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Pentagon didn’t break rules, says GAO

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Reid Wilson
The Hill
Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Department of Defense (DOD) did not violate ethics rules by encouraging retired military officers to appear on news programs as media analysts in the buildup to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new government report.

The report, requested of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) by Congress, says there is no evidence that the Pentagon attempted to conceal any outreach to former military officers, nor did it pay them for positive coverage. But, the report says, the Defense Department’s goal was obvious.

“Clearly, DOD attempted to favorably influence public opinion with respect to the [George W. Bush] administration’s war policies in Iraq and Afghanistan through the” retired military officers, wrote Daniel Gordon, GAO’s acting general counsel, in the report.

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) initially asked the GAO in May 2008 to investigate the Defense Department’s actions, following a series of articles in which The New York Times revealed a network of military analysts the Pentagon had nurtured, most of whom gave the Bush administration positive reviews in the run-up to the two wars.

Phone calls and e-mails to Feingold’s office went unreturned Tuesday.

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This article was posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 10:43 am

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