In a paper written by Fletcher Schoen and Christopher J. Lamb, IWP founder and president Dr. John Lenczowski is featured as one of the leading figures influential in the success of the Active Measures Working Group, an interagency group responsible for countering Soviet disinformation tactics during the Reagan Administration. The group was formed by CIA and State Department officials concerned over American inaction in the face of Soviet public diplomacy actions.
The paper, published through the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University, reveals the various tactics utilized by the group which helped to highlight publicly Soviet acts of disinformation. The Active Measures Working Group existed at a time when many officials within government thought of disinformation as inconsequential. Efforts by the group helped to shape a new perspective of Soviet covert practices.
The paper emphasized the role of Dr. Lenczowski, then with the National Security Council. He provided valuable input and invigoration to the group which helped it to succeed for over eight years. This success was based off reactions created by their work, the paper argues. Several reports publicly exposing Soviet disinformation even shook top Soviet leadership like Mikhail Gorbachev, highlighting the effectiveness of the group’s efforts and the importance of its mission.
As the paper describes, the importance and need for the group declined with Gorbachev’s Glasnost policy and the subsequent disintegration of the Soviet Union. Regardless, the Active Measures Working Group effectively exposed Soviet disinformation and shed light on the necessity to confront it systematically. IWP’s own Dr. John Lenczowski worked at the heart of this endeavor.