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.

 

Britain remembers London bombings under shadow of Tunisia

Iran nuclear talks to continue beyond deadline

Saudi Arabia arrests 3 brothers over Kuwait mosque bombing

‘Islamic State’, between hammer of US and anvil of Syria Kurds

UN struggling to raise funds for war-torn Yemen

Syria parliament approves deal on Iran line credit

Hamas accuses Palestinian Authority of ‘torture, mass arrests’

Posters threatening gays with death appear in Ankara

Turkey detains 800 crossing from Syria illegally

French Special Forces kill senior Qaeda terrorist in Mali

HRW: Tunisia must respect freedoms in state of emergency

Deadly suicide attack targets Syria army base in Aleppo

Iran nuclear talks: World powers get back to work on new deadline day

Turkish Airlines flight makes emergency landing over bomb threat

Over 150,000 South Sudanese taking shelter in UN bases

Unrecognised government in Libya announces army reforms

Spain arrests suspected female IS group recruiter

Shebab militants target northern Kenya in deadly gun attack

Scores of lawyers willing to defend Morocco women tried over ‘provocative’ dresses

US 'intensifying' campaign against IS base in Syria

Iran nuclear talks set to miss yet another deadline

Carrot and stick as ‘Islamic State’ seeks to win over Sunni tribes

In Saudi Arabia, number of security prisoners climbs again

'Islamic State' targets Iraq town in wave of bomb attacks

A year after Gaza war, Shijaiyah still trying to recover

Egypt arrests Brotherhood members over plot to disrupt shipping at Suez Canal

Egypt reveals number of Sinai militants killed in last five days

‘Islamic State’ seizes Syria town of Ain Issa from Kurdish forces

Crunch talks to seal Iran nuclear deal begin in Vienna

Warplanes target headquarters of Saleh party in Yemen capital

7 Iraqis killed in accidental warplane bomb

Egypt to reconsider parts of anti-terrorism draft law

Morocco journalist on hunger strike in Geneva told to return home

Iran-backed bomb attack foiled in Jordan

Iran nuclear talks enter in final straight

Near Gaza Strip, Israelis live in fear behind concrete walls

Tunisia declares state of emergency after beach massacre

After Tunisia beach massacre, tourists switch to other destinations

Deadly US raids target ISIS stronghold in Syria

Concern and grief as Britain remembers 2005 terror bombings

Iran nuclear talks: Will Ministers score diplomatic success?

Erdogan moots possibility of snap election

Coalitions of Syria rebels battle regime forces in Aleppo

Lawlessness in Libya poses real danger for Tunisia

Hezbollah backs Syria army in major assault on border city