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[infowar.de] Aus für's OSI
Statt eines OSI plant man nun offenbar nur ein Office for "Leaflet
February 26, 2002
Bush Seals Fate of Office of Influence in Pentagon
By ERIC SCHMITT
WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 =97 President Bush expressed alarm today
over the possible activities of a new Pentagon office intended to
influence public sentiment abroad and strongly endorsed efforts to
disband or reconfigure the agency.
When asked today whether he had ordered Defense Secretary
Donald H. Rumsfeld to close the office, Mr. Bush said, "I didn't even
need to tell him this; he knows how I feel. I saw it reflected in his
comments the other day."
Mr. Bush went on to say that he was confident that Mr. Rumsfeld
would "handle this in the right way."
Interpreting the president's remarks, a senior administration official
said, "He specifically mentioned that the office would be shut down
before it started or that its focus would be dramatically narrowed to
obvious things like leaflet campaigns."
Proposals from the new agency, the Office of Strategic Influence,
have stirred outrage in Congress and inside the administration.
Its director, Brig. Gen. Simon P. Worden of the Air Force, had
proposed that the office coordinate activities as varied as issuing
news releases and conducting secret "information warfare" in
friendly as well as unfriendly countries =97 which could include
spreading inaccurate information, military officials said.
Mr. Rumsfeld said on Sunday that the Pentagon might eliminate the
office because its credibility had been badly damaged by disclosures
of its proposed activities.
Senior military officials said today that it was now virtually certain
that the 15-person office, as currently constituted, would be
disbanded or restructured. Officials were discussing how to
incorporate its missions that had not raised opposition elsewhere in
the Pentagon bureaucracy.
The office reports to Douglas J. Feith, the undersecretary of defense
for policy. Mr. Feith was traveling in Russia today, so any final
decision about the office's fate will wait until he returns this week, a
Pentagon official said tonight.
The Office of Strategic Influence was formed after the attacks on
Sept. 11 to coordinate disparate information operations inside the
Defense Department that were intended to assist the military
overseas. Administration officials have expressed frustration that the
United States is losing public support for the war on terrorism,
especially in the Islamic world.
Senior Pentagon officials had endorsed the office's general mission,
but Mr. Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz
had not approved any of its specific, classified proposals, which had
been circulating at lower levels of the Pentagon, military officials
The office's activities, disclosed last Tuesday by The New York
Times, caused major concern among Bush administration officials
traveling with the president in Asia.
Karen P. Hughes, senior adviser to Mr. Bush, called back to aides,
and asked, "Did you know about this?" one administration official
said. The official added, "We're obviously careful about any kind of
effort to mislead the public."
Stephen J. Hadley, the deputy national security adviser, called
senior Pentagon officials to express concern about the office's
reported activities, the administration official said.
The matter also raised questions on Capitol Hill. Senator Carl Levin,
a Michigan Democrat who heads the Armed Services Committee,
sent a letter to Mr. Rumsfeld late on Friday seeking more
information about the purpose of the office.
Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company
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