What to Look for and How to Prepare for Disinformation Campaigns

January 21, 2021
1:00pm - 2:15pm

In today’s environment, the way citizens view facts, define certainty, and classify information no longer adheres to traditional rules. Fundamental changes have made it easier for domestic and foreign threats to exploit and amplify vital information to sow discord, push foreign nations’ policy agendas, cause panic, and ultimately undermine confidence and public trust in the core institutions of our democracy.  As COVID-19 and civil discourse intensifies, a new, broader, and perilous disinformation environment generates distrust, deception, and violence.

Law enforcement leaders are asking how disinformation campaigns will impact their community and what can Sheriffs and chief law enforcement leaders can do to thwart these messages. The sheer amount of information on the pandemic means that government and community leaders need to take specific actions to ensure that their citizens and employees receive factual and actional information.

During this session we will discuss:

  • Where can you go for help when you run across a concern?
  • What do you do about them?
  • What can/should you do about the group?
  • How do you handle a media that wants to make it into an issue?
  • Examples of disinformation (from Election 2016, DAPL and others)
  • Use of new technologies – deep fake videos, Adobe VoCo, others
  • How to monitor social media, without breaking the bank
  • Using social media for operational intel
  • Countering disinformation – quick steps to take
  • What officers need to know how to counter disinformation


  • John J. Farmer Jr. is the former attorney general for New Jersey, senior counsel for the 9/11 Commission, was an assistant U.S. Attorney, and worked at Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti LLP. He is the former law school dean, is currently special counsel to the President of Rutgers and on the faculty at the Eagleton Institute of Politics. John Farmer became dean of Rutgers School of Law–Newark in July 2009. From April 2013 until June 30, 2014 he was on a leave of absence to serve as Senior Vice President and University Counsel. He returned to the faculty as University Professor, effective July 1, 2014. Professor Farmer continues to hold an administrative post as Special Counsel to the President. Professor Farmer received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was a member of The Tax Lawyer and received first prize in the 1984 Lincoln and the Law Essay Contest. He received his B.A. from Georgetown University, with a major in English.  He began his career as a law clerk to Associate Justice Alan B. Handler of the New Jersey Supreme Court. He then worked for two years as a litigation associate at Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti LLP before joining the Office of the U.S. Attorney in Newark, where he prosecuted crimes ranging from kidnapping and arms dealing to bank fraud. In 1993 he received the U.S. Attorney General’s Special Achievement Award for Sustained Performance.
  • Paul Goldenberg is a highly decorated 30-year criminal justice and global security professional named by the leading national security publication as America’s 2020 Most Influential Person in Homeland Security. Through his work as a member of the United States Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC), he has led sensitive projects within DHS  at the request of the Secretary and members of Congress, such as the National Cyber Security Task Force, Subcommittee on Foreign Fighters, CVE policy center, Racial and Religious Violence Task Force, Countering Foreign Influence, and Youth Radicalization and Engagement.  Working internationally, he commanded the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) transitional policing mission where he traveled to Kosovo, Ukraine, Sweden, Belgium, France, Croatia, Poland, Slovakia, and numerous other European states to evaluate police response to growing extremism and building capacity between police and vulnerable communities. Paul’s government positions included chief of the NJ Attorney General’s Office responsible for Hate Crime and Domestic Terrorism, Executive Director of the nation’s 6th largest social service and juvenile justice system, lead agent of the Prosecutors Office Organized Crime Task Force, five years as a south Florida deep undercover agent where Mr.  Goldenberg was named -South Florida’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year -after bringing down a major criminal cartel which resulted in more than over 150 arrests. He began his career in urban policing in New Jersey.  Mr. Goldenberg is a senior advisor to National PAL, Crime stoppers, County Executives of America, the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, and is a Distinguished Fellow for Transnational Security Policy at the University of Ottawa.
  • Mark Pfeifle is the National Sheriffs’ Association senior advisor for marketing, strategy, and communications. He was deputy national security advisor for strategic communication and global outreach at the White House from 2007 to 2009. Mark is a leader in crisis strategy, digital media, cybersecurity, and has expertise and deep experience in planning and successfully executing high-impact policies and strategies, including U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Environmental Defense Fund, and Fortune 500 companies on major acquisitions, international relations, and cybersecurity challenges. In 2019, Pfeifle spoke on crisis and cyber strategy issues at Baku State University, ADA University, and Baku American Center in Azerbaijan; at the OSCE Academy, American University of Central Asia, Bishkek Humanities University, Kyrgyz State National University in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; and at Panteion University, Aristotle University, University of Macedonia and the Hellenic National Defense College in Greece.