NBC News chief Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski aired a clip of NBC News military analyst and retired Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey's criticism of a "definitive exit strategy" from Afghanistan "with a timeline." At no point during the segment did McCaffrey, Miklaszewski, or guest anchor Lester Holt disclose McCaffrey's ties to 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 the Afghanistan National Police and the Ministry of Interior.
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NBC airs McCaffrey's criticism of timeline for withdrawal from Afghanistan, does not disclose his DynCorp ties
From the November 24 edition of NBC's Nightly News:
MIKLASZEWSKI: The Pentagon and military commanders did prevail on one critical issue: an exit strategy. The president does lay out a series of benchmarks and goals that could lead to a U.S. military withdrawal, but he does not demand a specific timetable or deadline for combat troops to get out.
McCAFFREY: There's no question that the military commander on the ground, General McChrystal, would not want a definitive exit strategy with a timeline. This would be harmful to the sense of determination with which we approach this task.
MIKLASZEWSKI: Military officials and experts alike say that the president must also be honest with the American people -- that in the short term, American casualties will rise, and even if the shooting stops, there could still be American soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan for another 10 years. Lester?
McCaffrey affiliated with DynCorp, which holds contracts with U.S. gov't in Afghanistan
McCaffrey serves on DynCorp's board. According to the firm's website, McCaffrey is a member of the board of directors of DynCorp International.
DynCorp holds contract to provide support for U.S. bases in Afghanistan for up to five years. A July 8 DynCorp press release reported that the company and its two partners had been awarded a contract with the Department of the Army to "provide existing bases within the Afghanistan South AOR [Area of Responsibility] with operations and maintenance support" for "a base year plus four one year options." The release reports that the contract is worth "$643.5 million for the one-year base period" and "a total evaluated value of $5.874 billion."
DynCorp received a $317.4 million contract with the State Department to advise Afghan National Police, Ministry of Interior. An August 5, 2008, DynCorp press release reported that the company had been awarded an 18-month, $317.4 million contract with the State Department to "provide at least 580 civilian police advisors to advise, train, and mentor the Afghanistan National Police and the Ministry of Interior."
NBC News is aware of McCaffrey's DynCorp ties and the firm's Afghanistan contract. On February 27, David Gregory introduced McCaffrey as a member of "the board of directors of DynCorp, an organization that's helping train local forces in Afghanistan." McCaffrey's bio on MSNBC's website also notes that he "has been elected to: the Board of Directors of DynCorp International."
NBC has repeatedly failed to disclose McCafferty's conflict of interest
Both MSNBC and NBC have repeatedly failed to disclose McCafferty's conflict of interest. Media Matters for America previously documented the following instances in which NBC or MSNBC programs featured McCaffrey in discussions of Afghan security forces without disclosing his ties to DynCorp:
- On the March 26 edition of MSNBC Live, McCaffrey stated that the "solution" to U.S. involvement in Afghanistan "[i]n the longer run" is to "build Afghan security forces, not for the U.S. to unilaterally fight a counterinsurgency strategy."
- On the February 25 edition of MSNBC Live, discussing with anchor Norah O'Donnell President Obama's reported decision to redeploy combat troops from Iraq within 19 months, McCaffrey stated: "By the way, another question to be decided is, What are we doing in Afghanistan? Are we there to build an Afghan security force with our NATO allies and then withdraw, or are we there to fight a counterinsurgency battle in this gigantic country?"
- During a November 27, 2008, report discussing efforts to "turn around what some military analysts are calling an eight-year stalemate," NBC's Nightly News aired a clip of McCaffrey saying, "The answer is the Afghan security forces, with 40 NATO and allied present supporting elements, but not the U.S. fighting the significant counterinsurgency battle" in Afghanistan.