In a July 24 Defense Department public affairs briefing, Pentagon spokesman George Little (shown in photo) told DoD public affairs officers that they must increase and intensify their efforts to deal with bad news stories before the independent media and social media websites make them go viral on the Internet. (The DoD press story is here; the actual video recording of the press briefing is here.)
“When bad things happen, the American people should hear it from us, not as a scoop on the Drudge Report,” said Little, who, as assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs, is the Pentagon’s chief spokesman. “We cannot hide our bad news stories,” Little also said. “Bad news gets out one way or the other and we must come to terms with telling bad stories as well as the good.” He also stated that commanders must be open and honest with the media, and should avoid “spin,” something he said he has no taste for.
All of which sounds very positive; open and honest is good, right? However, it was apparent from Little’s response to the first question from the assembled public affairs officers that he was being less than “open and honest” with his spinning of the official line on the NSA’s illegal spying on American citizens. Public affairs officer Johnson asked (about 23:00 on the video timeline) for an official “from the horse's mouth” response as to how public affairs officers are supposed to deal with media questions about the spying/surveillance scandal.
In typical Beltway fashion, Little evaded the question with a non-answer answer that praised the NSA’s General Alexander for doing a good job (of lying to Congress and the American people). “General Alexander, I think, has done a very effective job in recent media interviews, and I think the more the NSA can talk about what it does that contributes to the nation’s security, I think that will be helpful in informing the American people…. But there’s going to be light at the end of the tunnel, but it won’t be easy…. As long as we’re straightforward and accurate — I think that’s how we have to deal with the situation.”
General Alexander, of course, and virtually all of the Obama administration’s top intelligence officials (including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and FBI Director Robert Mueller) have been repeatedly caught in lies, untruths, prevarications, and semantic dodges.
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