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San Jose Mercury News (mercurynews.com)
October 5, 2006

Additional 'Letters To The Editor'

NOTE: The following letters are unedited and reflect only the views of the author.

Warren P. Strobel's and William Douglas's recent article ("Pentagon study claims U.S. broadcasts to Iran aren't tough enough") is riddled with errors, starting with the first sentence. The reporters' claim-that a "Pentagon Unit has drafted a report" on U.S. radio broadcasts into Iran-is incorrect in every respect.

An individual DoD employee-because of specific language skills-was asked by an interagency committee on Iran policy to monitor and personally evaluate U.S. broadcasting into Iran. She did so. There was no "Pentagon report." The charge made that there is a "gambit" underway by the Pentagon to take control of Iranian broadcasts is simply wrong.

Unfortunately, the remainder of the article follows a similar course, insinuating repeatedly that the Pentagon is preparing for a confrontation with Iran. Again, the facts interfere with a good story. The President and Secretary of State are on a diplomatic track with Iran, and there is no daylight between their policy and the Department of Defense.

Strobel and Douglas even referenced the now-defunct Office of Special Plans, even though the myths surrounding that entity-and repeated in this article-were thoroughly discredited by the Robb-Silberman Commission and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Finally, contrary to the article's insinuations, having an Iran policy office at the Pentagon is not a mystery. In both State and Defense, the Near East bureaus have offices dealing with Iran, as well as offices dealing with policy toward every other country in the region. These Iran offices were established to support closer interagency work on Iran policy, not for imagined or nefarious purposes.

We ask that these errors be corrected.

Dorrance Smith, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Washington, D.C.

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