IG: Pentagon DADT Report had “Pro-Repeal Agenda”?
The Department of Defense Inspector General recently issued a report of its investigation into the improper “leak” last fall of the DoD survey on the policy most often known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” (Ironically, the publicized IG report — available on a public website — is also annotated “For Official Use Only,” as was the leaked survey.)
The DoD IG appears to have come to the same conclusion as many critics of the report did last year: the statistics were creatively presented so as to suggest a “pro-repeal” agenda.
The report was focused on the improper leak of the survey results. The IG obtained sworn affidavits from all but 5 people who had access to the report, all saying they did not release the information. (The remaining 5 were White House staffers.) While the IG was unable to identify the leaker, it did describe his motives:
“The DoD IG report concluded that someone who ‘had a strongly emotional attachment to the issue’ and ‘likely a pro-repeal agenda’ violated security rules and leaked selected, half-true information to the Washington Post,” [Elaine Donnelly] explained.
That was the “70 percent” figure that has been discussed as the percentage of active-duty and reserve troops “not concerned about repeal of the law.”
Part of the justification for this assignment of motivation was the source’s specific use of the survey data, that is, the “70% of troops…” figure:
We considered that the primary source’s likely pro-repeal sentiment was further demonstrated by his/her inclusion of the key 70 percent figure in the information provided to the Washington Post.
Had [the source] desired to further an anti-repeal bias for the article, he/she could likewise have combined four results categories from that same survey question to conclude that “82 percent of respondents said the effect of repealing the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy would be negative, mixed or no effect.”
Of course, the characterization of the data the IG is calling “bias” was, in fact, exactly how it was portrayed within the report itself as well as to the general public (as was noted here at the time).
Another important detail has been highlighted by Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness. The IG report indicates an early draft of the report in July 2010 — before the survey was sent out to troops and their families — already indicated general support for repeal from the troops. Donnelly said this was evidence the entire survey was a sham — nothing more than using the troops as “props in a campaign” whose purpose was to generate momentum for repeal regardless of the truth.