Mr. Di Rita - I'm a writer for Salon
and am working on a piece regarding what appears to be some substantial discrepancies between your public statements about the "military analyst" program and what the DoD documents reflect.
For instance, on CNN's Reliable Sources
on April 27
, you told Howard Kurtz the following:
KURTZ: I talked to retired Colonel Bill Cowan, who was a Fox military analyst. He said that three years ago, after he criticized the war effort on "The O'Reilly Factor," he was booted off the group, was never invited to another briefing, never got another telephone call, never got another e-mail.
So it sounds like access was provided to those who weren't too critical .
DI RITA: I don't know anything. I heard -- I saw that in the story. I've heard other assertions to that effect. It was certainly not the intent. . . . So, for people to say, well, I came out and I said something wrong and they cut me off, I don't have any evidence of that . I would challenge the -- his own recollections on it.
You offered a similar denial to David Barstow for the original NYT
But the emails released by the DoD seem indisputably to prove that to be untrue. For instance, as I wrote about at Salon yesterday
), you were sent a Memorandum from Capt. Roxie T. Merritt on January 14, 2005
which described the military analyst program in exactly those terms which you now deny knowing about: namely, that it was designed to feed information and access to those analysts who "you could count on to carry our water ," that the system would "keep our most reliably friendly analysts plugged in ," that "by providing them with key and valuable information, they become the key go to guys for the networks and it begins to weed out the less reliably friendly analysts by the networks themselves "; and that they would take direction from you " because we are their bread and butter."
The same day, you replied to her email as follows: "This is a thoughtful note. . . I think it makes a lot of sense to do as you suggest and I guess I thought we were already doing a lot of this in terms of quick contact, etc. . . We ought to be doing this , though, and we should not make the list too small . . . ."
How can you deny that this was the intent of the program and further deny that you ever heard of such a thing, when you not only were told but endorsed this very framework?
I'll be happy to re-print any response to you give in full. The Salon piece on your statements will be published tomorrow