CACI Headquarters - Arlington, VA
CACI has always been a proud defender and supporter of the freedom of speech embodied in the First Amendment. Indeed, CACI proudly supports the United States government and our military because of its strong belief in core American freedoms such as the freedom of speech. But we stand by the principle that freedom of speech does not give license to lies and hate speech. While we understand that our justice system is not one of parity, and that there is subjective interpretation among the courts which results in punishments not always fitting the crime, we fully expected that there would be some material consequence to Randi Rhodes and Air America for slandering and defaming CACI.
If the courts do not hold the media and its representatives to a standard of honesty, then who will? We hope this decision will not open the flood gates to an increased trend in, and tolerance for, reckless, destructive hate speech in America that is totally devoid of truth and which is excused, no matter how destructive, under the auspices that it is "freedom of speech."
We believe that in an earlier place in time in our country's history, the courts would have had an inverse reaction to our suit and would have upheld and more strongly defended the value of reputation, honor and honesty. We had hoped the courts would hold the media and its commentators to its own standards, as set forth in the Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics, including "Seek the Truth and Report It," "Minimize Harm" and "Be Accountable."
Our defamation suit was based on the principle that reputation is paramount and should matter to everyone. Therefore, when Randi Rhodes concocted and publicly conveyed a series of malicious lies about CACI and its employees, which continued after CACI provided verified facts and asked for an apology, CACI found it necessary to defend itself by filing a defamation lawsuit against Rhodes and Air America. It is the right of every American to defend one's honor and reputation against falsehoods, slander and defamation.
The court did not render any decision about the truth of Rhodes' statements. But the appeals court ultimately concluded that CACI's right to protect its well-earned, honorable reputation had to give way to the protections of the First Amendment, which sometimes protects liars. We believe the court missed an opportunity to put forth a decision that provided a precedent for decency and civility and integrity to accompany the right to free speech for which so many brave Americans have fought and died. We believe that, because it is a precious, hard-earned right, freedom of speech should be honored and not abused. Therefore, CACI does not believe that even a right as fundamental as the freedom of speech is an appropriate and unfettered defense against willful, vicious and intentional liars.
While freedom of speech may spare vindictive, irresponsible hate-mongering speakers from legal liability, we believe it is not a free pass to say anything, no matter how outrageous, without consequence. Rhodes' destructive agenda of engaging in character assassination through nasty vociferous commentary continued unabated even after her false diatribes against CACI, until her employer had the good sense to remove her from its airwaves. In that sense, Rhodes eventually received the consequence of her outlandish behavior even if the court's decision has shielded her from legal liability.
At CACI, we remain proud of our work to help defeat global terrorism, secure our homeland and improve government services. Our employees are dedicated, hardworking and perform their jobs with excellence and integrity. Our culture of high ethical standards continues unsurpassed. For 46 years we have been driven by a company-wide commitment to support our nation's vital national priorities and to serve as a trusted national asset.