July 12th, 2010
04:09 PM ET

Pentagon memo outlines how to deal with media on Afghanistan

A Defense Department memo obtained by CNN Monday outlines "consensus recommendations" on how the U.S. military should interact with members of the media in relation to the war in Afghanistan.

Among other things, the July 2 memo includes a recommendation of weekly briefings for Pentagon press by military officials in the field. It also calls for "consistent media engagement by our most credible interlocutors."

It cites a "need to more effectively explain and sustain public understanding of [the Afghan] mission, goals, complexities and direct relevance to national security."

In addition, it calls for increased military engagement with local and regional media outlets.

According to the memo, the recommendations were framed in part by "the understanding that key milestones" such as the July 2011 drawdown date will "frame public and decision-maker perceptions." They are also based on an "understanding that 'win-lose' terms need to be supplanted by better metrics and measurements of progress."

The memo was obtained 10 days after Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered a tightening of controls over military interaction with reporters. Military officials, he specified, are required to notify the Pentagon before
providing interviews on potentially sensitive subjects.

Gates issued his order shortly after Gen. Stanley McChrystal was relieved of his duties as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan in the wake of the publication of a Rolling Stone magazine article in which the general and his staff were quoted criticizing and mocking key administration officials.

Gates said last week that information given by military officials has too often been "lacking in proper context." Furthermore, he said, "highly classified" information has frequently been divulged without proper approval.

Gates said he concluded that "we need greater coordination and discipline" in dealing with the media.

- CNN's Barbara Starr contributed to this report

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Filed under: Pentagon
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Smith in Oregon

    Wow! Former New Jersey Superior Court Judge Napolitano turned Fox News senior judicial analyst, loudly stated that former Republican President GW Bush jr. and former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney had committed a long list of very serious crimes and should be indicted! Kidnapping, doing away with Habeas Corpus, Illegal Wiretapping, Torture were among the list rattled off and all of them are serious Federal Crimes!

    Although many of us have been repeating that charge for years during the absolutely horrific Republican Bush-Cheney administration, but coming from a former superior court judge on a very pro Bush Family values network is really stunning.

    I wonder what Laura Bush thinks about the stunning charge of multiple serious federal felonious crimes her husband committed after swearing to uphold the laws in America?

    For the Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst to make this serious charge, the man must be absolutely convinced beyond any doubt whatsoever of their legal validity. Sadly, Fox News a longtime Bush Family values supporter will likely show him the door now, perhaps CNN can get on the phone and see if former Judge Napolitano wants to work for CNN!

    July 15, 2010 at 4:20 am | Report abuse |
  2. Cyrus Howell

    During the Vietnam Conflict The Pentagon tried to assassinate The Most Decorated American Soldier of the Korean War, Anthony Herbert.
    This was very well known to 7th Special Forces, many of whom debated leaving the US military after 3 tours of Vietnam.
    These are the paycheck cashing bureaucrats, both military and civilian Americans blindly follow.
    None of them even blushed or felt ashamed at their attempted murder one of our most decorated soldiers.
    The CID assassins were in this conspiracy for pay raises and promotions.
    That is how patriotic the Pentagon are. They make fools of Americans who follow them with flags waving.

    July 14, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. smokey joe

    wow too lil to late. all soldiers know wha there suppose and not suppose to the media. just because McChrystal gave Obomer a big FU they waste there time trying to change policy

    July 14, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ronvan

    What's the problem? When you see a wreck on the road there is the "need" to see. We are now in a techo. world, where anything & everything is instantly sent to us. And WE want it! If WE were denied this "right?" all the "do-gooder" groups would be out in force yelling & screaming that it is a violation of our "rights" to see people getting killed or blown up. WE want to "know" what is going on and how we are fighting, to the extent that military leaders have been "forced" to discuss and show plans for battle, which only provides comfort & aid to our enemies, resulting in even more killings!

    July 14, 2010 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |

      Your" military leaders" are leading you around by your noses.

      July 14, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. at132pm

    Media speaking the truth too much? Not too sure about that...everything seems slanted to one political party or another with a dash of sensationalism for ratings.

    As for the second part of your post, I have no idea what you said, please explain.

    July 13, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    Propaganda! Of course.

    July 13, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bilz123

    Egypt has been re enacted to the days when Jews were salves and Musa A/s Hurling of curse Curse on Gold Bullion re created Real Bani Israel 1948 amid Quuwat Viola Nasserite Suez Canal toll charge economy.All Jews are Millionaire like G7 Professionals going for expensive holidays everywhere without having to read and write or knowledge of science and medicine.What Muslim nations need equal share of Curse of gold bullion and Toll Charges using sea water land and air space or get doomed.Probably my family and I are best trained skilled educated with Pre G8 wealth and yet
    g7 sommersaulted and put blockade to every member of my family's basic leaving.Forget about G8 education knowledge or religion they do not have even basic democracy education knowledge or democracy to give equal rights
    or share equal privelege.Their only skill is sommersaulting?I almost died for more than hour thrown into air 8 ft with bone crushed into 7 places their top judge 's decision:"I sommersaulted". amid paying a fortune for a copy of decision while they have degraded my men women folks!

    July 13, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  8. Spanglish

    NASA -“Reach out to the Muslim world”

    Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator was in the Middle East last month marking the one year anniversary of Obamas speech to the Muslim world and was interviewed by Al Jazeera Network on June 30th. When asked by the interviewer “Why are you here?” he stated the following:

    “I am here in the region; it’s sort of the first anniversary of President Barak Obama’s visit to Cairo and his speech there when he gave what has now become known as Obama’s Cairo initiative, where he announced that he wanted this to be the new beginning of the relationship between the United States and the Muslim world. When I became the NASA administrator - or before I became the NASA administrator - he charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science ... and math and engineering.”

    July 13, 2010 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  9. helenecha

    Yeah, a greater coordination and discipline can be helpful on which facts-reporting of being made with free talk by media.

    July 13, 2010 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |


    July 13, 2010 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. still laughing

    i wonder how many terrorist and terrorist-sympathizers we can get to comment on a single article *counts* ya'll are doing good so far

    July 12, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dick Tracy

      Don't wonder too hard – depends on if they're american terrorist or good terrorist.

      July 13, 2010 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
  12. Daniel-2

    Is this going to be another attempt to make NATO look good?I suppose it is.

    July 12, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Onesmallvoice

      And to think that this same news media used to lambast the Russians back in the 1980's.Where is their shame?Never mind,people who have a right-wing point of view feel no shame and that's why we have so many warmongers here blogging in.

      July 12, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Andrew Lubin

    How about if Sect Gates insists his generals and their aides don't conduct interviews while they're drinking? Funny how this minor tidbit has been overlooked by the Pentagon's race to blame the media for McC's comments.

    July 12, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |