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Kucinich grills Rumsfeld on 'cover up' at Tillman hearing
Michael Roston and David Edwards
Published: Wednesday August 1, 2007

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In a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on the friendly fire death of Army Specialist Pat Tillman, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) grilled former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on whether or not the White House and Pentagon had a strategy to shape press coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Was there a Department of Defense press strategy with respect to the war?" the Ohio Democrat asked.

"If there was, it obviously wasn't very good," Rumsfeld quipped back.

The Rumsfeld remark drew Kucinich's ire.

"Well you know maybe it was very good because you actually covered up the Tillman case for awhile, you covered up the Jessica Lynch case, you covered up Abu Ghraib, so something was working for you," he said. "So something was working for you."

Rumsfeld angrily denied any cover up "on this matter."

The ex-Secretary of Defense denied knowledge of any outside contractors spreading a false message to the press on Tillman's death. But he then acknowledged the existence of contacts between the Pentagon and outside contractors to shape messages related to public affairs "over the years."

In turn, Kucinich called for hearings on the subject.

"Mr. Chairman, I think it's important that the Committee determine whether or not the outsourcing of press was one of the elements responsible for communicating something to the public that seemed to be beyond the understanding of the Department of Defense," Kucinich remarked in closing.

The full exchange between the two is taken from CNN's live video webcast of the hearing.

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