Pentagon still investigation its interference in Iraq press
Iraq-USA, Politics, 12/23/2005
US Marine Lieutenant General James Conway, director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff said yesterday that there are no results yet from the investigation it is carrying into Pentagon interference with the Iraq press.
Conway said at a press conference "The investigation is still under way at this point. No conclusions that have been announced."
asked if such an operations are useful, Conway said " I think it's helpful. I think that in Iraq you don't have precisely a free press and that there is a desire to get accurate information to them. And so I think that where it's correctly, characterized, where people are able to read in the opinion page what's presented, I think it's helpful that they have the facts that are presented by the group or by MNF."
Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita added "I think that, to expand a little bit on what General Conway said, it's not so much -- I mean, I think the concern and that what MNF-I -- what the coalition forces are trying to ensure is that -- there is so much active disinformation against the coalition and against the Iraqi government generally, that they've concluded that it would be -- it is helpful that there be a venue for what they can validate as accurate, truthful information. And that's the challenge, is that they're in an environment where there's a lot of active disinformation. So they feel like at least having some channels of accurate information is worthwhile."
Di Rita said "And we'll let the investigation sort itself out as to whether or not it was -- the program was executed as intended and whether people had -- perhaps there had been transgressions of the policies -- nobody seems to -- there's no reason to believe that, but some allegations have been made, and those -- and they deserve to be reviewed, and they are being reviewed."
The US officials were asked "The secretary talked repeatedly about the fact that, you know, there's a free Iraqi media .. that is getting to the point where, you know, it's doing its thing in much the same way as we would do our thing. The fact that this Lincoln Group contract exists -- doesn't that sort of undercut his contention?"
Di Rita said " Well, some have said that. I don't know that the folks that are in Iraq who are actually implementing the program and the Iraqi public feels that way. So -- there is a burgeoning press in Iraq. I mean, there are multiple outlets for information. But that means there are multiple outlets for disinformation as well. So what we're trying to do is -- the coalition has attached value, and I know that there's -- that there is discussions with other Iraqis about whether or not this is valuable. They've attached value to -- in determining that it would be nice to have a venue where we're confident that there is some accurate information getting out there. But it is accurate also to acknowledge that there are probably over a hundred newspapers in Iraq, and God knows how many television stations and the Internet. So there's a lot of venues of information, and people -- I think it would be best to understand what the coalition's trying to do in that context, as one channel of information in an environment where there are just literally hundreds of channels of information."
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