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Pentagon lie machine

December 13, 2002 | Page 5

IN WAR, the first casualty is truth. And Donald Rumsfeld doesn't care who knows it.

Last year, the Pentagon announced the creation of the Office of Strategic Influence to develop, as the New York Times put it, "plans to provide news items, possibly even false ones, to foreign media organizations."

After a public furor, Rumsfeld backtracked, and the Pentagon pulled the plug on its lie machine. But at a press briefing on November 18, Rumsfeld told reporters that the Pentagon certainly hasn't given up on its work.

"Then there was the Office of Strategic Influence," Rumsfeld bragged. "You may recall that. And 'oh my goodness gracious, isn't that terrible, Henny Penny, the sky is going to fall.' I went down that next day and said, 'Fine…[y]ou can have the name, but I'm going to keep doing every single thing that needs to be done, and I have."

Among other things, what Rumsfeld and the Pentagon have "done" includes having an entire division of the Air Force transfer its bomber and fighter aircraft to other commands--so that it can focus exclusively on worldwide "information attacks."

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