Iraq admits cop 'exists' after weeks of angry right wing blogging
Thursday January 4, 2007
An Iraqi policeman who has been the focus of an ongoing dispute involving the Associated Press and some high-profile bloggers on the right does indeed "exist," Editor & Publisher is reporting.
Sourcing an imminent AP dispatch, E&P reports that the Iraq Interior Ministry today "acknowledged ... that an Iraqi police officer whose existence had been denied by the Iraqis and the U.S. military is in fact an active member of the force, and said he now faces arrest for speaking to the media."
A ministry spokesman who had "previously denied there was any such police employee as Capt. Jamil Hussein" admitted that Hussein indeed exists, as the AP had previously reported.
Yesterday, RAW STORY reported that conservative columnist and blogger Michelle Malkin was approved as an embedded journalist in Iraq partly to investigate the AP source, which she had questioned openly on her blog.
Malkin's initial response to the latest news today was just two short sentences.
"Checking it out," Malkin wrote. "Moving forward..."
Excerpts from the E&P piece, available here in full, follow...
The captain, whose full name is Jamil Gholaiem Hussein, was one of the sources for an AP story in late November about the burning and shooting of six people during a sectarian attack at a Sunni mosque.
The U.S. military and the Iraqi Interior Ministry raised the doubts about Hussein in questioning the veracity of the AP's initial reporting on the incident, and the Iraqi ministry suggested that many news organization were giving a distorted, exaggerated picture of the conflict in Iraq. Some Internet bloggers spread and amplified these doubts, accusing the AP of having made up Hussein's identity in order to disseminate false news about the war.
Khalaf offered no explanation Thursday for why the ministry had initially denied Hussein's existence, other than to state that its first search of records failed to turn up his full name. He also declined to say how long the ministry had known of its error and why it had made no attempt in the past six weeks to correct the public record.