Saturday, February 26, 2011

Petraeus Orders Probe of Rolling Stone Allegations

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2011 – Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, will appoint an investigator to determine the facts of issues raised in a Rolling Stone magazine article that appeared today.

The article alleges that Army Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV used information operations officers in an attempt to influence distinguished visitors to his command, NATO Military Training Mission Afghanistan.

"Secretary Gates is aware of the allegations in the Rolling Stone article and believes it is important to determine what the facts are so he fully supports General Petraeus' decision to investigate this matter before drawing any conclusions," Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said today.

Caldwell’s command is responsible for training Afghan soldiers and police. Afghan and NATO plans call for Afghan security forces to take over lead responsibility for security in their nation by the end of 2014.

The investigation “is not focused on any particular person other than determining the facts and circumstances that were raised in that story,” said Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan.

The article alleges an information operations team was ordered to prepare dossiers on visiting distinguished visitors, including senators, congressional representatives and senior military officers.

Citing the pending investigation, Lapan would not comment on the specifics of the article, but speaking generally, he said, violations would depend on the circumstances.

“On the face of it, it doesn’t have to be [a violation],” he said. “It’s the actions, not just the assignment.”

What is being done with information and how it is used determines if there is a violation, the colonel said. This would be the same no matter who compiled the information, he explained, be it a public affairs officer, a protocol specialist, a legislative affairs officer or an information operations officer.

The investigation will determine what actions took place and if any of them were inappropriate or illegal, Lapan said.

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