First Published: 2009-01-17

 
Pentagon clears itself of Iraq propaganda
 

Internal investigation clears Pentagon of domestic propaganda violations on Iraq war in US media.

 

Middle East Online

Would you take their word for it?

WASHINGTON - 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.

 

Islamist protesters, police clash in Cairo

New Israel party created amid rumours of early elections

French lawmakers to debate recognition of Palestine

Morocco PM to GCC investors: we are one family

Well-loved Lebanese poet dies aged 102

Jordanians protest against Israel ‘Jewish’ status law

Foreign workers will get more protection in Gulf

Oil prices nosedive in Asia after OPEC refuses to cede ground to US shale

Syria, Russia support UN in suspending Aleppo fighting

Powers to push for Iran nuclear deal before new deadline

Iraqi forces, tribesmen battle IS jihadists in Ramadi

Egypt jails 78 minors for pro-Morsi protests

OPEC meets for pivotal decision on oil output

US slams Assad regime for ‘continued slaughter’

Pope to rebuild bridges with Islamic world in Turkey visit

Regime indiscriminate strikes kill scores in Islamic State 'capital' in Syria

Putin meets with Syria Foreign Minister in Black Sea retreat of Sochi

Egypt, France agree to step up cooperation against terrorism

Britain rushes to fight terror with controversial bill

Gunmen kill 3 Egypt policemen in fresh terrorist attack

Iran lawmakers finally approve third Rouhani science minister pick

Turkey clears only suspect in alleged poisoning of former president

Huthis humiliate Al-Ahmar clan with capture of Sanaa headquarters

Christians hold out in Syria second city despite Daesh threat

Libya’s Derna emerges as new IS stronghold

Egypt to reopen Rafah border crossing Wednesday

Egypt leader begins two-day trip to France

Tribesmen blow up Yemen’s main oil pipeline

Russia trims oil output

Lebanese diva Sabah passes away

UN chief calls for halt to Libya air strikes

Syrian air strikes on Raqa kill 63 civilians

17 killed in fatal Cairo building collapse

Egypt nabs five Salafist leaders

Essebsi leads Tunisia presidential vote

Paris pushing for 'safe zones' in war-torn Syria

New air strike hits Tripoli’s sole operational airport

Pentagon chief steps down

Saudi seeks to ‘knock out’ shale oil competitors from oil market

Death toll rises from Morocco flash floods

Yemen troops free 8 hostages from Al-Qaeda

Italy hails Egypt as 'strategic partner'

US Congress skeptical of Iran nuclear talks extension

Khartoum, Darfur rebels open ceasefire talks

Time runs out for biggest chance to resolve Iran nuclear standoff