A Brookings/Harvard Forum

Press Coverage and the War on Terrorism
Assessing the Media and the Government

Wednesday, January 9, 2002


MS. VICTORIA CLARKE [Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs]: I'd make one more point. I think one thing that you hear reflected, and which I've heard a lot of. I'm the first one to tell you, I've been doing this for seven months. One thing is absolutely certain. You've got the Pentagon, for instance, 23,000 people, a couple of million people in the military, and as I think Admiral Crowe often advised his successors, there are any number of thousands of people who can and will give background briefings to reporters. And the amount of leakage and the amount of inappropriate backgrounding and leaking of classified information and information that should never have gone out has dropped considerably. That is because Secretary Rumsfeld has made it a personal campaign that he would reduce the amount of leaking of classified information by people in government and he would reduce the amount of inappropriate backgrounding of classified information.

So you have a fair number of people, not a lot, but you have a fair number of people who are going through a bit of a culture shock. There is not quite the flood of information that there has been in the past, and I will fully tell you that I believe a lot of that information was inappropriate.


Source: The Brookings Institution