More On The “Exonerating Report” That Wasn’t

ManHoldingQuestionMarkSmallCroppedIn his New York Times column yesterday, Frank Rich reminded us of a news story that more or less came and went with barely a notice, and that was the withdrawal of the Pentagon Inspector General’s report which basically “exonerated the Bush Pentagon of allegations that it violated regulations in the conduct of its Retired Military Analyst program,” as Media Matters noted here about 10 days ago.

(Also, in the case of the WaPo, there was no notice of the withdrawal in the Post’s print edition, noted by Media Matters – the “exonerating report” was issued in January…a prior post on the Pulitzer-winning story of the defense analysts written by David Barstow of the New York Times is here).

This document, from TPM Muckracker, is the official notice of the report’s withdrawal from Donald M. Horstman, Deputy Inspector General for Policy and Oversight, citing “inaccuracies in the data concerning retired military analysts’ relationships with Defense contractors”; Horstman also noted that the report “did not meet accepted quality standards for an Inspector General work product.”

That’s all well and good, but my question is this: who wrote the report?

The letter from Deputy IG Horstman lists an individual named John R. Crane, Assistant IG for Communications and Congressional Liaison, at (703) 604-8324 as the contact person (this DoD link also lists Thomas F. Gimble as the principal deputy IG – I’ll try to contact assistant IG Crane and I’ll let you know if I find out anything).

However, I have a feeling that the person who can answer my question (if he were disposed to do so) is Gordon S. Heddell, who formerly was the IG of the Department of Labor (didn’t know they had one – wonder how he “got on” with “Puffy” Chao?) before he also assumed his duty as the acting DoD IG in July last year, as noted here (and as noted here, concern over Heddell’s “split time” arrangement between the two agencies was voiced by Repug Sen. Charles Grassley).

The report that supposedly exonerated the military contractors should be the subject of a congressional hearing, and another DoD IG report should be commissioned at the earliest opportunity (yet another Bushco mess for the Obama Administration to clean up). And at the hearing, acting DoD IG Gordon Heddell should be the first person called to testify.

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