In a report released today, the Pentagon claims its self-investigation shows that its Bush-era attempt to manipulate news coverage by military analysts on TV was all legal and proper. Yeah, right.
Friday after 5pm is when you release stuff you want to get minimal media. The runup to Christmas is when you release the stuff you really really want to bury.
The poor Pentagon investigators were stymied by the absence of a smoking gun in the official records. (Surprise! The people running the media manipulation campaign didn’t write down their strategic objective. Maybe because they knew it was illegal?) They got nothing useful from interviews of the participants. (Amazingly not one Bush neocon, not to mention not a single retired General or Admiral, including combat veterans, broke down under gentle and long-delayed questioning from the Inspector General’s office.) It was all such a long time ago, can’t we just be friends.
This deadpan NYT report, Pentagon Finds no Fault In Its Ties to TV Analysts, just gives you such a good feeling about it all:
The report found that at least 43 of the military analysts were affiliated with defense contractors. The inspector general’s office said it asked 35 of these analysts whether their participation in the program benefited their business interests. Almost all said no. Based on these answers, the report said, investigators were unable to identify any analysts who “profited financially” from their participation in the program.
The report, however, said that these analysts may have gained “many other tangible and intangible benefits” from their special access. (Eight analysts said they believed their participation gave them better access to top Defense Department officials, for example.) The report said that a lack of clear “internal operating procedures” may have contributed to “the perception” that participation by military analysts with ties to defense contractors “provided a financial benefit.”
Not even a wrist slap.