Iraq Info Ops Review Yields No Wrongdoing, Casey Says
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2005 A preliminary investigation of alleged improprieties conducted by U.S. military information operations activities in Iraq hasn't found any wrongdoing, the top U.S. officer in Iraq said today.
"We concluded that we were operating within our authorities and the appropriate legal procedures," Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. said from his headquarters in Iraq during a satellite news conference with Pentagon reporters.
Casey, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, was responding to a reporter's question on the status of the two-week-old review Navy Rear Adm. Scott R. Van Buskirk is conducting into U.S. information operations practices in Iraq.
The issue had been raised in a recent Los Angeles Times story alleging that articles written by U.S. forces highlighting anti-terrorist and reconstruction successes and mounting anti-insurgent sentiment in Iraq had been improperly planted in Iraqi media outlets.
The Times article also alleged that a U.S. contractor translated the articles into Arabic and paid Iraqi media outlets to run the articles.
Casey said he hasn't suspended any of the information operation processes in question, because Buskirk's review has so far provided them with a clean bill of health.
However, Casey said, the investigation isn't over and it will take another week or so to complete. Van Buskirk is a member of Casey's command.
"Scott has the direction that if at any time through the course of his investigation he comes across something that we're doing that makes him feel uncomfortable, that he should bring it directly to me and we'll evaluate it and take appropriate action," Casey said.