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by Sharon Rondeau
(Oct. 22, 2012) — After mainstream news outlets received a statement allegedly from the White House refuting a New York Times story that there were discussions scheduled or negotiated between the U.S. and Iran on its nuclear enrichment activities, the original story appears at the top of a search today. The article, published on Saturday, claimed that “one-on-one” talks with Iran had been “agreed to” as allegedly imparted by a “senior administration official.”
After Obama’s National Security Council spokesman, Tommy Vietor, denied the information in the original report on Saturday evening, reporters scrambled to amend their articles.
A Washington Post article bearing the title “Unraveling the secret U.S.-Iran Nuclear Talks” repeats the Times’ story line but then questions whether or not the information is accurate. Writes Max Fisher:
It’s not easy to gauge the report’s accuracy. Both the White House and the Iranian Foreign Ministry quickly and categorically denied that they had agreed to talks. And while the Times reports Israeli “openness” to the talks, it also quotes the Israeli ambassador to the United States as discouraging such talks as “rewarding” Iran.
Fisher then concedes that “the story might not be true” and provides the explanation that there could have been a misunderstanding on the part of the reporters, who had been “chasing the story” since Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to the United Nations last month.
Fisher also provides background information which could support the accuracy of The Times report, including attributing the information to a “leak.” The Obama regime leaked substantial national security data last June, with the Senate Intelligence Committee promising to investigate the source and several people, including the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, identifying “the White House” as the leaker.
The authors of the piece, Helene Cooper and Mark Landler, along with mention of a contributor named David E. Sanger, do not readily provide email addresses or phone numbers where they can be reached.
Fisher quoted Cooper as having made the statement on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that “He [Ahmadinejad] came to the meeting with journalists, started talking about how Iran is interested in getting into talks with the United States after the elections. This is something that the Obama administration has been pursuing for several years now. They’ve been open to it. Iran has not been so sure; they flip-flopped.”
Even if Iranian officials had discussed their alleged willingness to speak with the United States, does that mean that an agreement was reached to do so? If the Iranians “flip-flopped,” then which position did they ultimately take?
Fisher released a second article on the topic at 2:49 p.m. which asked the question, “Would Direct U.S.-Iran Talks be Bad for Israel?” He then indicates that there is no proof that the Times article is accurate but describes it as “leaked.”
If the information was “leaked,” is it true or false? According to Fisher, The New York Times should be credible.
Also over the weekend, several major news outlets reported that “a U.S. intelligence official” had issued a different narrative to what had been the latest intelligence assessment of the violence in Benghazi, Libya on September 11 as a terrorist attack and not a reaction to an obscure internet video. The information attributed to the unnamed official contradicts months of cables sent by U.S. embassy staff in Tripoli and Benghazi about the deteriorating security in Libya.
Fox News has prepared a timeline of the Obama regime’s “changing narrative” on what occurred in Benghazi.
The “officials” who purportedly spoke with The New York Times writers and the “intelligence official” who changed the Benghazi statement of facts are all unnamed. Is the Obama regime controlling the media as his former communications director had described in 2009?
The final presidential debate will be held this evening at 9:00 p.m. EDT.