On Cusp of Another WikiLeaks Document Dump, Questions About the Role Played by the Administration and the New York Times

WikiLeaks is poised to release another 15,000 secret military reports, this time about the war in Iraq. A rarely spoken context for the WikiLeaks controversy is the shared hostility of WikiLeaks and leftist Democrats toward U.S. military involvement in the world. The Make-Believe Media, most notably the New York Times and Associated Press, intentionally or inadvertently, run a smokescreen for this shared interest.

After I wrote an article illustrating the White House’s conflicting responses to WikiLeaks’ release of 76,000+ secret military Afghanistan war reports, I received an unsolicited email from someone who called herself “Sarah,” and who claimed to work for The Sunshine Press, publisher for WikiLeaks. Her return email address checked out, but I have since received no response from her to my further emails. (There is a Sarah Tisdall listed on the WikiLeaks web page.)

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“Sarah” sent me a statement, with corroborating media sources, that belies the White House line that it had no realistic opportunity to vet the documents, and brands New York Times’ reporter and White House WikiLeaks liaison Eric Schmitt as a sneaky double dealing rat fink.
WikiLeaks have consistently asserted that they offered White House officials the opportunity to review the Afghan War Diary documents to help ensure that no innocent informers were named, despite White House claims that they had no contact from the publishers.... WikiLeaks received no response.


Eric Schmitt of The New York Times spoke to the Associated Press and confirmed WikiLeaks had made this request. Schmitt stated that Julian Assange emailed him asking him to forward an offer that WikiLeaks would look at all suggestions from the International Security Assistance Force "on the identification of innocents for this material if it is willing to provide reviewers."

Despite claiming that he did forward the email to White House officials and Times editors Schmitt goes on to declare that he “certainly didn't consider this a serious and realistic offer to the White House to vet any of the documents before they were to be posted”, though why this is he does not say. In fact, at first Schmitt “dismissed Assange's claim that WikiLeaks had offered to let U.S. government officials go through leaked documents to ensure that no innocent people were identified”, before later admitting the email exchange had taken place.

Schmitt’s remarks to the AP have been picked up and printed in many other American news outlets, including CBS News, though not one has commented on his conflicting statements, or questioned why there was no reply from the White House.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_AFGHANISTAN_WIKILEAKS?SITE=CTNHR&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/07/31/ap/politics/main6731865.shtml?tag=mncol;lst;1

http://www.northjersey.com/news/080110_Informant_says_WikiLeaks_suspect_had_civilian_help.html

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_afghanistan_wikileaks

http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/07/30/1754337/white-house-urges-halt-to-spilling.html

http://m.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/19-informant-says-wikileaks-suspect-had-civilian-help-hh-03?pageDesign=mobile_detail

http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/07/31/wikileaks-suspect-civilian.html

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2010/07/31/20100731-Afghanistan-WikiLeaks-suspect-had-help-ON.html

http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/07/31/wikileaks-suspect-civilian.html?ref=rss

http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/wikileaks-suspect-had-civilian-help-20100801-110xn.html

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-07-31-army-informant-helped_N.htm?csp=34news&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:%20UsatodaycomNation-TopStories%20(News%20-%20Nation%20-%20Top%20Stories)

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The AP's reporting of Saturday, July 31, carried throughout the MBM, is confusing at best and deceptive at worst because it ineptly, or intentionally, interchanges the timing sequence of significant events. Using a calendar and critical reading skills to untangle the AP’s twisted reporting reveals the following timeline, a timeline that also supports WikiLeaks’ claim:

  1. Friday afternoon, July 23: White House spokesman Tommy Vietor says it was “absolutely unequivocally not true” that WikiLeaks had invited White House help in editing the secret war records. Vietor’s emphatic denial seems nonsensical because at this point in time (Friday afternoon, July 23rd) WikiLeaks hadn’t yet proffered its invite-to-edit.

  2. Friday night, July 23: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs privately asks Eric Schmitt to relay a request that WikiLeaks not publish information that could endanger people in the region. Schmitt relayed that request via email some time later that same night.

  3. Saturday, July 24: Responding to Schmitt’s email, WikiLeaks tenders its invitation to the White House to redact identifying information. WikiLeaks also reveals it was withholding an additional 15,000 documents for review and would consider recommendations "on the identification on innocents.” We don’t know when Schmitt got WikiLeaks’ email, but he sent it over to the White House and the NYT.

  4. The White House ignores the new WikiLeaks’ invitation to redact information.

  5. Sunday, July 25: WikiLeaks posts 75,000+ secret Afghanistan military reports and fallout ensues.

  6. Saturday, July 31: The AP presents a jumbled sequence of these events, which goes viral throughout the MBM. In this week-after-the-fact story, Schmitt suddenly claims he regarded WikiLeaks’ invite-to-edit as a joke.


Here’s how the AP story presents the timeline of events:

  1. On an undated Saturday (July 24 or 31?), Schmitt dismisses the notion that WikiLeaks had ever invited White House editing of the unredacted documents before release.

  2. On the night of July 23, Gibbs asks Schmitt to relay to WikiLeaks a humanitarian plea not to publish harmful information. Schmitt did so.

  3. The “next evening” (presumably July 24 but again, AP does not specify the date) Schmitt receives an email reply from WikiLeaks that it was holding 15,000 more documents and would listen to recommendations on identification of innocents.

  4. Schmitt forwarded WikiLeaks’ email to the White House, but later states he did not consider it a serious offer.

  5. On Friday (again undated by AP, but only July 23 would make sense), the White House emphatically denies that WikiLeaks made any invitation to redact information identifying innocent people.


The AP’s mangled chronology provides apparent cover for the White House. Note how the AP story preemptively discounts WikiLeaks' proffer to the White House. Note also how the AP couples the White House’s emphatic denial of receiving an offer with Schmitt’s dismissal of the offer’s sincerity to give the impression that WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange lied about offering to withhold harmful information.

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Yet, even accepting the jumbled timeline, Schmitt nonetheless admits that WikiLeaks did make its invitation to the White House before outing the military secrets. And that offer has never been answered.

Who benefits from this tangled timeline and after-the-fact spin? Certainly not WikiLeaks, nor the muddled AP, nor Schmitt. No, the only beneficiary of this Make-Believe Media reporting spin job seems to be the administration, providing it a duck-and-cover defense to this matter of grave national security.

Why would Eric Schmitt and the Times collaborate with WikiLeaks for the reports’ publication on the one hand while simultaneously shielding the White House from WikiLeaks’ assertion that it provided a reasonable opportunity to vet the reports?

Consider that shortly after the first leak, Schmitt reported “American military officials are building a case to minimize the planned withdrawal of some troops from Afghanistan starting next summer, in an effort to counter growing pressure on President Obama from inside his own party to begin winding the war down quickly.” The practical effect of this MBM dichotomy is to clothe the White House with plausible deniability over any responsibility for harmful content of the released reports while also advancing its leftist agenda against military involvement in Afghanistan.

A genuinely concerned White House had, and apparently still has today, options ranging from vetting the documents, as invited by WikiLeaks’ Founder Julian Assange, to judicial intervention, to diplomatic pressure, criminal prosecution of Assange, a notion apparently floated but abandoned, or even cyber attacks.. Yet so far, the Obama Administration qualifies to win the “courageous restraint” medal when it comes to protecting the U.S. military and its allies. At the end of the day, the White House handwringing and saber rattling has neither prevented nor blunted WikiLeaks’ past or upcoming disclosures in the slightest, but it has provided some potential ammunition to advance the Democrat agenda for an early Afghanistan withdrawal.

Never let a crisis go to waste.

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