Pentagon Calls In The Flacks

It seems Washington just can't get enough PR advice these days. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently called a meeting of his "strategic communications" group to critique a "presentation on the whereabouts of terrorists around the globe." PR Week reports a dozen private-sector PR professionals "intermittently offer messaging advice to the Pentagon." According to PR Week, the presentation's purpose is to "convince someone of the need to engage 'rogue states' -- including Iraq -- that are likely to harbor terrorists." The groups includes Republican PR notable Sheila Tate, beltway lobbyists Charlie Black and Tommy Boggs, whose firm received $100,000 early this year to lobby on behalf of Saudi Arabia, and Republican spokesman cum columnist Rich Galen. Pentagon public affairs head Victoria Clarke, who used to run Hill & Knowlton's Washington DC office, is reported to have assembled the group. "They wanted to show us a declassified version of a presentation they had developed that showed where terrorist groups are situated around the world and at what stage of development those areas had weapons of mass destruction," Tate told PR Week.