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WASHINGTON – The co-owner of a major Pentagon propaganda contractor publicly admitted Thursday that he was behind a series of websites used to discredit two USA TODAY journalists who had reported on the contractor.
Camille Chidiac, a minority owner of Leonie Industries, says he acted independently of the company when he created web sites and social media accounts in an effort to discredit two USA TODAY journalists.
“I take full responsibility for having some of the discussion forums opened and reproducing their previously published USA TODAY articles on them,” he said a statement released by his attorney, Lin Wood, of Atlanta.
“I recognize and deeply regret that my actions have caused concerns for Leonie and the U.S. military. This was never my intention. As an immediate corrective action, I am in the process of completely divesting my remaining minority ownership from Leonie,” Chidiac said.
Chidiac, who stepped down as president of Leonie in 2008, said he used only personal funds to create the websites using proxy services to hide his involvement. Although Chidiac has continued to represent Leonie at various conferences, the company said any involvement was “informal and unofficial.”