Alyssa Rosenberg is a correspondent for Government Executive:
In a revelation that could really spoil the holiday season for certain a PR firm and the former Defense department flack who sent lots of goodies its way, Wired has obtained a report from the DoD inspector general detailing seriously questionable payments from a government program called America Supports You. It turns out that Allison Barber, the former deputy assistant secretary of defense for internal communications and public liaison, shoveled almost $9 million from the program, intended to buck up troops serving overseas, to a public relations firm, Susan Davis International, run by a friend. And Barber funneled that money to Davis by transferring funds first to bank accounts of the military paper Stars & Stripes, which Barber oversaw, and then on to Davis to avoid scrutiny.
But Plank readers may remember that this isn't the first time Barber has crossed some ethical lines. While sifting through thousands of Pentagon documents, I found out that she both helped coordinate military analysts' visits to Guantanamo Bay and then redacted documents about the program. She also choreographed the 2005 question-and-answer song and dance between President Bush and troops stationed in Tikrit to make it appear that military support for the war in Iraq remained high. Barber left the Defense department two months ago.
You might also remember America Supports You from the heat it got in 2007 after one of its member groups, Operation Stand Up, had to be dissuaded from sending members of the armed forces copies of the video game "Left Behind: Eternal Forces"--which allows players to kill other characters in the name of God or the Antichrist.