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'Stars and Stripes' Reports Being Part Of Pentagon Investigation.

Stars and Stripes, the independent newspaper that covers the military, is being investigated by the Defense Department as part of a probe into a Pentagon program that provides publicity for non-profit groups supporting U.S. troops, the paper reported.

In a story posted on the paper's Web site on Saturday, Stars and Stripes reported that The Defense Department Inspector General's Office "has widened its review of America Supports You [the publicity program] to include Stars and Stripes."

The story went on to say that the America Supports You probe, first disclosed in May, had been looking into whether that group had "moved money improperly."

"Since then, the review has prompted two audits, one of which is looking into American Forces Information Service and the office of the assistant secretary of Defense for public affairs, '[t]o determine whether management has established proper segregation of duties and effective internal controls'; the other is looking at how America Supports You is accomplishing its mission, according to two letters from the inspector general's office," Stars and Stripes said. It later added, "Part of the review involves looking at expenditures from Stars and Stripes for America Supports You."

The story went on to report that the paper had obtained documents indicating Stars and Stripes had awarded a $499,000 purchase agreement in July 2006 for a public relations firm to represent America Supports You.

"Stars and Stripes (S&S) requires assistance in planning ongoing national and international multimedia event campaigns and related work products for promotion its efforts to support the forces deployed including the collateral involvements with the Office of the Secretary Defense America Supports You Program," the agreement states.

Stars and Stripes' top editors said Friday that they were trying to determine why the newspaper was involved with America Support You's media strategy, the paper reported.

"This causes extreme concern among the editorial staff, and could cause readers to question our objectivity as an editorially independent newspaper -- an unacceptable situation," Executive Editor Robb Grindstaff and Managing Editor Doug Clawson said in a joint statement Friday in the paper.

The entire Stars ad Stripe story can be found at: http://stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=57164&archive=true

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Author:Strupp, Joe
Publication:Editor & Publisher
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 22, 2007
Words:367
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