A Pentagon public relations program that used high-profile military analysts as “surrogates” and “message force multipliers” for the Bush administration complied with Defense Department regulations and directives, the Pentagon’s inspector general has concluded after a two-year investigation.
The inquiry, first reported by The Washington Times, confirms that Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld made a concerted effort beginning in 2002 to to build and sustain public support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by reaching out to network military analysts.
According to the report, four military analysts said they were ejected “because they were critical” of the Pentagon. Giving conflicting accounts, they had to rely on interviews with Rumsfeld’s former public affairs aides, insiders who said the "outreach activities" were intended as "open information exchanges." The report, however, said these analysts may have gained “many other tangible and intangible benefits” from their special access.