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[] Noch mehr OSI-Ärger,

Noch ein paar mehr, die die OSI-Idee nicht so gut finden.

White House Angered at Plan For Pentagon Disinformation 

By Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 25, 2002; Page A17 

In a rare airing of disagreement within the Bush administration, White Hou=
se aides 
were furious about a Pentagon proposal that could have led to the feeding =
of false
stories to foreign journalists, officials said yesterday.

The Pentagon's Office of Strategic Influence was created in November to ov=
military propaganda and other information- related operations, which could=
blurred the line between public relations and covert actions.

West Wing aides "hit the ceiling" when the idea of using the office to pla=
disinformation with overseas journalists was reported by the New York Time=
s on 
Tuesday, several officials said. Bush was in Asia on a week-long mission, =
and one 
senior official said whoever leaked the story "did a tremendous disservice=
 to the 
president" by raising questions about the administration's credibility whe=
n he was 

Karen Hughes, who is Bush's counselor and oversees all the public words of=
administration, called back from Asia to ensure "that there be no change i=
n the
administration's strict policy of providing reporters with the facts," an =
official said.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday that the OSI may be ki=

"I think the person who's in charge is debating whether it should even exi=
st in its 
current form, given all the misinformation and adverse publicity that it's=
Rumsfeld said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I know they are considering what=
 to do 
about it."

As a result of the article, high-level administration officials spent much=
 of last week 
articulating the fine line between spin and deception. Several officials s=
aid they were
determined to maintain the "purity" of the information the administration =
gives to 

"The Pentagon does not lie to the American people," Rumsfeld said on NBC. =
"It does 
not lie to foreign audiences." He said he had never heard of the idea befo=
re the
news report.

Pentagon officials said the OSI was given a large budget for overseeing an=
formulating propaganda and psychological operations.

These include dropping leaflets with information about a reward for al Qae=
da leader 
Osama bin Laden, advertising for the collection of weapons of mass destruc=
and writing scripts for radio broadcasts such as one that Rumsfeld said wa=
s designed 
to "counter the lies that this was a war against the Afghan people or a wa=
r against
Muslims, which it wasn't."

Douglas J. Feith, the undersecretary of defense for policy, said at a Defe=
nse Writers 
Group breakfast on Wednesday that officials were working on guidelines for
legitimate missions for the office and that the article appeared "in the m=
idst of our 

"We're going to preserve our credibility and we're going to preserve the p=
urity of the 
statements that defense officials make to the public," Feith said. "We're =
also going
to preserve our option to mislead the enemy about our operations. And thos=
e are not 

Shortly after the attack on Afghanistan, the White House started a Coaliti=
Information Center to coordinate the war message in the United States, Bri=
tain and
Pakistan. Now the CIC is to be made permanent, with the mission of coordin=
"government-wide efforts to communicate America's message around the world=
," an 
official said.

Specifics are being worked out, but the new office is expected to promote =
a unified 
message from the White House; Pentagon; departments of Justice, State and 
Treasury; the Voice of America; the U.S. Agency for International Developm=
ent; and 
participating allies.

Jim Wilkinson, deputy White House communications director and head of the =
war room, said the administration will always keep a fire wall between pub=
lic relations
and military operations.

"The president is a plain-spoken, truthful man and he expects that same hi=
standard from every public affairs spokesperson in the government," Wilkin=
son said.

Staff writer Thomas E. Ricks contributed to this report.

                                               =A9 2002 The Washington Pos=
t Company 

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