sections 308 and 309 and’’;
      (v) in paragraph (10)—
      (I) by inserting ‘‘, rent, or lease’’ after ‘‘procure’’; and
      (II) by striking ‘‘personal property’’ and
      inserting ‘‘property for journalism, media, production, and broadcasting, and related support services, notwithstanding any other provision of law
      relating to such acquisition, rental, or lease, and
      under the same terms and conditions as authorized
      under section 501(b) of the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 (22
      U.S.C. 1461(b)), and for multiyear contracts and
      leases for periods of up to 20 years subject to
      the requirements of subsections (b) through (f) of
      section 3903 of title 41, United States Code’’;
      (vi) in paragraph (11)—
      (I) by striking ‘‘staff’’;
      (II) by striking ‘‘as the Board’’ and inserting
      ‘‘as the Chief Executive Officer’’; and
      (III) by striking ‘‘subject’’ and inserting ‘‘which
      shall not be subject’’;
      (vii) in paragraph (13)—
      (I) by striking ‘‘Bureau’’ and inserting ‘‘Board’’;
      and
      (II) by striking ‘‘Board has taken’’ and
      inserting ‘‘Chief Executive Officer has taken’’;
      (viii) in paragraph (14)—
      (I) by inserting ‘‘transmission or’’ before
      ‘‘relay’’; and
      (II) by inserting ‘‘or any other grantee authorized under this Act’’ after ‘‘Radio Free Asia’’;
      (ix) in paragraph (15)(A), by striking—
      (I) ‘‘temporary and intermittent’’; and
      (II) ‘‘to the same extent as is authorized by
      section 3109 of title 5, United States Code,’’;
      (x) in paragraph (16), by striking ‘‘Board determines’’ and inserting ‘‘Chief Executive Officer determines’’;
      (xi) in paragraph (18), by striking ‘‘the Bureau’’
      and inserting ‘‘the Chief Executive Officer’’; and
      (xii) by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:
      ‘‘(20) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, including
      section 308(a), to condition, if appropriate, any grant or cooperative agreement to RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Asia, or the Middle
      East Broadcasting Networks, or any organization that is established through the consolidation of such entities, on authority
      to determine membership of their respective boards, and the
      consolidation of such grantee entities into a single grantee
      organization under terms and conditions established by the
      Board.
      ‘‘(21) To redirect or reprogram funds within the scope of
      any grant or cooperative agreement, or between grantees, as
      necessary (and not later than 15 days before any such redirection of funds between language services, to notify the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Foreign Affairs
      of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate
      regarding such redirection), and to condition grants or cooperative agreements, if appropriate, on such grants or cooperative
      agreements or any similar amendments as authorized under
      section 308(a), including authority to name and replace the
      board of any grantee authorized under this Act, including with
      Federal officials, to meet the purposes of this Act.
      ‘‘(22) To change the name of the Board pursuant to congressional notification 60 days prior to any such change.’’;
      (B) by striking subsections (b) and (c); and
      (C) by redesignating subsection (d) as subsection (b);
      and
      (D) in subsection (b) (as so redesignated)—
      (i) by striking ‘‘and the Board’’ and inserting ‘‘and
      the Chief Executive Officer’’; and
      (ii) by striking ‘‘International Broadcasting
      Bureau’’ and inserting ‘‘Board’’;
      (3) by amending section 306 (22 U.S.C. 6205) to read as
      follows:
      ‘‘SEC. 306. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING
      ADVISORY BOARD.
      ‘‘(a) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in subsection (b)(2), the
      International Broadcasting Advisory Board (referred to in this section as the ‘Advisory Board’) shall consist of five members, including
      the Secretary of State, appointed by the President and in accordance
      with subsection (d), to advise the Chief Executive Officer of the
      Broadcasting Board of Governors, as appropriate.
      ‘‘(b) RETENTION OF EXISTING BBG BOARD MEMBERS.—
      ‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—The presidentially appointed and Senateconfirmed members of the Board of the Broadcasting Board
      of Governors who are serving on unexpired terms as of the
      date of the enactment of this section shall—
      ‘‘(A) constitute the first Advisory Board; and
      ‘‘(B) hold office for the remainder of their original terms
      of office without reappointment to the Advisory Board.
      ‘‘(2) EFFECT OF ADDITIONAL MEMBERS.—If, on the date of
      the enactment of this section, more than five members described
      in subsection (a) are serving their original terms of office on
      the Broadcasting Board of Governors, each such member may
      serve on the Advisory Board for a period equal to the time
      remaining on each such member’s respective term without
      reappointment.
      ‘‘(c) TERMS OF OFFICE.—
      ‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in paragraph (2),
      the term of office of each member of the Advisory Board
      appointed pursuant to subsection (a) shall be three years.
      ‘‘(2) VACANCIES.—If a vacancy on the Advisory Board occurs
      before the expiration of the term of the member who created
      such vacancy—
      ‘‘(A) the President shall appoint a new member to
      fill such vacancy in accordance with subsection (d); and
      ‘‘(B) the member appointed pursuant to such subsection
      shall serve for the remainder of such term.
      ‘‘(3) SERVICE BEYOND TERM PROHIBITED.—Members may not
      serve beyond the term for which they were appointed.
      ‘‘(d) SELECTION OF THE BOARD.—In identifying individuals for
      appointment to the Advisory Board under subsection (a), the President shall appoint United States citizens—
      ‘‘(1) who, with the exception of the Secretary of State,
      are not regular, full-time employees of the United States
      Government; and
      ‘‘(2) distinguished in the fields of public diplomacy, mass
      communications, print, broadcast or digital media, or foreign
      affairs, of whom—
      ‘‘(A) one individual should be appointed from among
      a list of at least three individuals submitted by the Chair
      of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives;
      ‘‘(B) one individual should be appointed from among
      a list of at least three individuals submitted by the Ranking
      Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House
      of Representatives;
      ‘‘(C) one individual should be appointed from among
      a list of at least three individuals submitted by the Chair
      of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate; and
      ‘‘(D) one individual should be appointed from among
      a list of at least three individuals submitted by the Ranking
      Member of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the
      Senate.
      ‘‘(e) FUNCTIONS OF THE BOARD.—The members of the Advisory
      Board shall perform the following advisory functions:
      ‘‘(1) To provide the Chief Executive Officer of the Broadcasting Board of Governors with counsel and recommendations
      for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the agency
      and its programming.
      ‘‘(2) To meet with the Chief Executive Officer at least
      twice annually and at additional meetings at the request of
      the Chief Executive Officer.
      ‘‘(3) To report periodically or upon request to the congressional committees specified in subsection (d)(2) regarding its
      counsel and recommendations for improving the effectiveness
      and efficiency of the Broadcasting Board of Governors and
      its programming.
      ‘‘(4) To obtain information from the Chief Executive Officer,
      as needed, for the purposes of fulfilling the functions described
      in this subsection.
      ‘‘(f) COMPENSATION.—Members of the Advisory Board, including
      the Secretary of State, may not receive any fee, salary, or remuneration of any kind for their service as members.’’;
      (4) by striking section 307 (22 U.S.C. 6206);
      (5) in section 308 (22 U.S.C. 6207)—
      (A) in subsection (a)(1), by striking ‘‘of the Broadcasting
      Board of Governors established under section 304 and no
      other members’’ and inserting ‘‘authorized under section
      305(a)(20)’’;
      (B) by amending subsection (d) to read as follows:
      ‘‘(d) ALTERNATIVE GRANTEE.—If the Chief Executive Officer
      determines at any time that RFE/RL, Incorporated is not carrying
      out the functions described in this section in an effective and
      economical manner, the Board may award the grant to carry out
      such functions to another entity.’’; and
      (C) in subsection (g)(4)—
      (i) by striking ‘‘International Broadcasting Bureau’’
      and inserting ‘‘any other grantee of the Board’’; and
      (ii) by striking ‘‘by the Board’’ and inserting ‘‘by
      the Chief Executive Officer’’; and
      (D) in subsection (i), by striking ‘‘(1) Effective’’ and
      inserting ‘‘Effective’’;
      (6) in section 309 (22 U.S.C. 6208)—
      (A) in subsection (f)(2), by striking ‘‘Chairman of the
      Board’’ and inserting ‘‘Chief Executive Officer of the Board’’;
      (B) by redesignating subsection (g) as subsection (h);
      and
      (C) by inserting after subsection (f) the following new
      subsection:
      ‘‘(g) ALTERNATIVE GRANTEE.—If the Chief Executive Officer
      determines at any time that Radio Free Asia is not carrying out
      the functions described in this section in an effective and economical
      manner, the Board may award the grant to carry out such functions
      to another entity.’’;
      (7) by inserting after section 309 (22 U.S.C. 6208) the
      following new sections:
      ‘‘SEC. 310. BROADCAST ENTITIES REPORTING TO CHIEF EXECUTIVE
      OFFICER.
      ‘‘(a) CONSOLIDATION OF GRANTEE ORGANIZATIONS.—
      ‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—The Chief Executive Officer, subject to
      the regular notification procedures of the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House
      of Representatives and the Committee on Appropriations and
      the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, who is
      authorized to incorporate a grantee, may condition annual
      grants to RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East
      Broadcasting Networks on the consolidation of such grantees
      into a single, consolidated private, non-profit corporation (in
      accordance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
      and exempt from tax under section 501(a) of such Code), in
      such a manner and under such terms and conditions as determined by the Chief Executive Officer, which may broadcast
      and provide news and information to audiences wherever the
      agency may broadcast, for activities that the Chief Executive
      Officer determines are consistent with the purposes of this
      Act, including the terms and conditions of subsections (g)(5),
      (h), (i), and (j) of section 308, except that the Agency may
      select any name for such a consolidated grantee.
      ‘‘(2) SPECIAL RULE.—No State or political subdivision of
      a State may establish, enforce, or continue in effect any provision of law or legal requirement that is different from, or
      is in conflict with, any requirement or authority applicable
      under this Act relating to the consolidation, incorporation,
      structure, or dissolution of any grantee under this Act.
      ‘‘(b) MISSION.—The consolidated grantee established under subsection (a) shall—
      ‘‘(1) counter state-sponsored propaganda which undermines
      the national security or foreign policy interests of the United
      States and its allies;
      ‘‘(2) provide uncensored local and regional news and analysis to people in societies where a robust, indigenous, independent, and free media does not exist;
      ‘‘(3) help countries improve their indigenous capacity to
      enhance media professionalism and independence, and develop
      partnerships with local media outlets, as appropriate; and
      ‘‘(4) promote unrestricted access to uncensored sources of
      information, especially via the internet, and use all effective
      and efficient mediums of communication to reach target
      audiences.
      ‘‘(c) FEDERAL STATUS.—Nothing in this or any other Act, or
      any action taken pursuant to this or any other Act, may be construed to make such a consolidated grantee described in subsection
      (a) or RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Asia, or the Middle East Broadcasting Networks or any other grantee or entity provided funding
      by the agency a Federal agency or instrumentality. Employees
      or staff of such grantees or entities may not be Federal employees.
      For purposes of this section and this Act, the term ‘grant’ includes
      agreements under section 6305 of title 31, United States Code,
      and the term ‘grantee’ includes recipients of such agreements.
      ‘‘(d) LEADERSHIP OF GRANTEE ORGANIZATIONS.—Officers and
      directors of RFE/RL Inc., Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East
      Broadcasting Networks or any organization that is established
      through the consolidation of such entities, or authorized under
      this Act, shall serve at the pleasure of and may be named by
      the Chief Executive Officer of the Board.
      ‘‘(e) MAINTENANCE OF THE EXISTING INDIVIDUAL GRANTEE
      BRANDS.—RFE/RL, Incorporated, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle
      East Broadcasting Networks, Incorporated should remain brand
      names under which news and related programming and content
      may be disseminated by the consolidated grantee. Additional brands
      may be created as necessary.

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