Donald Rumsfeld's retraction

The defense secretary said the U.S. has stopped planting fake stories in the Iraqi press. It hasn't.

Published February 21, 2006 7:29PM (EST)

When Charlie Rose asked Donald Rumsfeld last week about reports that the Pentagon was paying Iraqi newspapers to run favorable stories about the U.S. presence in Iraq, the secretary of defense said that he hadn't known about the program and that he had ordered it shut down as soon as he heard about it.

It's a good story, if only it were true.

After the Los Angeles Times and others pointed out that the program is still up and running, Rumsfeld was forced to acknowledge today that the program hasn't stopped after all. "It's under review," Rumsfeld said during a Pentagon press briefing. As the Associated Press reports, the man doing the reviewing is Gen. George Casey, who has declined previously to shut down the program because, he said, it is "within our authorities and the appropriate legal procedures."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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Iraq Iraq War Middle East War Room