Feb
15
2013

Are Iranian Magnets the New Aluminum Tubes?

wapowarrick

In the run up to the Iraq War, the New York Times famously reported on an Iraqi scheme to procure special aluminum tubes that could only have one purpose: Iraq's secret nuclear weapons program. The claims were false–Iraq, as it turned out, had no nuclear program–but still hugely influential.

Jan
22
2013

Sanctions Not Really Hurting Ordinary Iranians, Says Anonymous U.S. Official

Pharmacy in Iran

It's hard to be surprised by the practice of granting anonymity to U.S. officials. But it was surprising to be reassured in the Washington Post that the U.S.-led sanctions on Iran aren't really harming ordinary Iranians–based on the word of an anonymous U.S. official.

Aug
31
2012

Burying the Most Important News on Iran's Nuclear Program?

The release of a new International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran was greeted as an ominous development by some major outlets. But are they playing down what could be the most important news in the report? The IAEA's latest made it to the New York Times (8/30/12) under the headline, "Inspectors Confirm New Work by Iran at Secure Nuclear Site." Reporters David Sanger and William Broad write: Iran has installed three-quarters of the nuclear centrifuges it needs to complete a site deep underground for the production of nuclear fuel, international inspectors reported Thursday, a finding that led the White […]

Nov
15
2011

Diamonds or Bombs? WaPo Is Only Skeptical on One Side

Joby Warrick's Washington Post article (11/14/11) on the new International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran goes wrong from the first sentence: When the Cold War abruptly ended in 1991, Vyacheslav Danilenko was a Soviet weapons scientist in need of a new line of work. Well, no. Danilenko is allegedly a nuclear weapons scientist–but neither the IAEA or Warrick present any actual evidence that he was any such thing. Rather, the documents disclosed so far suggest that Danilenko is what he says he is: an expert on the use of explosions to make tiny, industrial-grade diamonds known as nanodiamonds. His […]

Nov
08
2011

Reading the Iran Nuke Leaks

When the International Atomic Energy Agency is about to release a report on an official enemy like Iran, you can be fairly confident that contents of the report–or what people believe should be in it–will be leaked to elite newspapers by anonymous sources in or near the IAEA, who will tend to make more alarming charges than the agency will eventually make in public. That started happening this weekend. At the Washington Post, Joby Warrick had a piece on Monday headlined, "Iran Close to Nuclear Capability, IAEA Says." The most telling indication of what was going on was right in […]

Feb
14
2011

Psst. . . They're Talking About Torture

The Washington Post yesterday (2/13/11): Mubarak Resignation Throws Into Question U.S./Egyptian Counterterrorism Work By Mary Beth Sheridan and Joby Warrick Washington Post Staff Writers Sunday, February 13, 2011; A01 For decades, Egypt's government has been a critical partner for U.S. intelligence agencies, sharing information on extremist groups such as al-Qaeda and working hand in glove on counterterrorism operations. Now the future of that cooperation is in question. That "work" and "cooperation" includes, among other things, rendition and torture. It'd be more helpful if this were made clear from the outset, instead of being mentioned in the 11th paragraph of the […]

Jan
27
2011

We're (Anonymously) With You! WaPo Touts U.S. Support for Arab Democracy

Now this is a head scratcher."As Arabs Protest, U.S. Speaks Up" is the headline today over a story by Scott Wilson and Joby Warrick in the Washington Post. The storyattempts to arguethat the Obama administration is backing protests in Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon–in the first two cases, regimes backed strongly by the United States (Egypt to the tune of more than $1 billion in annual military aid). As the lead puts it: The Obama administration is openly supporting the anti-government demonstrations shaking the Arab Middle East, a stance that is far less tempered than the one the president has taken […]

Apr
26
2010

Washington Post, or The Onion?

A real headline today (4/26/10) in the Washington Post: Amid Outrage Over Civilian Deaths in Pakistan, CIA Turns to Smaller Missiles The piece–by Joby Warrick and Peter Finn–has government officials (anonymously, of course) providing new assurances: The technological improvements have resulted in more accurate operations that have provoked relatively little public outrage, the officials said…. The CIA declines to publicly discuss its clandestine operations in Pakistan, and a spokesman would not comment on the kinds of weapons the agency is using. But two counterterrorism officials said in interviews that evolving technology and tactics have kept the number of civilian deaths […]