Last week, ThinkProgress highlighted bios of Reps. Jim Moran (D-VA) and Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) that the Strategic Effects (STRATEFF) office of MNF-I created and distributed to U.S. troops in Iraq.The Washington Monthly’s Kevin Drum has received a response from Gen. David Petraeus’s spokesman regarding the bios:
First, the sheets of paper were open-source bio’s that were put together based on the members’ web sites and the Congressional Quarterly. Second, these bio’s were provided to those that were going to meet with the members, just as the members recieve bio’s of the key individuals they are going to meet with at their request. Third, the bio’s are only there to assist those that they are meeting with to know how in-depth and the members background knowledge based on topic area that they will be discussing.
For example, if a member is not part of the HASC or SASC, more explanations may be required on the military programs/operations than with those that are members of those committees that are more likely to be familiar with the terms of reference. As such if there is a member dealing in appropriations, those that they are meeting with will know from which direction they may approach issues and can be better prepared to respond. This is the simple thing of knowing your audience, nothing more, and to suggest otherwise is completely false.
But as ThinkProgress pointed out last week, the bios either ignored or completely misrepresented the lawmakers’ records, falsely claiming, for example, that Moran “[v]oted NO on legislation requiring the withdrawal of U S troops from Iraq within 120 days of the bill’s enactment.”