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Thursday, August 07, 2003
For an example of journalism of one of the worst kinds, check out Jason Leopold's "Wolfowitz: Iraq Not Involved in 9-11, No Ties to al-Qaeda," which has appeared today on antiwar.com, CounterPunch and liberalslant.com
About the best that can be said about this article is that the title makes explicitly states Leopold's two main points, so at least his writing is clear. However, Leopold is wrong on both.
"Iraq Not Involved in 9-11"
To back up the claim that Wolfowitz effectively said this, Leopold quotes part of an interview that the deputy secretary of defense gave last Friday. Leopold writes:
In an interview with conservative radio personality Laura Ingraham, Wolfowitz was asked when he first came to believe that Iraq was behind the 9-11 terrorist attacks.Actually, according to the Department of Defense transcript of the interview, the interview was done by Nancy Collins and aired on The Laura Ingraham Show, although give Leopold credit for getting the date right and later linking to the transcript.
"I'm not sure even now that I would say Iraq had something to do with it," Wolfowitz said in the interview, aired Friday...Leopold's quotations match the transcript -where he probably got the quotes- but hear the full discussion on this topic for some more background:
Q: Now did you think right away that Iraq could have been involved in this?Nowhere does Wolfowitz say "Iraq not involved in 9-11." He does say the he isn't "sure" that such involvement happened but that is big difference from saying there was no involvement.
"No Ties to al-Qaeda"
At no point the interview, at least according to the transcript or any of the sections that Leopold quotes, did Wolfowitz say that Saddam Hussein's now deposed regime had no connection to al Qaeda. He doesn't say Saddam and those around him did or do have such ties, but he doesn't say that they didn't and Leopold's summation is a huge leap of logic, especially given what members of the Bush Administration have said. For instance, in a January 26 speech, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said, Saddam is a "dictator with clear ties to terrorist groups, including al-Qaida" but does not say that Saddam and his regime were involved in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Leopold also uses part of an interview that Wolfowitz gave Vanity Fair to bolster his story, even though the transcript of the interview shows that quote Leopold uses has been greatly taken out of context.
Leopold is no stranger to controversy. Last October salon.com retracted a story he wrote for them when Leopold was unable to substantiate a charge he made and editors also concluded that parts of the story had been plagiarized.