Drudge: Reporter Planted Troop Questions for Rumsfeld

Matt Drudge:

Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter Edward Lee Pitts is embedded with the 278th Regimental Combat Team, now in Kuwait preparing to enter Iraq, and is filing articles for his newspaper. Pitts claims in a purported email that he coached soldiers to ask Defense Secretary Rumsfeld questions!

When Drudge feels the need to actually qualify something he’s reporting on with the word “purported,” my skepticism radar turns on high. Shoot, there’s not even a giant blue siren involved with this one. It would be pretty funny if this is true, though:

I just had one of my best days as a journalist today. As luck would have it, our journey North was delayed just long enough see I could attend a visit today here by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. I was told yesterday that only soldiers could ask questions so I brought two of them along with me as my escorts. Before hand we worked on questions to ask Rumsfeld about the appalling lack of armor their vehicles going into combat have. While waiting for the VIP, I went and found the Sgt. in charge of the microphone for the question and answer session and made sure he knew to get my guys out of the crowd.

Quite enterprising.

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. vdibart says:

    I don’t care if his dog told him to ask, they were still valid questions. And the answers still sucked.

  2. McGehee says:

    If the memo is legit, he created the story, and that raises the question of his credibility. In this instance, unlike Dan Rather, it’s wholly separate from the armor issue — but it’s still important.

  3. torridjoe says:

    it seems clear that Rumsfeld created it, not the reporter. Telling his soldiers that his department’s screwup was just something they had to deal with–that’s the story.

  4. Mike says:

    I’m sorry but when you say that production is maxed out, there is something wrong. Are you going to tell me no other company besides the one company making the armor can do so. I had a platoon of mechanics who could make anything – just give them the materials. My understanding is this company only ships the armor and contractors and soldiers put it on in theater. No one else can supply this? Just give these soldiers some steal plates – when it is their lives and limbs are on the line, they will come up w/ better protection than what they have. Something isn’t right here. Let me guess, the company that makes the armor has some great lobbyists in DC and contributes a lot of money to campaigns…

  5. Anjin-San says:

    Rumsfeld’s message to the troops was pretty clear… shut up and die like men. Well no one in his family has their ass on the line over there.