“The Pentagon on Tuesday shut down its short-lived “strategic information” office after media reports suggested it might be used to spread disinformation abroad.” – Reuters, Feb. 26, 2002

“Right, Sure, We’re ‘Closed,’ Gotcha,” Say Winking Employees

Washington, D.C. ( – Following Tuesday’s announcement that the Pentagon had closed the controversial Office of Strategic Influence, which allegedly was created to spread false information abroad, the agency said it has been unable to convince OSI employees to stop reporting for work.

Donald Rumsfeld
“Every time I say ‘Go home,’ they just nudge me in the ribs,” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said of the OSI staff.

“We got ya, sir, we’re ‘closed’,” said a winking Major Chad Brumley when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld found him at his desk again today. “There is no one here spreading misinformation now, and certainly there won’t be anyone here spreading misinformation daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sir.”

“How was that?” the major added in a whisper.

Rubbing his temples, a clearly frustrated Rumsfeld attempted to explain to Brumley and other staffers that the office really had been shut down. “Listen people, with all the reports circulating that we were going to use the OSI to spread false news, we had no choice but to close. So please, everyone, go home.”

“Yes sir, we’re gone, sir. No one here at all, sir!” responded information specialist Lt. Alice Ball, who then turned back to her computer.

“Look, you’re not getting this,” said Rumsfeld.

“Yes sir, we don’t get it, sir,” Ball replied. “There is no getting here, sir. We don’t do getting, and if asked, we never have, sir.”

Rumsfeld then turned to Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, who had been in charge of the office. “I don’t understand,” said Feith, shrugging. “I sent out a memo about the closure. Didn’t you people get the memo?”

“Yes sir! By which we mean, of course, no sir!” Brumley answered.

“Well, what did you do with it?” asked Feith.

“We translated it into 46 languages, and sent it to journalists in 102 nations, sir. We also had our bombers drop leaflets about it across the Middle East, sir!” said Ball.

“You didn’t,” said Rumsfeld, wincing.

“Oh… right, we didn’t sir, no sir!” said Ball. “We did not do that, sir. Nor are we having it continually broadcast from Special Operations aircraft, nor will we be having it planted on so-called ‘objective news’ sites across the Internet. Corporal Jennings will be ‘not’ be handling that end of it. Sir!”

Exasperated, Rumsfeld finally commanded the staff to stop what it was doing. “Listen up, all of you! This is not a joke, all right? Leave now and do not come back! That’s an order!”

In the stunned silence that followed, a crestfallen Corporal Jennings approached the Defense Secretary. “You… you mean it, sir? We really are closed? You’re not, you know, putting us on?”

“No, I am not kidding,” Rumsfeld said patiently. “You really are closed.”

“And the U.S. government really is not interested in propagating lies,” Feith added.

With that, a wave of relief suddenly washed over the room. “Oh good one, sir!” said Brumley as the office erupted in laughter. “You really had us going there, sir!”

“We never should have started this,” muttered Rumsfeld, throwing up his hands and walking out.

“Ooo ingenious, sir,” said Brumley. “Jennings, new disinformation! The OSI wasn’t ‘closed,’. We never even opened!”

“Yes sir, I won’t get to work on that right away, sir!”

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