"U.S. military websites that pay journalists to write articles and commentary supporting military activities in Europe and Africa do not violate U.S. law or Pentagon policies," concluded the Pentagon's inspector general. The websites, the Southeast European Times (launched in 1999 by President Clinton) and Magharebia (launched in 2004 by President Bush), often use "freelance reporters hired by Anteon Corp." The U.S. military's Pacific Command in Asia and Central Command in the Middle East are also developing "regional information websites." The Pentagon inspector general's report did not address the fact that U.S. audiences, which the government is forbidden from propagandizing, can access the websites. A related investigation into Pentagon-planted stories in Iraqi newspapers, headed by Navy Rear Adm. Scott R. Van Buskirk, is expected to be completed soon.
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