White House concerned at reports of planted Iraq stories

December 1st, 2005  

Topic: White House concerned at reports of planted Iraq stories

Somehow this doesn't look too good. I am afraid it will come back and bite the USA in the ass.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House expressed concern on Thursday at reports that the U.S. military has secretly paid Iraqi newspapers to run dozens of pro-American articles written by a special military task force.

The Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday the program began this year and the articles were written in English, translated into Arabic and then given to Baghdad newspapers to print in return for money.

"We're very concerned about the reports. We are seeking more information from the Pentagon," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

He said Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had indicated that Pentagon officials are looking into the reports.

"We need to know what the facts are. Gen. Pace indicated it was news to him as well," McClellan said.

Sen. John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat who was defeated by Bush in the presidential election, said paying for stories undermined U.S. credibility.

"What we need are Iraqis who really believe what they're saying and say it for themselves," he said to reporters at the White House.

The Los Angeles Times said it based its story on interviews with U.S. military officials who spoke on condition of anonymity and with Iraqi newspaper employees, as well as documents it obtained.

A defense contractor, a Washington-based public relations firm called Lincoln Group, helped translate the stories and used staff or subcontractors posing as freelance journalists or advertising executives to bring them to Iraqi media outlets, the Times reported.

The Times depicted the stories as "basically factual," but said they omitted information that might not reflect well upon the United States or the U.S.-backed Iraqi government.

The newspaper also reported that the "Information Operations Task Force" in Baghdad has bought an Iraqi newspaper and taken control of a radio station, and was using them to disseminate pro-American views as well.

The Bush administration was embarrassed early this year when it was disclosed that the Education Department had paid commentator Armstrong Williams $240,000 to tout President George W. Bush's landmark education plan, "No Child Left Behind."
source: http://www.boston.com/news/nation/wa..._iraq_stories/
December 2nd, 2005  
Of all the things for these yay-hoos to be concerned with the conduct of their Army at war is the least. If they go on a witch hunt to villify the psy-ops guys doing their jobs as they should and as the CIA has done in Europe for over 60 years they should be strung up by their genitalia. Of more pressing concern should be the inability for anyone working in this administration to speak the truth and not violate any ethical guidelines.