What the Experts Say
"I've interviewed Jack London many times over the years, so it was easy for me to hear his voice as I read parts of his book, Our Good Name, which will be released this week.
In it, he recounts how his company, CACI International Inc, was sucked into the frenzy surrounding the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal.
I received a reviewer's copy of the book this morning and I've only read the introduction and the epilogue along with a postscript.
We covered the scandal when it broke in 2004, following both the breaking news aspect of it and trying to provide some interpretation of what the events meant to CACI and to the industry as a whole. Here is one of the better stories we did.
As quick background, CACI and Titan Corp. were named in a leaked investigative report that implicated an employee from each company as participating in the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. While neither company nor its employees were ever charged with any wrongdoing, it took months, if not years, for the facts to come out. CACI is still battling misperceptions.
That is part of Jack's thesis ó the media did a horrible job covering the news. He forcefully lays out incident after incident where mistakes were made, and rarely, if ever, corrected. It is a trip to the woodshed.
London is also angry that no actions have been taken to investigate how a draft of a classified report was leaked.
The publication of the book is in keeping with how London and CACI approached this scandal from the start. They were very proactive in attacking what they saw as falsehoods. Titan, interestingly, took the opposite approach and declined requests for interviews when the story was hot. CACI was out front, dedicating a section of its Web site to the scandal, monitoring and responding to news stories. They even sued talk radio personality Randy Rhodes and Air America for statements she made on the air.
London's deeply sourced book has 718 footnotes, 11 appendixes and a bibliography that runs for 37 pages. One of the appendixes is a breakdown of CACI's crisis management plan, which probably should be required reading for any executive.
I'm not going to subscribe to all of London's views on the media, but I do admire how he and the company handled the crisis. I believe him when he says their goal was to get the truth out. This book is a good contribution to the discussion of the media's power as well as the role contractors play in government operations."
Nick Wakeman , Editor, Washington Technology
"How refreshing to see a company that is helping to protect our men and women in uniform defend its good name and reputation against an agenda-driven press corps that was all too quick to rush to judgment. Jack London and his research team at CACI took the time to get the facts right and document the media bias and shoddy reporting that occurred during the Abu Ghraib scandal. This book sets the record straight concerning CACIís role at the now infamous prison."
Steve Forbes, Editor-in-Chief, Forbes magazine
"This is a powerful book on the abuse of the mainstream media as much as the real story of Abu Ghraib that will be a historic part of understanding what really happenednot what the media reported for their political agenda that did great harm to Americaís role in fighting radical Islam. Thanks to CACI and CEO Jack London for telling the real story the world must know."
Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, USAF (Ret.), founder of Government Reform Through Technology and FOXNews military analyst
"An amazing chronicle of what itís like to be the main course at a media feeding frenzy. This book is an absolute must for any businessman or MBA who needs to learn how to handle a real worst-case scenario."
Dan Gainor, Director, Business & Media Institute
"When the Abu Graib scandal broke, mud was slung in all directions, irrespective of who was truly involved, and, more important, who was guilty. Civilian contractors, such as CACI, were tarred with a broad brush by the media, often called Ďtorturers.í One company, CACI, refused to take these accusations lying down. The executives decided to fight the allegations with a fact-based, public relations offensive that consumed fantastic amounts of time and energy yet which in the end were critical for the company to recover its reputation. Our Good Name, the study of the months that followed, and CACIís struggle to set the record straight, shows that while it may not be easy or convenient, a company can fight back against the media giants. Faced with biased or ill-informed reporters, CACI undertook a massive information campaign that answered every charge, every innuendo, and every false claim. Eventually the company was cleared of wrongdoing by two Defense Department investigations, but even before then, the effort to restore Our Good Name had succeeded. Our Good Name is a case study of crisis-response by management, but more important, itís an example of the fact that the truth will Ďwin outí if fought for with determination and passion."
Larry Schweikart, Professor of History, University of Dayton
All royalties donated to disabled veteransí charities,