December 22, 2006

What is the Return Policy on Jamil Hussein?

Since near the beginning of Jamilgate, the Associated Press has maintained that:

...Hussein is well known to AP. We first met him, in uniform, in a police station, some two years ago. We have talked with him a number of times since then and he has been a reliable source of accurate information on a variety of events in Baghdad.

No one – not a single person – raised questions about Hussein’s accuracy or his very existence in all that time. Those questions were raised only after he was quoted by name describing a terrible attack in a neighborhood that U.S. and Iraqi forces have struggled to make safe.

The problem with the AP response, issued by none other than AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll herself, is that is it essentially states "You must trust us, because... you must trust us."

Now, exactly four weeks later, the AP has not provided a singe shred of evidence to show why we should trust them about the claimed existence of Iraqi Police Captain Jamil Hussein.

As Michelle Malkin noted last night, teams of investigators working with her, CPATT (Civilian Police Assistance Training Teams), the Iraqi Ministry of Interior (MOI), Marc Danzinger, and Eason Jordan, have all been unable to find any evidence of a Captain Jamil Hussein having ever worked at the Yarmouk or Al Khadra police stations as AP claims.

There is however, another Iraqi Police Captain in Yarmouk, and he has now been through a second round of questioning at Ministry of Interior Headquarters. This same police captain worked at both Yarmouk and Al Khadra, and his first name is Jamil. His last name, however, is not Hussein, and he denies ever having spoken with the Associated Press.

And so we are left with the official statement of the Iraqi government that Police Captain Jamil Hussein has never existed, and no one, AP or otherwsie, has shown evidence to the contrary. He is a ghost, an apparition, a Never Was.

As the AP stands silent (probably on the command of their legal department), we are forced to consider at ths point the following most-logical possibilities:

  1. Someone posing as "Iraqi Police Captain Jamil Hussein" duped the Associated Press, from stringer to executive editor, for two years using a made-up identity, or;
  2. The Associated Press made the decision prior to April of 2006 to create the pseudonym "Iraqi Police Captain Jamil Hussein," as a cover identity for one or more sources, and had that cover compromised.

If the Associated Press has been duped by an false identity for two years, it should hardly come as a surprise that they would chose not to publicly admit to this embarrassing failure of basic journalistic fact-checking, a compromise that affects the integrity of all 61 stories in which Hussein was a source that are not corroborated by non-AP accounts.

If the Associated Press decided to use a pseudonym prior to the first "Jamil Hussein sourcing", attempting to defraud the public by using a made-up identity to mask the people behind one or more other sources, they are also guilty of compromising all 61 stories in which Hussein was a source that are not corroborated by non-AP accounts, and in addition, have compromised the reputations of all 17 reporters that have bylines to stories citing Hussein as a source, two of which have been promoted to new positions, curiously enough, since Hussein's identity came into question.

Iraqi Police Captain Jamil Hussein was a named source for the Associated Press on 61 stories published between April 24 and November 26 of this year. AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll claims he was a well know AP source for two years. She and AP international editor John Daniszewski, newly-minted Baghdad News Editor Kim Gamel, and brand new Assistant Chief of Middle East News Patrick Quinn have had 29 days to prove Police Captain Jamil Hussein exists, and they have failed, utterly.

I propose that the AP and others in the news business—and make no mistake, it is a business—incorporate a version of the 30-day return policy so common to other businesses.

If a news organization cannot provide physical proof of a disputed story of stories, or the basic existence of sources within 30 days, they should then produce a full retraction of their story of stories using that source, and finance a third-party independent investigation into why their reporting methodology failed to come up with the evidence that should have been needed to take a story to press in the first place. Doing this would ensure that methodological failures can be addressed and lessons learned to keep these kind of failures from repeating in the future.

You've had 29 days to prove your case, AP, and you've failed, utterly.

You've got 24 hours, then I think we're entitled to at least one retraction, and perhaps as many as 61.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at December 22, 2006 02:16 PM | TrackBack

Those questions were raised only after he was quoted by name describing a terrible attack in a neighborhood that U.S. and Iraqi forces have struggled to make safe.

The AP completely misses the point. When you are caught in a lie, everything you have stated previously comes into question. The questions weren't raised 'only' after he was quoted by name. They were raised when it was discovered that the last story he relayed did not hold a grain of truth. Only *then* did the other stories become suspect. Upon further investigation, by intrepid bloggers, it was discovered that 61 stories were accredited to him. It was time to put up or shut up. They could have easily have stated that Jamil was his name, they had possibly been duped and then investigated on their own. Instead they offered evasive responses. Being a 'global' organization I guess they feel there is no one with enough clout to fact-check them. They couldn't be more wrong.

Posted by: Dan Irving at December 22, 2006 02:35 PM


Please allow me to prosecute the case against the AP (and the Ministry of Media as a whole), because I think that of the two theories, one one can hold water. There is absolutely NO chance, that the AP was "duped" into believing that Jamil Hussein actually existed for two years, while using him as often a sole source on events outside his district.

I believe that the "option" of allowing readers to believe that the AP was anything other than complicit in foisting a phony source on the public, is untenable based on the facts as we now know them.

1)The AP has not used their now infamous "source" 61 times for backup in reporting various alleged events, some of which give precise details in numbers, amounts and degrees....such that, not only is the underlying story in each possibly exaggerated...but entirely false in its premise.

2) The AP has made an open declaration that they have met this "source" numerous times...including in his office. Is there even the most remote chance that they would not be able to describe him in great detail...height, weight, facial hair, noticeable markings...such that they could have cued one of their comrades in the Ministry of Media to go "back them up" on his existence? Not one did.

3)Rather than attempting to develop additional sources for areas outside this particular "captain's" district, they used him to verify and AMPLIFY stories in OTHER districts. This means, that they had reason to believe that his access to detailed information was multi-district and he held such a position of authority that he not only could discuss events in other districts, but could provide otherwise unavailable details of those events. Before printing reports under those circumstances, one would need either multiple verification by additional reliable sources...or to know this source so well as to be beyond casual acquaintence level. This had to be a personal friend. He was speaking out of turn, without authority, out of district and only if you KNEW him...could you know that such information was reliable. This shows a level of intimacy, that would defy them not knowing precisely who he was.

4)17 reporters used the same fake name, utilized the same source, ...and NOT ONE questioned how he obtained his information, how he knew about details in events outside his district, how he was allowed to speak about them without clearance and ....what his real name was?

And these are "investigative" reporters? And not ONE...questioned how this one lonely police captain was privy to such intimate details?

5)After THIS event, in which four, no...I mean less than four...well, maybe one...mosque was obliterated...well, severely, ....NOT ONE of these reporters was in the least bit interested to know how their "golden goose" had laid such a rotten egg? Not ONE???? And they proceed on unquestioning about the six immolated bodies? The 18 murders? There is NO inquiry. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Forget whether they "stand by their source"... they stand by the STORY. You can't be DUPED...after the fact. The STORY is utterly, wholly, completely... discredited.

6)Kathleen Carroll, in what is now a predictable stance of arrogance, dismissiveness, clandestine and ethically bankrupt that has become the response right out of the playbook for the Ministry of Media....suggests that ASKING THE an offense to the AP's long traditions and integrity...blah, blah, blah.

Stonewalling by bloviation. Then silence. And EVERY one of their comrades in arms in the leftist sitting on their hands. The silence is deafening.

The AP, Reuters, CNN, CBS, NYTimes....all of them...REPEATEDLY have gotten their hands caught in the ethics cookie jar...and the response has been universally the same. They all avoid covering the story, because they are too busy covering each other.

Advancing leftist "projections" of how things "ought to be"...even if they aren' now de rigueur. Some folks call it "fake but accurate", others call it "truthiness", I have been calling it "caricatures of truth"...but we should be calling it...a rape of our information stream.

The Ministry of Media has stormed the gates and made a successful grab at our Knowledge Management. They then proceeded to engage in a systematic Metrics Cleansing, eliminating any trace of divergent thought. And proceeded to rewrite all the rules.

When cops go is not just twice the's infinitely worse....because they control the apprehension. And when they engage in a Code of Silence, whenever one of their number is caught, it makes taking them down nearly impossible.

The press are our eyes and ears and VOICE to the world. When the media goes bad...we are a nation in mortal danger. Our Ministry of Media is off the charts despicable. They advance nothing but leftist causes, push World Populism, romaticize Socialism, hypercriticize America (and Israel), provide cover for leftist thugs and brutalizers and often do the bidding of our enemies. They have adopted an arrogance and lack of integrity and self-policing that approaches organized crime. They have adopted a Code of Silence that magnifies and multiplies the evil.

There is no more time and no more room for allowing the "option" of believing that they are merely "dupes"...who innocently adhere to a Peter, Paul and Mary lovefest view of the world.

They are raping our information stream, they are doing so willingly and believe they are above reproach. There is no other option. They are out to change our system of any means necessary. They are and have been lying to us with impunity.

It is imperative that we say "no more". It is appropriate that we say "no more". And by all that is right and is TIME we say "no more". There are no other options.

Posted by: cfbleachers at December 22, 2006 03:59 PM

Excerpted and linked at We'll live in shame or go down in flames...

The Phantom Press Corps Song

Off we go, into the wild blue yonder,
Climbing high, into the sun,
Down we dive, spouting our lies from under
At 'em boys, give 'er the gun,
We'll live in shame, or go down in flames,
Hey! Nothing can stop the phan-tom press corps. ...

Sorry. Fuzzy flashback.

Posted by: Bill Faith at December 22, 2006 07:01 PM