DoD confesses that they whitewashed revelations about an info op run against us

Even whitewash does not always stick!  This post follows up two posts about a sophisticated info op run by the Dept of Defense to influence US public opinion about the Iraq War:

Fortunately for the perps, they get away free and clear — because we’re sheep.

(1)  Background about the operation

An excerpt from “Inspector at Pentagon Says Report Was Flawed“, New York Times, 6 May 2009:

In a highly unusual reversal, the Defense Department’s inspector general’s office has withdrawn a report it issued in January exonerating a Pentagon public relations program that made extensive use of retired officers who worked as military analysts for television and radio networks.

… The inspector general’s office began investigating the public relations program last year, in response to articles in The New York Times that exposed an extensive and largely hidden Pentagon campaign to transform network military analysts into “surrogates” and “message force multipliers” for the Bush administration. The articles also showed how military analysts with ties to defense contractors sometimes used their special access to seek advantage in the competition for contracts related to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The report released in January took issue with the articles. It said investigators could not find any instance where an analyst used special access “to achieve a competitive advantage for their company.” It also said there was “insufficient basis” to conclude that the program violated laws prohibiting propaganda.

The report has been the subject of controversy, with some members of Congress calling it a “whitewash” marred by obvious factual errors. For example, the report erroneously listed many military analysts as having no ties whatsoever to defense contractors. But several people who worked as aides to former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and some military analysts have cited the inspector general’s report to criticize the articles.

(2)  DoD’s confession

Memorandum to the American public from the Inspector General’s Office, released 5 May 2009:

SUBJECT:  Inspector General of the Department of Defense Report No. IE-2009-004, “Examination of Allegations Involving DoD Office of Public Affairs Outreach Program,” January 14,2009

We are withdrawing the subject report. Shortly after publishing the report on January 14, 2009, we became aware of inaccuracies in the data concerning retired military analyst (RMA) relationships with Defense contractors that appeared in Appendix K and elsewhere in the report. The discovery of those inaccuracies caused us to conduct an independent internal review of the report and its supporting documentation.

The internal review concluded that the report did not meet accepted quality standards for an Inspector General work product. It found that the methodology used to examine RMA relationships with Defense contractors (searches of pub ic websites) would not reasonably yield evidence needed to address the issue of whether the outreach program conveyed some financial advantage to RMAs who participated.

Additionally, the review noted that report findings relied, in part, on a body of testimonial evidence that was insufficient or inconclusive. In particular, former senior DoD officials who devised and managed the outreach program refused our requests for an interview. Our judgmental sample of RMAs interviewed was too small (7 out of 70 RMAs) to allow that testimonial evidence to be used to support conclusions. As a result, no conclusion can be reached in the affirmative or negative regarding the relationship of the Retired Military Analysts and potential competitive advantage.

We have determined that additional investigative work will not be undertaken to reissue the report because the RMA outreach program has been terminated and responsible senior officials are no longer employed by the Department. We are notifying you of the withdrawal of this report so that you do not continue to rely on its conclusions. The report has been removed from our website.

Should you have any questions, please contact Mr. John R. Crane, Assistant Inspector General for Communications and Congressional Liaison, at (703) 604-8324.


Please share your comments by posting below.  Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 words max), civil, and relevant to this post.  Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

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For more information from the FM site

To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar.  Of esp interest these days:

Some posts on the FM site about US info ops run against us:

  1. News from the Front: America’s military has mastered 4GW!, 2 September 2007
  2. 4GW at work in a community near you, 19 October 2007
  3. The media discover info ops, with outrage!, 22 April 2008
  4. Successful info ops, but who are the targets?, 1 May 2008
  5. “Attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable”, 8 June 2008 – About Debkafile
  6. Does reading Debkafile make us smarter, or dumber?, 15 June 2008
  7. Psywar, a core skill of the US Military (used most often on us), 26 November 2008
  8. Concrete evidence of government info ops against us, but it’s OK because we are sheep, 2 December 2008
  9. Iran’s getting the bomb, or so we’re told. Can they fool us twice?, 16 February 2009 

2 thoughts on “DoD confesses that they whitewashed revelations about an info op run against us”

  1. The reality is that the majority of Americans wanted to believe. There is no credibility in crying that they were deceived, when they went along with it willingly. They get away with it because that’s the way the system is supposed to work.

    It is a convenient system that allows Americans to think that their empire isn’t built on war and grief but is some sort of natural and moral force of nature. If the majority of Americans were really against such things there would be political capital to be made hunting it down and wiping it out. But they aren’t so there isn’t.

    That FM can rail against being swindled yet again is just another benefit of the system.
    Fabius Maximus replies: What’s your point? Should we attempt to build support for change, or (as you imply) just grin and concentrate on eating grass — like good sheep?

  2. I find it enlightening that a) an official investigation by the Inspector General’s office in practice consisted of asking teh Google and b) the Inspector General’s office is willing to publicly admit such. Surely, FM, there are implications here for your reliance on government statistics and reports in other matters?
    Fabius Maximus replies: What do you suggest? We use the Force to intuit the specific details about the world? When you get to Heavan, all statistics will be perfect!

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