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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://www.drudgereport.com/flashcp.htm


RUMSFELD SET UP; REPORTER PLANTED QUESTIONS WITH SOLIDER
Thu Dec 09 2004 11:49:38 ET

Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter Edward Lee Pitts is embedded with the 278th Regimental Combat Team, now in Kuwait preparing to enter Iraq, and is filing articles for his newspaper. Pitts claims in a purported email that he coached soldiers to ask Defense Secretary Rumsfeld questions!

When reached Thursday morning, various Chattanooga Times Free Press staffers offered 'no comment' on the development.

From: EDWARD LEE PITTS, MILITARY AFFAIRS
Sent: Wednesday, December 8, 2004 4:44 PM
To: Staffers

Subject: RE: Way to go

I just had one of my best days as a journalist today. As luck would have it, our journey North was delayed just long enough see I could attend a visit today here by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. I was told yesterday that only soldiers could ask questions so I brought two of them along with me as my escorts. Before hand we worked on questions to ask Rumsfeld about the appalling lack of armor their vehicles going into combat have. While waiting for the VIP, I went and found the Sgt. in charge of the microphone for the question and answer session and made sure he knew to get my guys out of the crowd.

So during the Q&A session, one of my guys was the second person called on. When he asked Rumsfeld why after two years here soldiers are still having to dig through trash bins to find rusted scrap metal and cracked ballistic windows for their Humvees, the place erupted in cheers so loud that Rumsfeld had to ask the guy to repeat his question. Then Rumsfeld answered something about it being "not a lack of desire or money but a logistics/physics problem." He said he recently saw about 8 of the special up-armored Humvees guarding Washington, DC, and he promised that they would no longer be used for that and that he would send them over here. Then he asked a three star general standing behind him, the commander of all ground forces here, to also answer the question. The general said it was a problem he is working on.

The great part was that after the event was over the throng of national media following Rumsfeld- The New York Times, AP, all the major networks -- swarmed to the two soldiers I brought from the unit I am embedded with. Out of the 1,000 or so troops at the event there were only a handful of guys from my unit b/c the rest were too busy prepping for our trip north. The national media asked if they were the guys with the armor problem and then stuck cameras in their faces. The NY Times reporter asked me to email him the stories I had already done on it, but I said he could search for them himself on the Internet and he better not steal any of my lines. I have been trying to get this story out for weeks- as soon as I foud out I would be on an unarmored truck- and my paper published two stories on it. But it felt good to hand it off to the national press. I believe lives are at stake with so many soldiers going across the border riding with scrap metal as protection. It may be to late for the unit I am with, but hopefully not for those who come after.

The press officer in charge of my regiment, the 278th, came up to me afterwords and asked if my story would be positive. I replied that I would write the truth. Then I pointed at the horde of national media pointing cameras and mics at the 278th guys and said he had bigger problems on his hands than the Chattanooga Times Free Press. This is what this job is all about - people need to know. The solider who asked the question said he felt good b/c he took his complaints to the top. When he got back to his unit most of the guys patted him on the back but a few of the officers were upset b/c they thought it would make them look bad. From what I understand this is all over the news back home.

Thanks,

Lee

EDWARD LEE PITTS FILED STORY ABOUT THE TROOPS BEFORE THE POW-WOW WITH RUMSFELD

Developing...
 

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Mystic Knight of the Sea
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Soldiers do have, and should have the freedom of speech within certain guidelines. If the soldier was asking that on his own, I have absolutely no problem with it. But, it sounds like he was entering a gray area by working with a reporter in an attempt to embarrass the govt, the military, or the Sec of Defense. That might not have been a career enhancing act.
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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If that email is legit, that reporter ought to be fired by his company.

They keep wondering why they lost the public's trust. There are too many stories like this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes it sounded a little too early to tell wednesday, but the story did sound fishy then and its starting to smell like a day old fish now.
 

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Gunco Irregular
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I agree with Pogo. Also this reporter never mentioned these circumstances in his original story he wrote about the soldier questioning Mr Rumsfeld.
 

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Class 07 FFL/SOT
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Sssssssssssnif......

Reporters.......the other"White meat." Why do let them live? NNo news....Manufacture some....what a bunch of shitbirds.....
 

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Dissenting opinion, as per usual...

Presuming the validity of this report from Drudge (he occasionally has a rather liberal attitude towards the truth), I don't see anything really wrong here. The soldiers aren't children, they're big kids. They weren't manipulated into doing something they didn't want to do. Presuming that this is true, and the reporter up-front asked the soldiers to ask the questions after he found out that the rules prevented him from asking them himself, the soldiers were free to agree or disagree to do so as they saw fit.

Really don't see what the problem is.

Don't see any problem with the reporter asking the soldiers to ask the questions.

Don't see any problem with the soldiers asking the questions, even if they had been asked by a reporter to do so.

Rather doubt the questions would have been asked without the soldier having those same two axes to grind himself. But, then, unlike some folks around here I am presuming that our soldiers are not child-like fools.

Gee, wondering how he manipulated all the other soldiers to cheer the guy for asking the question about armor for their vehicles...
 

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Cephus, don't quite understand your post, although for probably much different reasons and certainly from much different experiences I also have a rather jaundiced view of the media. Could you explain a bit what your point is?

Anyway, of course he did it for the money. Most folks do what they do for the money. Very few people will continue work in his or her profession if nobody will pay them for doing it. I don't have a problem with that.
 

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Mystic Knight of the Sea
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Dzerzhinsky said:
Dissenting opinion, as per usual...

Presuming the validity of this report from Drudge (he occasionally has a rather liberal attitude towards the truth), I don't see anything really wrong here. The soldiers aren't children, they're big kids. They weren't manipulated into doing something they didn't want to do. Presuming that this is true, and the reporter up-front asked the soldiers to ask the questions after he found out that the rules prevented him from asking them himself, the soldiers were free to agree or disagree to do so as they saw fit.

Really don't see what the problem is.
It depends on the soldier's motive for asking the question. Soldiers are prohibited from political activity when in uniform. It appears that it was more of an attempt to embarrass the govt, the military, or the Sec of Defense than it was to get an answer to something that was on his mind.

Granted, that would be difficult to prove, and I'd bet money that the military isn't so stupid as to harass him because of his actions. But, he might as well not plan on making a career out of the military. He's toast.
 

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Pogo said:
It depends on the soldier's motive for asking the question. Soldiers are prohibited from political activity when in uniform. It appears that it was more of an attempt to embarrass the govt, the military, or the Sec of Defense than it was to get an answer to something that was on his mind.
Now that, Pogo, is an excellent, excellent point.

Although I wonder about the premise. I was in the service during the 'Nam, when things were obviously pretty politically contentious. Engaging in political activity while in uniform was discouraged, but if there was an actual prohibition against engaging in political activities while in uniform, I was never told about it. And, trust me, if there was such a prohibition I was the guy they should have told about it.

Are military personnel in fact prohibited from engaging in political activities while in uniform?
 

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Mystic Knight of the Sea
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Dzerzhinsky said:
Are military personnel in fact prohibited from engaging in political activities while in uniform?

Smeg, er Dzerz,

Absolutely, soldiers are prohibited from engaging in political activity while in uniform. I was in during the same period as you of course, but it was pretty much overlooked back then. Not so now. The military would have a very difficult if not impossible case to prove that this soldier made that question for political reasons. But, I assure you it will not be overlooked when his next SEER or OER is due.
 

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Yeah, probably not the smoothest career maneuver if he was a lifer.

Although I don't know how the heck they'd ever enforce it. Seems to me that a speech and question-and-answer period by the Secretary of Defense is inherently a political activity. Are they now going to bust every soldier who was there for participating in it? Or only the one who participated in it in a manner they found annoying? Or are they going to bust Runsfeld and the folks who put it on for conspiracy to violate UCMJ prohibitions against soldiers participating in political activities?
 

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Mystic Knight of the Sea
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Dzerz,

A smart soldier that plans on making the military a career would have to use common sense under such circumstances. Some can't hold back, such as those that made public statements about Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" order.

Ya wanna survive, ya gotta go with the flow!
 
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