Thursday, November 28, 2013

'circumspect' journalism

Rising anger over deadly drone attacks spurred a Pakistani political party Wednesday to reveal the secret identity of what it said was the top U.S. spy in the country. It demanded he be tried for murder, another blow to already jagged relations between the two nations....
CIA spokesman Dean Boyd would not confirm the Islamabad station chief's name and declined further comment. The Associated Press is not publishing the name disclosed by Mazari because it could not verify its authenticity.
Several other news outlets, including the New York Times, The Guardian and Reuters, also declined to include the name of the CIA station chief, which had been included in the accusatory letter. Each said it did not use the name because the name could not be verified or authenticated:
Reuters removed the name referred to in the letter as it could not be independently verified. The U.S. embassy in Islamabad declined to comment.
Let me see if I've got this straight: It is OK to release the political party's letter, but not some portion of that letter. It is not OK to release the name of the person thought to be the CIA station chief and then add a line saying "Mr. Craig Osth's profession and rank (let alone his existence) could not be independently verified." It is OK to release allegations of responsibility for drone strikes (without verification perhaps), but the name that is named within those allegations is off limits?

Is this journalism? Or is it a cozy relationship based in fear?

ID found at

PTI nominates CIA Station Chief Craig Osth and CIA Director John O. Brenan in FIR

PTI nominates CIA Station Chief Craig Osth and CIA Director John O. Brenan for killing innocent civilians in Hangu drone strike ...

Maybe it's true. Maybe it's not. But the letter states what the letter states. Suggesting that allegations may be suspect is hardly beyond a journalistic capacity. But withholding those allegations out of some contrived journalistic care smacks more of fear and collusion and perhaps cowardice. The Pakistanis know what the letter said, but the outside world should not possess such information?

Would that journalism would apply the same fact-checking politesse to the statements of politicians, religions, or the various kids who claim the dog ate their homework.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this article. I'll keep posting "Craig Osth, accused of murder in Pakistan" :-)