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The issue is this: Mr. Levin has been trying for three years to get a government agency to criticize Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s practice of giving war briefings to retired military analysts who then appear on TV and radio.

The first Pentagon inspector general report found no wrongdoing. A separate Government Accountability Office probe said the briefings followed public relations rules. A Federal Communications Commission probe has found nothing on which to take action.

And a second Pentagon IG probe, urged by Mr. Levin, cleared the program, though its completed findings have not been released.

The Times’ Rowan Scarborough reported that Mr. Levin, through his general counsel, has had communication with the IG designed to get those findings changed.

Fox News “Special Report” did a follow-up story on Veterans Day. In a hallway interview, a network reporter buttonholed Mr. Levin, who denied he was intervening.

But the next day, Mr. Levin gave a statement to Fox reporter James Rosen, saying one of his aides has been talking to the IG to make sure it “fully addresses the allegations of impropriety.”

Some of the retired officers are asking: Isn’t the IG supposed to conduct independent investigations without political interference?