"If we can't get our own people to release public documents, why should we expect the military to cooperate?" asked the Europe bureau chief of the military newspaper Stars and Stripes. He and other bureau chiefs have called on the paper's acting publisher, Max Lederer, to resign, "saying he has refused to release information on the extent of the paper's relationship with America Supports You," a Pentagon PR campaign. The Defense Department Inspector General's Office recently widened its investigation of America Supports You (ASY), which was initially focused on ASY's fundraising, to include ASY's apparent funneling of funds through Stars and Stripes. The newspaper "issued a $499,000 purchase agreement for the public relations firm Susan Davis International" for ASY work, and "awarded a $311,650 contract for Semel Media to develop and design Web sites" for ASY and the Defense Department (DOD). Stars and Stripes' managing editor echoed the bureau chiefs' concerns, saying "any involvement between Stripes and DOD public affairs that are outside the newspaper's core mission of providing editorially independent news to the troops" should be fully disclosed.
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