So, as the New York Times has reported, the Pentagon’s Inspector General has taken the unusual step of withdrawing a report into the department’s use of retired military analysts to tout Bush administration policies on network news shows.
The report, released just days before the Bushies left office in January, found that DOD didn’t violate prohibitions on using public funds for propaganda, as part of a program that was exposed by David Barstow’s Pulitzer-winning New York Times story.
We’ve now taken a look at the memo issued yesterday by the Pentagon IG’s office, announcing that the report has been withdrawn.
And it reveals that the report’s authors — who don’t have subpoena power — were prevented from reaching solid conclusions about the program because former top Pentagon officials who engineered the program wouldn’t talk.
From the memo, by Donald Horstman, the department’s Deputy Inspector General for Policy and Oversight:
Additionally, the review noted that report findings relied, in part, on a body of testimonial evidence that was insufficient or inconclusive. In particular, former senior DoD officials who devised and managed the outreach program refused our requests for an interview. Our judgmental sample of RMAs interviewed was too small (7 out of 70 RMAs) to allow that testimonial evidence to be used to support conclusions.
Who was responsible for the flawed report (which has now been removed from the Pentagon’s website but which we still have a copy of)? It was signed by Brem Morrison, the DOD IG’s Assistant Inspector General for Inspections and Examinations. A spokesman for the IG’s office, Gary Comerford, confirmed to TPMmuckraker that Morrison is still with the department, but declined to elaborate. Morrison himself declined to comment.