Yesterday, Media Matters pointed out that MSNBC has repeatedly hosted NBC News military analyst and retired Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey in recent days. McCaffrey has used his appearances to criticize possible "deadlines" to the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan and highlight the importance of training the Afghan security forces. But at no point have McCaffrey or the MSNBC anchors hosting him disclosed a substantial conflict of interest McCaffrey has with regard to the U.S. government's presence in Afghanistan and focus on troop training: McCaffrey serves on the board of directors of DynCorp International -- a company under contract to provide support to U.S. bases in Afghanistan for up to five years, as well as to train a portion of those security forces McCaffrey is calling "the center of gravity of the entire war."
But DynCorp isn't the only company linked to McCaffrey that has received government contracts in Afghanistan. McCaffrey also serves on the board of directors of McNeil Technologies, a company whose "core competencies include language, intelligence, information technology, records management, and aviation services." According to the company's website, 'The Directors of McNeil Technologies bring a wealth of unparalleled experience and expertise. They are internationally recognized experts on military and business issues. Their experience, wisdom, and counsel are made available to McNeil clients." And, luckily, MSNBC viewers as well.
McNeil lists the following among the "Recent Contract Awards" posted on its website:
August 26, 2009: U.S. Army (USA) -- Army Material Command (AMC)
Subcontract to provide aviation support to LOGCAP program in Afghanistan
August 7, 2009: U. S. Central Command (CENTCOM)
Classified contract supporting CENTCOM mission in Afghanistan
May 18, 2009: U. S. Central Command (CENTCOM)
Classified IDIQ contract to support CENTCOM mission in Afghanistan
MSNBC lists McCaffrey's position with McNeil on his bio on their website, but does not note that they contract with the federal government in Afghanistan (they do note that DynCorp "provides support to the U.S. Government in countries including Afghanistan and Iraq"). In any case, very few people watching McCaffrey on MSNBC are likely to immediately rush to the MSNBC website to determine whether he has conflicts of interest. Those conflicts should be disclosed on-air every single time they host him.