What does it mean when the government is issuing a study of a study of studies?
May 14th, 2012
03:10 PM ET

What does it mean when the government is issuing a study of a study of studies?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Washington hard at work.

ABC News reports our government is just out with a study of a study of studies.

Try to stay with us here.

Back in 2010, Defense Secretary Robert Gates complained that his department was "awash in taskings for reports and studies." He wanted to know how much they cost.

So the Pentagon commissioned a study to find out how much it really costs to produce all those studies.

Fast forward two years: The Pentagon review was still going on - so Congress asked the government accountability office to check in on them.

Now the GAO is out with its report - and the results aren't too promising.

They found only nine studies that had been reviewed by the Pentagon review - in two years - and the military was unable to "readily retrieve documentation" for six of those nine reports.

As for how much all this costs - don't ask. The GAO says the Pentagon's approach "is not fully consistent with relevant cost estimating best practices and cost accounting standards." Meaning these are our tax dollars they can't keep track of.

Meanwhile, try understanding what these reports even say:

"GAO's cost guide states that cost estimates should include all costs, but allows flexibility for the estimates to exclude costs where information is limited as long as steps are taken to clearly define and document what costs are included or excluded."


Perhaps it should come as no surprise. Anytime anything goes wrong, or someone drops the ball in Washington, politicians like to start a study or name a commission to investigate.

The hope is that by the time the results actually come out, we've all forgotten about whatever it was in the first place.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean when the government is issuing a study of a study of studies?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Posted by
Filed under: Government • Pentagon
January 21st, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Why would the Pentagon ignore Ft. Hood shooter's ties to Islam?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Pentagon report into the massacre at Fort Hood that left 13 dead is a joke. There is no mention of the suspect's views of Islam. None.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/21/art.hasan.jpg caption="Major Nidal Hasan"]
In fact, the 86-page report doesn't even once mention Major Nidal Hasan by name. It lumps in radical Islam with other fundamentalist religious beliefs... and instead focuses on things like military personnel policies and the emergency response to the Nov. shootings.

This despite the fact that Hasan made no secret of his radical Islamic faith. He allegedly proselytized to his fellow service members and spoke out against the wars the U.S. military is waging in Muslim counties.

John Lehman, a member of the 9/11 Commission, tells Time magazine the Pentagon's silence on Islamic extremism "shows you how deeply entrenched the values of political correctness have become." The Texas Congressman whose district includes Fort Hood says this report "ignores the elephant in the room - radical Islamic terrorism is the enemy."

The Pentagon acknowledges it didn't focus so much on Hasan's motives as on "actions and effects." They say they didn't want to interfere with the criminal probe into Hasan. Garbage.

Meanwhile a new Gallup poll shows 43 percent of Americans admit to feeling at least a little prejudice toward Muslims - that's more than twice the number who feel that way about Christians, Jews and Buddhists.

The survey also finds Islam is the most negatively viewed religion - one-third of those surveyed say their opinion of Islam is "not favorable at all."

Here’s my question to you: Why would the Pentagon choose to ignore the Fort Hood shooter's ties to Islam in its report?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Fort Hood • Pentagon
August 27th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Pentagon profiling U.S. reporters?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/27/art.afghanistan0827.gi.jpg caption="U.S. soldiers from the 1st Platoon Alpha 3-71 Cavalry and Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers walk up a hill to a school during a mission in the Baraki Barak district of Logar Province, Afghanistan on August 22."]FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

(CNN) - The Pentagon is profiling reporters covering the war in Afghanistan.

The newspaper "Stars and Stripes" reports that despite denials from the Pentagon, they are in fact rating the work of reporters as either "positive", "neutral" or "negative". They're contracting this work out to a private p.r. outfit called The Rendon Group, which has come under fire before for its work in the Iraq war.

Profiles of various reporters suggest these ratings are meant to help manipulate the kinds of stories that reporters come up with while they're embedded with troops. For example, one newspaper reporter is rated as "neutral to positive" in his coverage. The report suggests any negative stories he writes "could possibly be neutralized" by feeding him quotes from military brass.

Earlier this week, the Pentagon denied a story that appeared in "Stars and Stripes” saying "There is no policy that stipulates in any way that embedding should be based in any way on a person's work". Both the Defense Department and Rendon even denied a rating system exists.

Meanwhile, this latest revelation comes as polls show the war in Afghanistan is becoming less popular among the American people. Journalism groups and media ethicists are criticizing the Pentagon's efforts to rate and manipulate reporters. One military official says "it shows utter contempt for the Constitution." And contracting the work out to a civilian firm is even more odious.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean that the Pentagon is profiling U.S. reporters?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5 p.m. to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: Pentagon