Remember back when someone liberated the Office of Special Counsel report finding Lurita Doan had violated the Hatch Act? I speculated that someone had liberated the report to prevent it from getting watered down in the review process.

I’ll bet Doan and her lawyer are pissed this report got leaked–kudosto whatever person in OPC liberated this report, which was provided toat least the WaPo and LAT. As the report notes, only President Bush canimplement the recommendation of the report, which is to fire Doan. Anybets on whether, by leaking the report, the chances are greater thatDoan will actually be canned for her illegal political activities?

Well, the propaganda has gotten so thick that now, when people liberate reports to ensure their harsh conclusions see the light of day, they tell you they are doing so. At least that’s what has happened with the GAO report finding that the Iraq effort has filed to reach most benchmarks.

A GAO spokesman declined to comment on the report before it is released. The 69-page draft, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, is still undergoing review at the Defense Department,which may ask that parts of it be classified or request changes in itsconclusions. The GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, normallysubmits its draft reports to relevant agencies for comment but makesits own final judgments. The office has published more than 100assessments of various aspects of the U.S. effort in Iraq since May2003.

The person who provided the draft report to The Post said it was beingconveyed from a government official who feared that its pessimisticconclusions would be watered down in the final version — as someofficials have said happened with security judgments in this month’sNational Intelligence Estimate on Iraq. Congress requested the GAOreport, along with an assessment of the Iraqi security forces by anindependent commission headed by retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones, toprovide a basis for comparison with the administration’s scorecard. TheJones report is also scheduled for delivery next week. [my emphasis]

So here’s the gig. There are several reports that have come and will come in in the next month. They are:

  • The Petraeus White House report.The White House tried to prevent Petraeus from briefing Congress directly, presumably because Petreaus might deviate from the script if someone asked him a tough a question. Regardless of who delivers the briefing, though, we know that the White House will actually be the one writing the report.
  • The NIE. Petraeus (or the White House?) "succeeded in havingthe security judgments [of the NIE] softened" after military officers in Baghdad balked.
  • An independent report from James Jones. Who knows how they’ll try to "soften" this report? Already, though, Anthony Cordesman has been predicting the report will deliver bad news, perhaps (as with this GAO report) to pre-empt any "softening" of the conclusions by the military.
  • This GAO report. One of the funniest things about it is Congress mandated strict up-or-down judgments of Iraq’s success at meeting benchmarks. You know–kind of like No Child Left Behind does? Well, I guess when Bush is judged in those terms, those gentleman’s C’s are not so easy to acquire, because the GAO declares Iraq to be a failure on fifteen of eighteen measures. At least that’s what this liberated version of the report says–who knows what will happen once the military buries the conclusions?

I don’t know about you. But I’m pretty convinced that we’re not getting anything but managed fluff in our September reports. And even that fluff declares Iraq a failure!



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.