Unintended Consequences of Disinformation Campaigns on Law Enforcement

December 9, 2020
3:00pm - 4:00pm

There is a proliferation of disinformation and misinformation from extremist movements inciting civil unrest. Members of law enforcement are experiencing unprecedented levels of violence, some of which are being amplified and instigated through social media.

During this webinar, we will discuss:

  • Militia and extremists 101 – what, where, and who are they, how impactful are they
  • Outline a framework for false Information
  • What is the real threat to domestic security today?
  • How do you find them and what they talk about?
  • Are they fake (all talk) or real (actual threat)
  • How do they recruit “action,” both group and lone wolf?
  • Where do they spread their thoughts and how do you access it?
  • How do they use disinformation to attract supporters?
  • What is disinformation and misinformation?
  • Who is doing it and why?
  • How do they do it and why it matters to law enforcement?
  • Action point – offices need to act now to protect their channels and 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.
  • Graham Brookie is the Director and Managing Editor of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) based in Washington D.C. The DFRLab is at the forefront of open-source research with a focus on governance, technology, security, social media, and where each intersect. By publishing what it can prove, or disprove, in real-time, the DFRLab is creating a new model of research and education adapted for impact.

    Prior to joining the DFRLab, Brookie served in various positions at the White House and National Security Council. His most recent role was as an adviser for strategic communications with a focus on digital strategy, audience engagement, and coordinating a cohesive record of former US President Barack Obama’s national security and foreign policy. Previously he served as the adviser to the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism (APHSCT), the president’s top aide for cybersecurity, counterterrorism, intelligence, and homeland security issues. He also worked in the East Asia, Middle East, and North Africa directorates at the National Security Council.

    Brookie graduated cum laude with degrees from American University in Washington, DC. He also completed the London School of Economics’ general course.

  • Sheriff Chris Swanson was recently elected to his first term as sheriff of Genesee County (Michigan) after being appointed on an interim basis in December 2019. Sheriff Swanson started as an intern in the sheriff’s department in 1991 before being hired permanently in the marine division. He served in the Flint Area Narcotics Group, joined the detective bureau in 2000, and named undersheriff in 2004. Sheriff Swanson holds a master’s degree in public administration – criminal justice and a bachelor of applied science from the University of Michigan. Sheriff Swanson writes and speaks frequently on leadership, achieving success, and human transformation.
  • Donald J. Mihalek currently serves as the Executive Director of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association with over 29,000 members and Executive Vice President of the FLEOA Foundation. Don had been in federal law enforcement for over 25 years. Don had been a Special Agent since 1998 with the US Secret Service and was promoted to Senior Special Agent in 2015 and in 2017 appointed as the Regional Training Coordinator for the Northeast region, responsible for training all Secret Service personnel located there. Don had served in a variety of investigative and protective assignments including on the Presidential Protective Detail from 2007-2011 and on multiple Presidential Campaigns. Don had been awarded for investigating a variety of large-scale multiple-national financial crime investigations and had been the Consequence Management / Mass Relocation Coordinator for 8 National Special Security Events including the Republican National Convention in St Paul, multiple United Nations General Assemblies, the 2015 Papal Visit, and the 2016 DNC.
  • 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.