Pentagon Whitewash Watch

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.

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10 Responses to Pentagon Whitewash Watch

  1. Pingback: Links for 2011-12-25 | FavStocks

  2. Vic says:

    Why are you surprised or indignant about this? It’s HOW Washington works and always has been. It may not be how it’s SUPPOSED to work, but it is how is DOES work – for Bush, Obama, Clinton, and every other President. It is a natural product of having a huge and administrative government that is too big to be controlled by a single or small number of people. Systems develop to keep things moving – not necessarily good and proper ones. You must really be living in a cave to be just noticing this :-)

    (BTW, as I write this, I don’t see the one other comment that has supposedly been made. Caching problems, I presume? Linux box, Firefox.)

    • It’s nothing new. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.

      As for the comment problem, I’m about ready to tear my hair out. WP Super Cache is supposed to refresh the page when a comment is made, but instead it serves a stale copy of the “supercached” file to **unrecognized** users — which is a bug. As you are a commentator, however, you should be a *recognized* user. Yet you are not. Another bug. I can reproduce the first bug, but not the second.

  3. chris price says:

    Where’s Captain Louis Renault when we need him?

  4. jones says:

    From a March 1, 2005, interview with head of U.S. Central Command John Abizaid:

    JIM LEHRER: On the political side on the ground in Iraq, General, a lot of people predict – not a lot of people – some people predicted that if the Sunnis are not brought in, somehow into the power structure after the elections, that there could be civil war in Iraq. What’s your best intelligence on that right now?

    GEN. JOHN ABIZAID: I don’t see civil war as being on the horizon. I think a civil war is possible if everything goes exactly wrong. If people abandon the path towards a sovereign and free Iraq and start moving only towards the selfish interest of specialized groups; I don’t think that’s likely.

    • Donald Broder says:

      I think the correct diagnosis is “groupthink.” “All’s for the best in the best of all possible worlds.” The generals and their “bosses” in the Pentagon and the WH are and have been totally clueless. In the meantime, the people have sacrificed nearly 4500, mostly young, American lives, scores of thousands of injured, some for the rest of their lives, and their extended families who’ve also been dreadfully affected. We’ve poured hundreds of billions down this rathole. Given all of this, it’s not too likely that the Pentagon would really give a rat’s a** about the truth!

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