CACI Official Blasts News-Press for Reporting on

An article by News-Press reporter Nathan Hamme describing the contents of a film, “Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers,” published in last week’s News-Press drew an angry letter from an executive vice president of the Arlington, Virginia-based CACI International, Inc., received at the News-Press this week. CACI is mentioned in the film for its role as a government contractor in Iraq and that was included in Hamme’s report.

In the letter to the News-Press, CACI executive vice president for corporate communications Jody Brown wrote, “Your article contains gross misrepresentations about CACI … Please be advised that CACI will not tolerate unsubstantiated speculation, bias, spin, rumors, insinuation and unfounded accusation. We will not allow anyone to recklessly besmirch the good name of this company.”

While Brown did not return follow-up calls from the News-Press, News-Press owner-editor Nicholas F. Benton commented, “I do not appreciate what appears in this letter to be a smear of my newspaper and an attempt to suppress freedom of speech through intimidation.”

“Everything in the article involved reporting on the contents of a film that is in the public domain, as well as published literature associated with it,” he added. The film was shown by the non-profit Campaign for America’s Future in Washington, D.C., last week and U.S. Senate candidate James Webb, a decorated war veteran and former Secretary of the Navy, was on hand to tout the movie prior to its showing.

The movie was directed by acclaimed filmmaker Robert Greenwald and documents the operations in Iraq since 2003 of government contractors such as Halliburton/KBR, Blackwater, Titan Corp. and CACI. In fact, CACI is much less a focus of the film than the other companies, and receives minor mention in Hamme’s report.

“The CACI letter goes to great lengths to refute claims not included in Hamme’s coverage which suggests it may have been written not in direct response to our article, but as a modified version of a more general tool of intimidation against the film, itself,” the News-Press’ Benton commented. “Seeking to set the record straight is one thing. Using the language of intimidation is another, and is unacceptable when directed against a bona fide medium of free speech.”

Concurring with Benton’s comments was Eric Lotke, research director for the Campaign for America’s future, which hosted the showing of the film, when he saw a copy of the CACI letter Tuesday. “It looks like a blanket letter, being sent to everyone,” he commented to the News-Press. “There is a lack of specific refutations.” He added that, in his view, CACI was “not as dirty” as the other companies named in the movie, but that “they were there.”

The CACI letter asserts the following, in most cases unrelated to the specific content of the News-Press article:

“No CACI employee has ever been charged with any misconduct in connection with incidents at Abu Ghraib, and no CACI employees ever appeared in any photos of detainee abuse released from Abu Ghraib…

“At CACI, our fundamental commitment to honesty, integrity, and ethics guides everything we do. CACI does not condone, endorse, or in any way abide misconduct by its employees …

“Our specialty is information technology support and secure network communications services … Interrogation services are an extension of that work, which CACI provided in August 2003 in response to an urgent request by the U.S. Army …

“The term ‘war profiteering’ connotes an extreme and undeserved level of profit. As applied to CACI, that term is a maliciously false accusation … For example, the company’s contract was not a cost-plus contract and was less than one percent of the company’s total worldwide business…

“CACI is a company of diverse and dedicated individuals…Many CACI employees believed it was within their duty to serve in Iraq, and many of them voluntarily accepted great personal risk to support the U.S. mission there …

“CACI has served our U.S. federal government for the past 45 years, through nine presidential administrations.”

The News-Press article made no mention of cost-plus contracts. On the other hand, it did refer to the film’s report of the alleged salary of the CACI CEO (reported as a combined $67 million over two years for the CEOs of CACI and Titan), which was not noted or refuted in the letter.