Cutouts Speak Out

"U.S. military officials in Iraq were fully aware that a Pentagon contractor regularly paid Iraqi newspapers to publish positive stories about the war, and made it clear that none of the stories should be traced to the United States, according to several current and former employees of Lincoln Group," report Mark Mazzetti and Kevin Sack. Military officials have claimed that they didn't know what the Lincoln Group was up to, but leaked documents and company employees say otherwise. "In clandestine parlance, Lincoln Group was a 'cutout' - a third party - that would provide the military with plausible deniability," said a former Lincoln Group employee. "To attribute products to [the military] would defeat the entire purpose. Hence, no product by Lincoln Group ever said 'Made in the U.S.A.'" Another employee said that Lincoln's $20 million, two-month contract in Iraq had them doing work that was largely ineffective. "It's a total waste of money," said another former Lincoln employee. "Every Iraqi can read right through it."