Rolling Stone magazine has committed a series of astonishing journalistic blunders of late:
Rolling Stone magazine has blown it again.
First it outraged New Englanders by putting a photo of the accused Boston Marathon bomber on its July 2013 cover — after the horrific terror attack that killed three people and injured more than 260 — that made him appear like a sultry, tousled-hair rock star.
But the single worst example of its blinding ineptitude was the UVA scandal:
If that wasn’t reason enough to cancel one’s subscription, now Rolling Stone has backpedaled on its story about a woman allegedly gang-raped at a Phi Kappa Psi frat party at the University of Virginia in 2012.
In a 9,000 word expose, one of Rolling Stone’s freelance writers told a story based on interviews with a female UVA student by the name of “Jackie” who claimed that seven frat boys gang-raped her.
They made one mistake. One gigantic, idiotic mistake:
Instead of fact-checking the serious allegations by doing common sense things such as interviewing the accused — or verifying if the frat party even took place — Rolling Stone ran the damning story without doing its homework. And now Rolling Stone has issued an apology.
“In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced,” Will Dana, the magazine’s managing editor, wrote on its website.
Memo to Rolling Stone: A fifth-grader would’ve done some basic fact-checking before potentially ruining men’s lives.
Hello lawsuits. This is media sloppiness at its worst.
Sloppiness indeed. There are two sides to every story. Well, not always.
The Senate Intelligence Committee today released its so-called “torture report”:
A long-awaited Senate report concludes that the CIA repeatedly misled the public, Congress and the White House about the agency’s aggressive questioning of detainees — including waterboarding, confinement in small spaces and shackling in stress positions — after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, minimizing the severity of the interrogations and exaggerating the usefulness of the information produced, including its role in setting in motion the U.S. raid that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
The Senate Intelligence Committee report finds that the “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” program escaped effective scrutiny by outsiders long after its inception in 2002, with CIA records showing that President George W. Bush was never briefed by the agency on specific techniques such as waterboarding until 2006. Top Bush administration officials such as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell were not told of the practices until September 2003.
The congressional review also says that the CIA’s actual tactics often went far beyond the terms laid out in Justice Department legal opinions, subjecting detainees to prolonged interrogation under a combination of harsh techniques and ignoring safeguards set forth in the legal memos such as ensuring that interrogators were well-trained and had high-level approvals before using the unusually aggressive tactics.
Taking a page out of the Rolling Stone playbook, Senate democrats decided not to interview any of those they were to so heavily criticize. They were not interested in both sides of the story, to which those besmirched, including some significant higher ups, took exception:
George Tenet, who was CIA director through much of the Bush administration, said the report is “biased, inaccurate, and destructive” and said it “does damage to U.S. national security, to the men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency, and most of all to the truth.”
“It is indeed a dark day for congressional oversight,” Tenet added.
CIA Director John Brennan said the agency “made mistakes” in the years after 9/11, but he rebutted the Senate Intelligence Committee’s conclusion that officials routinely misled officials in Washington.
“While we made mistakes, the record does not support the study’s inference that the agency systematically and intentionally misled each of these audiences on the effectiveness of the program,” he said.
Brennan accused lawmakers and congressional staffers, who have spent years on the analysis, of painting “an incomplete and selective picture of what occurred” by compiling the report solely from communications records and not conducting interviews.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper declined to point out faults in the report but said that rebuttal from Republicans on the Intelligence Committee offers “one example of strong alternative views” on the program.
A group of former CIA Directors and Deputy Directors had this to say:
First, its claim that the CIA’s interrogation program was ineffective in producing intelligence that helped us disrupt, capture, or kill terrorists is just not accurate. The program was invaluable in three critical ways:
• It led to the capture of senior al Qaeda operatives, thereby removing them from the battlefield.
• It led to the disruption of terrorist plots and prevented mass casualty attacks, saving American and Allied lives.
• It added enormously to what we knew about al Qaeda as an organization and therefore informed our approaches on how best to attack, thwart and degrade it.
This is the vise in which intelligence agencies found themselves:
The detention and interrogation program was formulated in the aftermath of the murders of close to 3,000 people on 9/11. This was a time when:
• We had evidence that al Qaeda was planning a second wave of attacks on the U.S.
• We had certain knowledge that bin Laden had met with Pakistani nuclear scientists and wanted nuclear weapons.
• We had reports that nuclear weapons were being smuggled into New York City.
• We had hard evidence that al Qaeda was trying to manufacture anthrax.
Jose Rodriguez, the former CIA agent who ran the interrogation program, had some reminders about what democrats said back then.
The leaders of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees and of both parties in Congress were briefed on the program more than 40 times between 2002 and 2009. But Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tried to deny that she was told in 2002 that detainees had been waterboarded. That is simply not true. I was among those who briefed her.
On May 26, 2002, Feinstein was quoted in the New York Times saying that the attacks of 9/11 were a real awakening and that it would no longer be “business as usual.” The attacks, she said, let us know “that the threat is profound” and “that we have to do some things that historically we have not wanted to do to protect ourselves.”
It would have been nice to hear exactly what she meant by that.
After extraordinary CIA efforts, aided by information obtained through the enhanced-interrogation program, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed architect of the 9/11 attacks, was captured in Pakistan. Shortly afterward, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), then the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, appeared on CNN’s “Late Edition” on March 2, 2003. Rockefeller, who had been extensively briefed about the CIA’s efforts, told Wolf Blitzer that “happily, we don’t know where [KSM] is,” adding: “He’s in safekeeping, under American protection. He’ll be grilled by us. I’m sure we’ll be proper with him, but I’m sure we’ll be very, very tough with him.”
When Blitzer asked about how KSM would be interrogated, Rockefeller assured him that “there are presidential memorandums that prescribe and allow certain measures to be taken, but we have to be careful.” Then he added: “On the other hand, he does have the information. Getting that information will save American lives. We have no business not getting that information.”
And that’s not all. Blitzer asked if the United States should turn over KSM to a friendly country with no restrictions against torture. Rockefeller, laughing, said he wouldn’t rule it out: “I wouldn’t take anything off the table where he is concerned, because this is the man who has killed hundreds and hundreds of Americans over the last 10 years.”
There is a website which seeks to rebut the one sided report. It can be found here.
The release of the Senate report was considered so potentially inflammatory that security alerts were issued for US personnel worldwide. Of course, not releasing the report would have spared all that.
May I remind my liberal colleagues of something: in 2009 Eric Holder initiated a three year investigation into EIT tactics. The investigation was dropped in 2012 with Holder ruling out prosecution.
So what was the purpose of all of this? Politics. Nothing else. I see Feinstein and her committee as Pontius Pilate, washing their hands of the responsibility in which they were so deeply steeped. And no better than the shameful editors and writers at Rolling Stone.
image courtesy of Powerline
President Barack Obama punted when asked, on Tuesday, whether he would have ordered harsh interrogation techniques if he had been in George W. Bush’s shoes after 9/11.
“I’m not gonna engage in those hypotheticals,” he said in an interview with Telemundo. “Nobody can fully understand what it was like to be responsible for the safety and security of the American people in the aftermath of the worst attack on our national soil.”