Gen. David Petraeus has ordered an investigation into claims that a top Army official instructed a military team to manipulate visiting U.S. dignitaries using "psychological operations" so they would approve more resources for the Afghanistan war.
Rolling Stone reported that the command of Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, who is in charge of training Afghan troops, tried to tap members of the military's "information operations" unit to use their skills on visiting senators and congressmen, among others. The goal, according to the article, was to convince the officials to provide more troops and money.
A spokesman for Caldwell said the story was "absolutely false." Asked whether Caldwell or his staff used the psychological tactics against visiting senators, the spokesman said, "absolutely not."
Two senators also played down suggestions they were manipulated to support the war effort.
But Fox News spoke with the accuser, Lt. Col. Michael Holmes, who stood by his allegations. He said he was "badgered" for months to get information on senators and other visitors.
"It was, 'What are these people wanting from us? What is it that we can tell them that will get them to give us more resources, more people, more money ... make them vote our way in Congress' essentially?" Holmes told Fox News. He said he got a written "directive" from Caldwell's office to find out what dignitaries "did for us" and what "we need to do next time in order to make things better."
He told Fox News the military has since retaliated against him by putting out "spurious information," but stood by his claim that the military had asked his unit to do something that was "over the line." He added that the order did not come from Caldwell himself, but from his chief of staff.