Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter Edward Lee Pitts is embedded with the 278th Regimental Combat Team, now in Kuwait preparing to enter Iraq, and is filing articles for his newspaper. Pitts claims in a purported email that he coached soldiers to ask Defense Secretary Rumsfeld questions!
When reached Thursday morning, various Chattanooga Times Free Press staffers offered 'no comment' on the development.
excerpt from the email (also from Drudge)
From: EDWARD LEE PITTS, MILITARY AFFAIRS
Sent: Wednesday, December 8, 2004 4:44 PM
Subject: RE: Way to go
I just had one of my best days as a journalist today. As luck would have it, our journey North was delayed just long enough see I could attend a visit today here by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. I was told yesterday that only soldiers could ask questions so I brought two of them along with me as my escorts. Before hand we worked on questions to ask Rumsfeld about the appalling lack of armor their vehicles going into combat have. While waiting for the VIP, I went and found the Sgt. in charge of the microphone for the question and answer session and made sure he knew to get my guys out of the crowd.
So during the Q&A session, one of my guys was the second person called on. When he asked Rumsfeld why after two years here soldiers are still having to dig through trash bins to find rusted scrap metal and cracked ballistic windows for their Humvees, the place erupted in cheers so loud that Rumsfeld had to ask the guy to repeat his question...
I am glad the question was asked - this is a deadly serious issue and frankly, the more attention it gets, the faster it will be fixed. All big bureaucracies work this way. I believe Rumsfeld acquitted himself well: "We go to war with the Army we have not the one we wish or want." At the same time, it should be known that the question was a plant.