The Pentagon's explanation?
A Pentagon spokeswoman called me to clarify that the online chat we reference below is not officially part of what they are calling the "survey" of the troops. It is, rather, a "confidential dialogue" – "a tool developed so they could have a confidential communication between servicemembers and Westat," the group hired to run the query of the service members. She particularly wanted to note, as I already mentioned below, that this online chat dialogue was intended to help reach out to gay and lesbian service members who might not be comfortable using their DOD computers to do the actual survey (this online chat can be done any computer, including non-DOD computers).
The problem, I explained to her, is that it's particularly disturbing if the tool created to help reach out to gay and lesbian service members is potentially so corrupted that its results are rendered meaningless. We can't have a dialogue based on the honor system. They have to have a system set up that grants confidentiality but also guarantees that the same person doesn't give feedback multiple times (or just as bad, that people outside of the services (namely, the anti-gay bigots) somehow are permitted to participate in the dialogue, as I show below).
More on his survey-taking here.