Journalists face 'attempt at intimidation'

WASHINGTON, April 20 (UPI) -- Journalists investigating contractors for high-priced Pentagon marketing campaigns said they were the victims of fake Twitter and Facebook accounts.

USA Today Pentagon reporter Tom Vanden Brook and his editor, Ray Locker, were also subjected to a Wikipedia entry and dozens of message-board postings and blog comments, USA Today reported Friday.


Some of the postings merely copied their reporting but others accused them of being sponsored by the Taliban.

"This is a clear attempt at intimidation that has failed," Locker said.

Vanden Brook was investigating programs for Iraq and Afghanistan that cost hundreds of millions of dollars and were criticized as ineffective and poorly monitored.

The fake Web site was created days after he first contacted the Pentagon about the campaigns.

Two weeks after Locker's byline appeared on a story, someone created a similar site,

A Pentagon spokesman said they were "not aware of any participation in such activities, nor would it be acceptable."

However, an official later confirmed that the military had made inquiries to the contractors to ask them about the Internet activity.

A source who spoke on condition of anonymity told USA Today all the contractors denied involvement.


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