No surprise, but Secretary of Defense Robert Gates – who has thus far admamently refused to honor Senate subpoenas for information issued by senior Senators Lieberman and Collins – has issued further orders of his own: in short, DONT TALK TO THE MEDIA unless the content is cleared by appropriate senior officials. For recent reporting on this important development, click here:
Reacting to news reports published in Rolling Stone about General McChrystal or his staff’s uncensored comments, Sec. Def. Gates was abundantly clear:
We have far too many people talking to the media outside of channels, sometimes providing information which is simply incorrect, out of proper context, unauthorized or uninformed by the perspective of those who are most knowledgeable.”
So much for transparency within our Federal Government and its senior Departments! Meanwhile, here at Fort Hood, PAO folks have long understood this was the clear message from Washington. Just check out any of their vanilla-bar press announcements and you know they provide virtually nothing in terms of important information. They understand the penalty for failing to comply with the recent DOD policy of nondisclousre or hide-the-ball misinformation.
For example, would you like some relevant information from the Fort Hood PAO about the current status of the Hasan case? Just try asking any of the following questions:
1. How much money has been budgeted – and already spent – on prosecuting the Hasan case?
2. How many prosecutors have been assigned from outside of Fort Hood to handle the Hasan case? At what cost? And why can’t locally-assigned prosecutors handle this case without outside assistance?
3. How much money has been spent on paying Bell County to maintain Major Hasan in pretrial confinement? What is the anticipated cost before trial?
4. What is the US Army reversal rate in death penalty cases?
5. Given Major Hasan llife-long paralysis, where would he be confined if sentenced to life wihout parole or to a death sentence?
6. What are the costs associated with death penalty appeals in the military?
7. How much money has been spent or allocated for contracts to prepare the courhouse, hospital, CID evidence offices, and Trial Defense Offices, etc. in anticipation of a court-martial?
8. On average, how much does it cost the United States Army to pursue a death penalty sentence in a court-martial?
9. What is the anticipated cost associated with the prosecution of Major Hasan if the death penalty is sought?
10. Why is the US Army not willing to take the death penalty off-the-table in the Hasan case?
12. Why has there been such an extended delay in providing defense requested information related to the case?
13. How many military personnel have been permanently or temporarily assigned to Fort Hood in order to particate in the Hasan case? Are the US Army prosecutors assigned to Fort Hood authorized to speak with media personnel? If not, why not?
We suspect the Fort Hood PAO will provide virtually no meaningful response to these or other important questions realted to the Hasan case.
In short, DOD must be pleased that its recently directly-information clampdown has already been in place at Fort Hood. Thanks to the DOD-Fort Hood PAO cone of silence, nondisclosure, and misinformation, the American public has been left in the dark about important aspects of this case! Clearly, the Fort Hood PAO already knows how to abide by the rules of silence.