The Washington Times - October 8, 2009, 12:27PM

Various conservative blogs are talking about the existence of a “blog squad” at the U.S. Justice Department. The website, the Muffled Oar writes that a blogging unit formed within the Department of Justice to counter websites with posts, articles, and user comments critical of the Obama administration.  Matthew Miller Director of Public Affair at the Justice Department told the Washington Times,:

“There is no ‘blog squad’. There is Tracy [Russo] who handles online media.  It’s the policy of the office of public affairs to not post anonymous comments.  We have not seen any evidence that anyone does post comments, and if we did have evidence of that, people would no longer work here.” 

Mr. Miller countered accusations of the existence of a “blog squad” pointing to what he says is lack of evidence. 

“I noticed, actually, that the posts don’t actually point to any evidence of anonymous comments coming from the Department of Justice, which of course, I believe you can trace.  I think it says they’ve seen an uptick.”

The Muffled Oar, first reported on the existence of such a blogging unit, writing:

“Tracy Russo is one such blogger from the campaign of John Edwards. The unit is housed in the Office of Public Affairs. Not only is the Department of Justice Blog Squad going to reach out to nontraditional media like TPM Muckraker or the Muffled Oar, but they are also tasked with fostering anonymous comments at conservative leaning blogs such as the Free Republic. They are also tasked with fostering anonymous comments, or comments under pseudonyms, at newspaper websites with stories critical of the Department of Justice, Holder and President Obama.”
National Review’s the Corner blog picked up this story from Muffled Oar on Tuesday:
“At the same time that DOJ was refusing to answer questions about its outrageous dismissal of the voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party and apparently paying government employees to post anonymous or pseudonymous comments or comments under false names attacking critics of the administration, the department declared that it was launching its new website “to increase openness and transparency in government.”

The Muffled Oar points out that Ms. Russo of the DOJ’s Public Affair’s office is a former John Edwards campaign blogger. However, Mr. Miller defends Ms. Russo’s role at DOJ saying,:

“Tracy [Russo] was hired to lead our online efforts which have been to redesign the department’s web page to lead the post into social media to use new communications tools to communicate with the American people.”

This story seems far from over. Should it be surprising web users are suspicious of a Democrat political partisan former campaign blogger who has the power of the Justice Department behind her now?  Apparently this administration still has not learned much from their past mistakes.

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