The pop star’s name came up in a 2019 “psyop” presentation that surfaced recently
The notion that the US military could be using songstress Taylor Swift in psychological operations is a conspiracy theory, the Pentagon said on Thursday.
Swift, one of the world’s biggest pop stars, was named Time’s 2023 Person of the Year and continues to dominate the headlines in the US media. On Tuesday, Fox News Primetime host Jesse Waters suggested the Pentagon’s psychological operations division might have had a hand in that.
Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh reacted by sending Politico a statement filled with references to Swift’s song titles.
“As for this conspiracy theory, we are going to shake it off,” Singh wrote. “But that does highlight that we still need Congress to approve our supplemental budget request as Swift-ly as possible so we can be ‘out of the woods’ with potential fiscal concerns.”
Both ‘Shake if Off’ and ‘Out of the Woods’ are from Swift’s 2014 album ‘1989.’
In a five-minute segment on Tuesday, Waters played an excerpt from an August 2019 presentation by the Pentagon’s psychological operations unit, which used Swift as an example of an influencer that could be used in “a psyop for combating online misinformation.”
“Is Swift a front for a covert political agenda? PrimeTime obviously has no evidence. If we did, we’d share it,” Waters said, noting that the US government has “enlisted” celebrities to promote its causes in the past, from Louis Armstrong to Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson.
The segment triggered a denial by the head of Vote.org, a nonprofit that has partnered with Swift to drum up the youth vote – mainly for the Democrats.
“Not a psy-op or a Pentagon asset. Just the biggest nonpartisan platform in America helping young people register & cast their vote,” Andrea Hailey of Vote.org posted on X (formerly Twitter).
Though Vote.org claims to be nonpartisan, Hailey’s biography lists her as a board member of several Democrat-aligned groups such as NARAL and Bend the Arc.
Swift herself came out as a Democrat in 2018, after years of avoiding politics entirely, and endorsed Joe Biden for president in 2020. Republicans responded by mocking her “terrible taste in men,” referring to Swift’s lengthy opus of break-up songs.
The video Waters featured on his show comes from an August 2019 conference at the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) located in Tallinn, Estonia. It was first brought up on Monday by Mike Benz, a former State Department official in the Trump administration, who now heads the Foundation For Freedom Online.
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