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[] Aus für's OSI,

Statt eines OSI plant man nun offenbar nur ein Office for "Leaflet 
Campaigns" ... 

February 26, 2002


Bush Seals Fate of Office of Influence in Pentagon


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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