Oct 20, 2006

Paperwork Missing On Iraq Propaganda Program

Maybe the Pentagon IG should ask Willem Marx for assistance with their inquiry.

A Pentagon investigation concluded this week that a multimillion-dollar U.S. military program to sway Iraqi public opinion by placing articles in Iraq's media did not violate the law, but it also found that missing documentation made oversight of parts of the program impossible.

Top U.S. commands in Iraq paid $37.3 million in three contracts to the Lincoln Group to "develop and place articles . . . to counter anti-coalition propaganda, and prevent threats to those supporting coalition efforts" from October 2004 to September 2006, according to a summary of the classified report by the Pentagon's inspector general.

The first year's $4.8 million contract did not comply with federal regulations, and inadequate documentation prevented the inspector general from determining whether it was properly awarded or executed, according to the report. The two other contracts were found to comply with the law.

"The Pentagon cannot account for millions paid to the Lincoln Group for their propaganda program and . . . basic contracting rules were not followed," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), who requested the investigation last year. "Broader policy questions remain about whether the Administration's manipulation of the news in Iraq contradicts our goal of a free and independent press there."

The Lincoln Group has since won another multimillion-dollar contract to improve U.S. military public relations in Iraq.

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