“The Pentagon is legally prohibited from conducting psychological operations at home or targeting U.S. audiences with propaganda, except during “domestic emergencies.” Defense Department rules also forbid the military from using psychological operations to “target U.S. citizens at any time, in any location globally, or under any circumstances.””
… ““We don’t deal with domestic. End of issue,” Andrew Black, Navanti’s chief executive, said in an interview. “We turned it over to the cognizant authorities. That’s where we stopped. That’s really important that that is where we stopped.” The firm “followed the law,” he added.”
May 2012, Buzzfeed article about a Bill to lift the domestic propaganda ban being introduced with some more details.
“For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government’s mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts.”
February 2012, independent history of Smith-Mudt Act and implications of amending.
Wikipedia article (current as of November 2017) about Propaganda in the United States, stating: “The Smith-Mundt Act prohibits the Voice of America from disseminating information to US citizens that was produced specifically for a foreign audience.”
Foreignpolicy.com article linked above states the provisions only apply to select branches of the State Department.
Wikipedia US propaganda article seems to confirm later:
“However, Emma L Briant points out that this is a common confusion – The Smith-Mundt Act only ever applied to the State Department, not the Department of Defense and military PSYOP, which are governed by Article 10 of the US Code.”
So, seems to be at least some public confusion around this.
Wikipedia article (current Nov. 2017) about Smith-Mundt Act, states:
“Section 1462 requires “reducing Government information activities whenever corresponding private information dissemination is found to be adequate” and prohibits the State Department from having monopoly in any “medium of information” (a prescient phrase). “
Continuing from article above, regarding Voice of America:
“”This means that VOA is forbidden to broadcast within the United States.” In reality, of course, any American with a shortwave receiver or an Internet connection can listen to VOA. This is incidental, however. VOA cannot direct or intend its programs to be “for” Americans. “
Here is what appears to be text of the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012. I have not read it in its entirety, but a relevant excerpt:
“Sec. 208. Clarification on domestic distribution of program material
No funds authorized to be appropriated to the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors shall be used to influence public opinion in the United States.” […]
(b)Rule of construction
Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors from engaging in any medium or form of communication, either directly or indirectly, because a United States domestic audience is or may be thereby exposed to program material, or based on a presumption of such exposure. Such material may be made available within the United States and disseminated, when appropriate, pursuant to sections 502 and 1005 of the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 (22 U.S.C. 1462 and 1437), except that nothing in this section may be construed to authorize the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors to disseminate within the United States any program material prepared for dissemination abroad on or before the effective date of the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012.”
I don’t know quite how to interpret that, having not read the rest, combined with my incomplete knowledge of linked items in US Code.
Wikipedia article Operation Earnest Voice (current to Nov. 2017) cites the above act with this statement:
“According to CENTCOM, the US-based Facebook and Twitter networks are not targeted by the program because US laws prohibit state agencies from spreading propaganda among US citizens as according to the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012. However, according to the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012, dissemination of foreign propaganda to domestic audiences is expressly allowed over the internet including social media networks.”