He said he had not been initially aware of the clandestine program, and ordered it shut down after news outlets published details of it.
"When we heard about it, we said, 'Gee, that's not what we ought to be doing,' " Rumsfeld said Friday during a taped interview on PBS' "The Charlie Rose Show."
Rumsfeld said the contractor, Lincoln Group, and commanders in Iraq were notified of the Pentagon's concerns and ended the propaganda effort.
"They stopped doing that," he said.
An inquiry has found that an American public relations firm did not violate military policy by paying Iraqi news outlets to print positive articles, military officials said Tuesday. The finding leaves to the Defense Department the decision on whether new rules are needed to govern such activities.
Officials at the Pentagon and in Iraq said the Lincoln Group's contract remained fully in effect. The group's work, under a contract estimated at several million dollars, has included paying friendly Iraqi journalists stipends for favorable treatment.
Of course, the NY Times article doesn't make any reference to Rumsfeld's earlier remarks. That would have been, you know, work.
Personally, I think of this as just another example of a particularly pernicious sort of lie. Not a lie where you carefully consider the truth and decide to say something else, but a lie where you just don't care what the truth is and say whatever seems useful to you at the time.