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Is The Ghost of Jayson Blair Still at The Times?

It looks like the New York Times is up to its old tricks.... with Democrats getting the treats. Less that 2 weeks until the election they run this story...

Pentagon Reportedly Skewed C.I.A.'s View of Qaeda Tie

As recently as January 2004, a top Defense Department official misrepresented to Congress the view of American intelligence agencies about the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda, according to a new report by a Senate Democrat.

The report said a classified document prepared by Douglas J. Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy, not only asserted that there were ties between the Baghdad government and the terrorist network, but also did not reflect accurately the intelligence agencies' assessment - even while claiming that it did.

In issuing the report, the senator, Carl M. Levin, the senior Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said he would ask the panel to take "appropriate action'' against Mr. Feith. Senator Levin said Mr. Feith had repeatedly described the ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda as far more significant and extensive than the intelligence agencies had.

The broad outlines of Mr. Feith's efforts to promote the idea of such close links have been previously disclosed.

The view, a staple of the Bush administration's public statements before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, has since been discredited by the Sept. 11 commission, which concluded that Iraq and Al Qaeda had "no close collaborative relationship.''

That the 9/11 commission report had "discredited" the idea that there were ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda came as a surprise to me since Jon Henke took the time to find all the references to their ties in the commission 's report.

Still, it could come down to a matter of opinion. The quote used to back up the claim however is not a matter of opinion.

Not remembering the commission report like the reporter, Douglas Jehl did, I wanted to put the quote into context. I did not recall the words, "no close collaborative relationship'' in the report.

There was a reason for that. It's NOT in the 9/11 commission report. The words "no close collaborative relationship" were not found by a search in either the full report or the executive summary.

Wanting to confirm my Acrobat Reader was not being funny and knowing the report was in HTML all over the web, I googled, "no close collaborative relationship" and not a single page was found.

I would love to know where the reporter got that quote. I can't find it anywhere.

In summary, the reporter states a dubious claim to back up an allegation from one of the most notoriously partisan Democrats in Congress and bases it on a quote the 9/11 commission apparently never made. All 2 weeks before the election.

hmmm

Unless Douglas Jehl (or someone else) can back-up this quote, I think it is fair to wonder if the ghost of Jayson Blair is still rattling his chains at the New York Times.

(a partial explanation in the update below the fold)


Notes: I did search the 9/11 report for "collaborative relationship" and found 1 hit about Afghanistan the relation between Iraq and 9/11... A completely different animal. (Pg 65 of report) (see Update)

And I first read the quote at OTB

Lastly, perhaps the 9//11 commission said that in a context outside the final report. Even it that were the case, certainly google would have found it somewhere. It is not like the 9/11 commission did not receive amble press coverage.

Update: James Joyner in the comments say that my hit on page 61 was apparently the basis of the quote. Reading it twice I guess it might be a misquote from page 61. Either way, that was speaking about the ties between Iraq and 9/11 NOT Iraq and Al Qeada which the commission well documented. If James is correct not only was it misquoted , it was out of context.


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Comments (12)

... (Below threshold)
INBB:

An odd variant on the quote... (Below threshold)

An odd variant on the quote, to be sure. From the actual report:

"There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after Bin Ladin had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship. Two senior Bin Ladin associates have adamantly denied that any ties existed between al Qaeda and Iraq. We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States"

What we needed was a WTC 19... (Below threshold)
Al:

What we needed was a WTC 1993 Commission. There might well have been no connection _to_911_.

If Khalid Sheik Mohammed was involved there (as he's quoted saying), and was paid by the Iraqi's there, and fled to Iraq....

What more is needed?

James, I noted that...... (Below threshold)
Paul:

James, I noted that...

As you well know the ties between 9/11 and Al Qeada are 2 different fish.

did you happen to see the m... (Below threshold)

did you happen to see the most vile anti-Bush, anti-Christian article in the nyt magazine by Ron Suskind? How do these people call themselves a news organization?

Paul,Yep. I had th... (Below threshold)

Paul,

Yep. I had the quote in the articles I wrote about it for TCS and Strategic Insights--that's how I found it so fast ;)

"But to date we have seen n... (Below threshold)

"But to date we have seen no evidence that these or the earlier contacts ever developed into a collaborative operational relationship."

Again, you guys are missing the forrest for the trees... on purpose. Really, what is the scandal here, the fact that a reporter got a quote slightly wrong, or THE IRAQ WAR!!!

"Treats" to the Democrats my arse!

>What we needed was a WTC 1... (Below threshold)
DelphiGuy:

>What we needed was a WTC 1993 Commission

Interesting point....we had the lefties screaming for a 9/11 commission to find 'the truth' about 9/11.
How come no such request for the WTC in 1993? or Oklahoma City in 1995?

If I didn't know better, I would smell partisanship.

<a href="http://www.hussein... (Below threshold)
NYT lies=Dog bites man.<br ... (Below threshold)
Fred Z:

NYT lies=Dog bites man.
Please, less space to 'old news'.

"Professor" You are missing... (Below threshold)
Paul:

"Professor" You are missing the forest thru the trees. The quote was NOT about Iraq but 9/11.

Don't confuse the two... Unless that is your intent.

The last link in the post i... (Below threshold)
Tom Myers:

The last link in the post is messed-up HTML; IE may forgive this but Mozilla does not. View Source tells me that it says (substituting square for angle brackets):

the commission [a hjref="[a href="http://qando.net/archives/003626.htm]well documented.[/a]

Probably worth fixing, then deleting this comment?




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