The official Hutton Inquiry in England is posting daily transcripts and other evidence related to its investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr. David Kelly, who died of an apparent suicide after he was identified as a source for news stories alleging that the British government "sexed up" its weapons dossier on Iraq.
"After several troops made some highly publicized negative comments to the media about the war effort in Iraq, the Pentagon has taken steps to keep the frustrations of both soldiers and their families out of reports," PR Week reports. "According to a story in the July 25 edition of Stars and Stripes, the military appears to be curtailing its much-touted embedded-journalist program, which has allowed reporters almost unfettered access to military units throughout the war and occupation.
The New Republic has interviewed an official who has read the 28 pages that the Bush administration is withholding from the recent congressional report on September 11. According to the official, the still-classified section of the report documents connections between the 9-11 terrorist attack and "the very top levels of the Saudi royal family. ... This week, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal flew to Washington for a hastily convened meeting with President Bush.
After retired diplomat Joe Wilson exposed the dishonesty of White House claims about Iraqi attempts to buy uranium in Niger, senior administration officials retaliated by outing his wife, an undercover CIA agent. Senator Charles Schumer is calling for an investigation, pointing out that it is a felony to leak a CIA agent's identity.
"As frustration over their lengthening deployment grows among troops in Iraq, soldiers are smacking head-on into limits on their public speech," writes Steve Liewer, a correspondent for the European version of Stars and Stripes magazine. Troops interviewed in Germany and Iraq say they have been briefed to refer questions to a public affairs specialist and that soldiers have been getting in trouble for speaking out. "I'm not comfortable telling you what I really think, and I'm not going to lie to you, so it's better if I just don't say anything," said one soldier.
General John Abizaid, the new chief of U.S. Central Command, has issued a threat aimed at U.S. soldiers who complain publicly about the situation in Iraq. "Some U.S. troops in Iraq have complained publicly about the uncertainty of when they are returning home," write Will Dunham and Michael Georgy. "A group of soldiers aired their concerns on U.S. television on Wednesday, speaking of poor morale and disillusionment with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
"While the administration of President George W. Bush is aggressively positioning itself as the world leader in the war on terrorism, some families of the Sept. 11 victims say that the facts increasingly contradict that script," reports Eric Boehlert. "The White House long opposed the formation of a blue-ribbon Sept. 11 commission, some say, and even now that panel is underfunded and struggling to build momentum.
"Litigation public relations discussions involving lawyers and public relations professionals are protected under attorney-client privilege, according to a ruling last week by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan," PR trade publication the Holmes Report writes. "The ruling was hailed by public relations professionals as conferring new credibility on their role and acknowledging a reality of today's legal work.
The Central Intelligence Agency classified and withheld from public release a 25-year-old joke item in a weekly terrorism report about the terrorist threat to Santa Claus, notes a new report on government secrecy. "The CIA's secret Santa" leads what the report calls a "lengthy compilation of declassified documents that illustrate the arbitrary and capricious decision making that all too often characterizes the U.S.
"Even as White House political aides plot a 2004 campaign plan designed to capitalize on the emotions and issues raised by the September 11 terror attacks," report Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball, "administration officials are waging a behind-the-scenes battle to restrict public disclosure of key events relating to the attacks.