Central Planning

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is concerned that Defense Department officials have “grown lax” in how they engage members of the media (Can you say, “Rolling Stone-Gen. Stanley McChrystal saga?”). Although McChrystal and his staffers spoke to Rolling Stone through official public affairs channels, Gates has moved to strengthen the Pentagon’s oversight mechanisms for the release of information and seems to be primarily concerned about unauthorized leakers. “We have far too many people talking to the media outside of channels, sometimes providing information which is simply incorrect, out of proper context, unauthorized, or uninformed,” Gates in a July 2 memorandum to his senior defense leadership. Such loose lips, he warns, risk the release of classified information.