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US closes ‘propaganda’ office opened under Bush regime

Washington, Apr 16 (ANI): In order to distance itself from past practices, the Obama Administration has closed down a Pentagon office responsible for coordinating US Defence Department information campaigns overseas.

The office was created in 2007 to be the central point within the vast Pentagon bureaucracy and far-flung military to coordinate the Defense Department’s overseas information efforts with the rest of the government, in particular the White House, the State Department and American embassies.

Military and civilian critics said the office, the Defence Department office for support to public diplomacy, overstepped its mandate during the final years of the Bush Administration by trying to organize information operations that violated Pentagon guidelines for accuracy and transparency.

Pentagon officials said the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for support to public diplomacy had been eliminated, with the staff members reassigned and the office closed, the New York Times reported.

Senior Pentagon officials said the decision to close the office was made by Michele A. Flournoy, the new Under Secretary of Defence for policy, and was meant to ensure that global communications efforts by the Defence Department and military would be aligned with the rest of the government.

“Because of the history of the office, we needed a fresh start in how we integrate the critical function of strategic communications across the board,” said a senior Pentagon official.

Officials said the Pentagon would now play a supporting role to the White House and the State Department in communicating government messages to foreign audiences, with the efforts no longer centralized in one place but assigned to each Pentagon policy office and regional military combatant commander. (ANI)

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