- Unbeliebable: White House turns Bieber petition response into immigration screed
- Obama signs law denying Iran ambassador’s visa, but says law is ‘advisory’
- Mich. judge to laughing convicted killer: ‘I hope you die in prison’
- Man charged in Kansas City-area highway shootings
- Keystone XL pipeline still on hold after State Dept. decision
- Fla. man charged with killing 16-month-old son to play Xbox undisturbed
- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
Inside the Ring: NSA under Reagan
“That’s too bad because we could have used it against them,” the president said, understanding that it would have been useful to feed disinformation to the enemy with false messages from the typewriters.
Any reporter who has interacted with the Pentagon’s public affairs bureaucracy knows the effort often can be an “Alice in Wonderland” experience.
Art Pine, a former defense reporter for the Los Angeles Times, once remarked about the Pentagon public affairs shop: “If you ask them what time it is, they’ll tell you call Switzerland because they make watches.”
Last week, the Pentagon public affairs office provided two curiously different responses to press inquiries related to an exclusive report in Inside the Ring revealing that China’s military had conducted the first test of a new and more-capable anti-satellite missile called the DN-2, on May 13.
Asked about the test, Pentagon spokeswoman Army Lt. Col. Cathy Wilkinson said in an email May 14: “We don’t have a comment on it as we don’t discuss intelligence.”
But a day later, Reuters news agency ran a nearly identical story under the headline “U.S. sees China launch as test of anti-satellite missile: Source.”
The article quoted Pentagon spokeswoman Air Force Lt. Col. Monica Matoush as saying of the Chinese missile launch: “We tracked several objects during the flight but did not observe the insertion of any objects into orbit and no objects associated with this launch remain in space.”
In that same story, a U.S. defense official was quoted as saying: “It was a ground-based missile that we believe would be their first test of an interceptor that would be designed to go after a satellite that’s actually on orbit.”
Asked how details of the DN-2 test were classified as secret intelligence matters one day and a matter for public comment the next, Col. Wilkinson said: “The day you asked me the question, the answer was no comment on intel matters. That changed the next day, and Lt. Col. Matoush responded to the new query at that time.”
Col. Wilkinson did not respond when asked why she made no effort to correct the earlier “no comment” response.
WHITE HOUSE HIDDEN HAND
Another Pulitzer Prize may be waiting for The New York Times if the newspaper does to the Obama administration what one of its reporters did to win the prize during the George W. Bush administration: Make a big deal out of nothing.
Investigative reporter David Barstow won a Pulitzer in 2009 for his story with the headline “Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand.” The report suggested that the Pentagon’s hosting of regular briefings for more than 75 retired military officers who then spoke on television was improper.
A Pentagon inspector general probe and a review by Congress’ Government Accountability Office later found no evidence of wrongdoing in the briefing affair, a point The Times has yet to report in its pages.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
- Inside the Ring: U.S. power grid defenseless from attacks
- Inside the Ring: Hagel releases cyber warfare plans to China
- Inside the Ring: North Korea missile test coming
- Inside the Ring: U.S. fears Russia planning to federalize Ukraine, alarming Congress
- Inside the Ring: Pentagon goes hypersonic with long-range rapid attack weapon
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- EDITORIAL: Mark Warner running scared?
- Justice at last: 'Evil woman' outed for grabbing girl's game ball
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- CHARLES: Holder's undermining of the law deserving of contempt
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- 'Deport Bieber' petition draws no comment from White House
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.