Pentagon Clears Pentagon

The Pentagon inspector general’s report on the Pentagon Pundits scandal was released (to no one’s surprise) late on Friday. Also unsurprising were its contents–the report basically concluded that there was no serious wrongdoing, not to mention no clear idea of what constitutes “propaganda” in the first place.

The report was summarized in the New York Times (1/17/09) by David Barstow, the reporter who broke the story that led to the Pentagon whitewash. Barstow seems unimpressed with the Pentagon’s work, noting that investigators couldn’t manage to interview some key Pentagon staffers, couldn’t find evidence that any of the pundits used their Pentagon access to enrich private companies and didn’t even seem to know how to corroborate the simplest facts:

The report asserts that 43 military analysts had no affiliations with defense contractors. But its listing of analysts without ties to contractors included many with easily documented connections to them, including Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired four-star Army general and NBC military analyst.

In fact, as the Times reported in November, General McCaffrey is a paid consultant to several military contractors and sits on the boards of several others, including DynCorp, one of the nation’s largest recipients of contracts connected to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Asked why General McCaffrey was listed as having no ties to contractors, officials at the inspector generalâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s office said their “search parameters” might not have uncovered all relevant business relationships.

Those “search parameters” must have been carefully selected.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.