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Thread: Internal Investigation Clears Pentagon Of Propaganda Violations

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Internal Investigation Clears Pentagon Of Propaganda Violations

    Internal investigation clears Pentagon of propaganda violations

    (Gold9472: The Pentagon is notorious for clearing itself of wrong doing. It did it with regards to NORAD's response on 9/11. It did it with regards to Able Danger, etc...)


    An internal investigation has cleared the Pentagon of violating a ban on domestic propaganda by using retired military officers to comment positively about the war in Iraq in the US media.

    In a report posted on its website Friday, the Pentagon's inspector general said "we found the evidence insufficient to conclude that RMA (retired military analysts) outreach activities were improper."

    The report said the controversy, which erupted in April following an expose in the New York Times, warranted no further investigation.

    The Times found that the Pentagon laid on special briefings and conference calls for the retired officers, many of whom then repeated the talking points as military experts on television news shows.

    It also found that many of the media analysts also worked as consultants or served on the boards of defense contracting companies, but that those ties often went undisclosed to the public.

    US law bars government agencies from using funds for domestic propaganda, but the inspector general's report said the definition of propaganda is unclear.

    The report said historically it has been interpreted to mean publicity for the sake of self aggrandizement, partisanship, or covert communications, and that by those standards the evidence did not show a violation of the ban.

    "Further, we found insufficient basis to conclude that (the office of the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs) conceived of or undertook a disciplined effort to assemble a contingent of influential RMAs who could be depended on to comment favorably on DoD (Department of Defense) programs," it said.

    It said the Pentagon invited retired military analysts to 121 meetings, 16 Pentagon briefings, 105 conference calls and nine trips -- four to Iraq and five to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    "We determined that those activities were conducted in accordance with DoD policies and regulations," it said.

    It said some 70 retired military officers were involved with the program at one time of another.

    One, retired general Barry McCaffrey, was not invited back after he criticized the war effort, the report said. Another was blocked from attending, possibly because of a dispute with an unnamed senior military officer, it said.

    It said it found no instances where retired officers with ties to military contractors "used information obtained as a result of the ... outreach program to achieve a competitive advantage for their company."

    "Of the 70 RMAs that we examined, we found that 20 (29 percent) had some type of corporate association," it said.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Pentagon finds no fault in ties to TV analysts
    Military inspector general's two-year investigation finds no wrongdoing.

    By David Barstow, New York Times
    Published 03:46 p.m., Saturday, December 24, 2011

    A Pentagon public relations program that sought to transform high-profile military analysts into “surrogates” and “message force multipliers” for the Bush administration complied with Defense Department regulations and directives, the Pentagon's inspector general has concluded after a two-year investigation.

    The inquiry was prompted by articles published in the New York Times in 2008 that described how the Pentagon, in the years after 9/11, cultivated close ties with retired officers who worked as military analysts for television and radio networks.

    The articles also showed how military analysts affiliated with military contractors sometimes used their special access to seek advantage in the competition for contracts.

    In response to the articles, the Pentagon suspended the program and members of Congress asked the Defense Department's inspector general to investigate.

    In January 2009, the inspector general's office issued a report that said it had found no wrongdoing in the program. But soon after, the inspector general's office retracted the entire report, saying it was so riddled with inaccuracies and flaws that none of its conclusions could be relied upon.

    In late 2009, the inspector general's office began a new inquiry.

    The results of the new inquiry, first reported by the Washington Times, confirm the Pentagon under Donald Rumsfeld made a concerted effort starting in 2002 to reach out to network military analysts to build and sustain public support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The inquiry found that from 2002 to 2008, Rumsfeld's Pentagon organized 147 events for 74 military analysts. These included 22 meetings at the Pentagon, 114 conference calls with generals and senior Pentagon officials and 11 Pentagon-sponsored trips to Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    Twenty of the events, according to a 35-page report of the inquiry's findings, involved Rumsfeld or the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or both.

    One retired officer, the report said, recalled Rumsfeld telling him: “You guys influence a wide range of people. We'd like to be sure you have the facts.”

    The inspector general's investigation grappled with the question of whether the outreach constituted an earnest effort to inform the public or an improper campaign of news media manipulation.

    The inquiry confirmed Rumsfeld's staff frequently provided military analysts with talking points before their network appearances.

    In some cases, the report said, military analysts “requested talking points on specific topics or issues.” One military analyst described the talking points as “bullet points given for a political purpose.” Another military analyst, the report said, told investigators the outreach program's intent “was to move everyone's mouth on TV as a sock puppet.”

    The inquiry also confirmed Rumsfeld's staff hired a company to track and analyze what the military analysts said during their media appearances. According to the report, four military analysts reported they were ejected from Rumsfeld's program “because they were critical” of the Pentagon.

    One former Pentagon official told the investigators that when Barry McCaffrey, a retired four-star Army general and NBC military analyst, “started challenging” Rumsfeld on air, he was told that Rumsfeld wanted him “immediately” removed from the invitation list because McCaffrey no longer was considered a “team player.” Rumsfeld told investigators he didn't recall the exclusion.

    But several former top aides to Rumsfeld insisted the purpose of the program merely was to inform and educate, and many of the 63 military analysts interviewed during the inquiry agreed.

    Given the conflicting accounts, the inspector general's office scrutinized 25,000 pages of documents related to the program. But except for one “unsigned, undated, draft memorandum,” investigators couldn't find any documents that described the strategy or objective of the program.

    Investigators said that to understand the program's intent, they had to rely on interviews with Rumsfeld's former public affairs aides, including his spokeswoman, Victoria Clarke.

    Based on these interviews, the report said, investigators concluded the “outreach activities were intended to serve as an open information exchange with credible third-party subject-matter experts” who could “explain military issues, actions and strategies to the American public.”
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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