Today, after a week long bashing by Stars and Stripes Magazine, among others, the Pentagon cancels the Rendon Group's contract involving analyzing military reporters with "positive", "negative" or "neutral" connotations for their stories.
The U.S. military is canceling its contract with a controversial private firm that was producing background profiles of journalists seeking to cover the war that graded their past work as “positive,” “negative” or “neutral,” Stars and Stripes has learned.
“The Bagram Regional Contracting Center intends to execute a termination of the Media Analyst contract,” belonging to The Rendon Group, said Col. Wayne Shanks, chief of public affairs for International Security Assistance Forces–Afghanistan.
The announcement follows a week of revelations by Stars and Stripes in which military public affairs officers who served in Afghanistan said that as recently as 2008 they had used reporter profiles compiled by The Rendon Group, a private public relations firm in Washington, D.C., to decide whether to grant permission to embed with troops on the battlefield.
“The decision to terminate the Rendon contract was mine and mine alone. As the senior U.S. communicator in Afghanistan, it was clear that the issue of Rendon’s support to US forces in Afghanistan had become a distraction from our main mission,” said Rear Adm. Gregory J. Smith, in an e-mail sent Sunday to Stars and Stripes.
This truly was a curious case that was dated back to 2008, but may have begun before then. This was an interesting lesson in those who want changes to happen, but need to maintain the pressure on the right group of folks after things like this are discovered.
The one-year, $1.5 million contract was for a range of media analysis services beyond just the profiles and was just the latest contract for services it had provided the military for years. The company has a long history of contracting with the Defense Department and the CIA on controversial media projects.
The Rendon Group was also responsible for anti-saddam propaganda before the Iraq war, so it was curious that the military was still using it, this far away from that date. For more info on them, here's a link: Rendon Group