Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 28, 2012

Reporting - The Washington Post Style

Joby Warrick reports for the Washington Post:

U.S. officials among the targets of Iran-linked assassination plots

In November, the tide of daily cable traffic to the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan brought a chilling message for Ambassador Matthew Bryza, then the top U.S. diplomat to the small Central Asian country. A plot to kill Americans had been uncovered, the message read, and embassy officials were on the target list.
The threat, many details of which were never made public, appeared to recede after Azerbaijani authorities rounded up nearly two dozen people in waves of arrests early this year. Precisely who ordered the hits, and why, was never conclusively determined. But U.S. and Middle Eastern officials now see the attempts as part of a broader campaign by Iran-linked operatives to kill foreign diplomats in at least seven countries over a span of 13 months. ... the officials say.
... according to U.S. and Middle Eastern security officials. An official report ... said two officials who have seen the six-page document.
Strikingly, the officials noted, ...

... said a Western diplomat briefed on the assassination plots ...

Many U.S. officials and Middle East experts see ...

The Obama administration has declined ... U.S. officials say ...

... said a senior U.S. official ...

... U.S. intelligence officials believe ...

... according to U.S. and Middle Eastern officials familiar with the incidents ...

... while officials in Washington tried to assess the seriousness of the threats, the officials said ...

... said a former State Department official ...

... according to a Middle East investigator involved in the case ...

... officials said ...

... U.S. and Middle Eastern officials said.

... according to a brief statement issued by the Azerbaijani government ...

The Obama administration acknowledged ...

... said the former State Department official ...

... the Iranian Embassy in Baku suggested in a statement that the plot was fiction.

... Baku officials have ...

... Elin Suleymanov, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Washington, said in an interview ...

U.S. and Middle Eastern officials say ... U.S. intelligence officials note.

The report presented to U.S. officials ... the reports states.

Israeli and Indian officials have described ...

... said the Western diplomat briefed on the evidence.

How does one call this style of reporting that Judith Miller Joby Warrick is attempting here? What distinguishes this writing down what lots of officials, diplomats and investigator say from pure stenography?


Posted by b on May 28, 2012 at 13:01 UTC | Permalink


Them Iranianians look like a sketchy bunch, better do as the officials say, and bomb their neukes before they kill us all.

Posted by: Alexander | May 28 2012 13:14 utc | 1

Joby Warrick must be referring ISRAELI officials or their neocon fellow travelers.

Israel has the means and the motivation for fabricating a piece of BS like this.

Iran has no interest in assassinating US diplomats, which would only worsen tensions.

Posted by: JohnH | May 28 2012 13:17 utc | 2

how ironic,..,the americans are the ones usually doing the assassinations:


Libya, 84 In may 84 15 gunmen attacked the residence of col. Qadhafi. A
Sudan-based group called the national libya salvation front claimed
Responsibility for the attack. Nair, k. (1986). Devil and his dart 98

Libya, 84 The cia backed, trained and continues to support the exile
Group that tried to assassinate qaddafi in 84. The plot failed and qaddafi
Executed a number of the group. The cia-backed group is called the national
Front for the salvation of libya (nfsl) and is led by gen youssef
Magarieff. The saudis have provided $7 million to the nfsl. Cia agents
Advised nfsl leaders and trained their recruits in western europe, sudan
And morocco. Jack anderson washington post 6/12/85

Libya, saudi arabia, 84 Despite an executive order forbidding
Assassinations, the cia trained and supported the national front for the
Salvation of libya before, during and after its attempt to assassinate
Qaddafi on 5/8/84. The anti-qaddafi group was slaughtered in a day-long
Battle less than a mile from the barracks where qaddafi was. Group's
Leader, youssef magarieff, went ahead with op to show his cia and saudi
Arabian backers what they got for support. Jack anderson washington post

Posted by: brian | May 28 2012 13:28 utc | 3

Another form of the "some people say" kind of reporting that furthers propaganda lapped up by the disinterested masses. Marketing works.

Posted by: ben | May 28 2012 13:43 utc | 4

This type of gimmick dating back to November 2011 is not the first out of Azerbaijan. 3 years ago, a plot was supposedly uncovered that would have involved Hezbollah attacking the Israeli embassy in Azerbaijan. Earlier this year in January, Azerbaijan was at it again claiming Iranian/Hezbollah agents were planning to attack a Chabad school in Baku. A month later, Azerbaijan had another claim of a foiled Iranian-Hezbollah plot to kill Israeli officials in Azerbaijan. It was bad enough having Israel hatch these plots but now Azerbaijan is into it too.

The relations between Israel and Azerbaijan are very close:

Posted by: www | May 28 2012 13:58 utc | 5

Were the alleged assassins all used drunk car salesmen?

Posted by: dahoit | May 28 2012 14:24 utc | 6

Azerbaijan is where Iran was under the Shah - a corrupt, brutal dicatator who has no connection with the masses and is suring up his rule with close relationship with US and Isreal.

Dont be suprised to wake up one day soon, to see a peoples revolution there soon. The sooner the better!

Posted by: Irshad | May 28 2012 15:53 utc | 7

Irshad, birds of a feather (qui se ressemblent ...).

Posted by: www | May 28 2012 16:26 utc | 8

14 killed by shelling, rest by small arms and knife-wounds? (According Syrian in BBC TV)

Posted by: Alexander | May 28 2012 19:54 utc | 9

It's well known that Israel has several airbases in Azerbaijan. This was revealed by Mark Perry's piece in Foreign Policy magazine on March 28, 2012. The Baku government has cultivated a close diplomatic and business relationship with Israel and the current U.S. government. In fact, Baku has an arms deal from these Western factions worth $1.6 billion. Israel is delivering drones and missle defense systems. Also, if Israel attacks Iran, these Azerbaijani air strips will serve as landing facilities once the Israeli airforce bomb Iranian nuclear facilities. If the above report is true, it's not surprising. Iran has been aware that the Baku government has supported Israeli-trained assassination squads who infiltrated Iran and killed Iranian nuclear scientists. In the game of cloaks and daggers, it's not surprising to hear that Tehran's intelligence forces would try to neutralize the threat in Arzerbaijan, considering its geographical location. Again, that's if the report is true.

Posted by: Andre' E. Williams | May 28 2012 21:40 utc | 10

What distinguishes this writing down what lots of officials, diplomats and investigator say from pure stenography?


Posted by: annie | May 28 2012 22:34 utc | 11

'It's well known that Israel has several airbases in Azerbaijan'

a mini-me empire?

how many countries have air bases in other countries?..esp ones with track records of mass murder aggressive invasion and genociode?

Posted by: brian | May 28 2012 23:06 utc | 12

Well, yeah, why does the Washington Post actually need reporters at all?
Isn't it simpler just to relocate the Post's printing press to the White House?

Maybe the Post can just sack all its reporters and put a byline of "Alan Smithee" on everything it publishes.
That must be cheaper than paying all those inflated wages for glorified stenographers.
After all, ya' gotta watch that bottom line in this tough economic climate.

Posted by: Johnboy | May 29 2012 1:01 utc | 13

Isn't it simpler just to relocate the Post's printing press to the White House?

it would probably save time if it was located at one of the many think tanks in tel aviv, or perhaps the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a neocon think tank based in DC.

Posted by: annie | May 29 2012 2:22 utc | 14

or winep, where ex neocon advisors to the WH end up.

Posted by: annie | May 29 2012 2:24 utc | 15

Who are those "experts" precisely? Oficials, diplomats and experts, a bunch of no names, who is afraid of names, precise sources?

Posted by: Rick | May 29 2012 3:39 utc | 16

More on reporting styles, the very versatile Jazeera that already operates in Arabic, English and Swahili and that has a couple of paid Arabic sports channels and one for kids' programming, will be opening a French news channel for Africa and Europe out of Senegal before the end of the year. Also for this summer, 2 "BeIn" paid French sports channels that will operate out of Paris.

Posted by: www | May 29 2012 6:41 utc | 17

Annie #15, WINEP is where they are bred for WH duties and where they return to after their missions have been accomplished.

Posted by: www | May 29 2012 6:47 utc | 18

this one here sums the abuse of humanitarian values by the US government well

Posted by: somebody | May 29 2012 8:36 utc | 19

These accusations are used by the Azeri dictator in order to arrest critics and opposition members. Western news outlets like the Washington Post are simply trying to help justify the oppressive actions of the oil exporting regime.

Posted by: Amar | May 29 2012 10:46 utc | 20

Oh, oh, I know what the difference is between this reporting and stenography. When a stenographer records, we know who is speaking. You correctly point out, that this is anonymously sourced, and not worth the paper it's printed on.

Posted by: scottindallas | May 29 2012 12:21 utc | 21

In Canada, we call it Zionist "Jingoism".

Posted by: Rehmat | Jun 1 2012 13:02 utc | 22

I too agree there is no principal difference between a stealth bomber and a suicide-bomber, both kill innocent people - only difference being the suicide-bomber who is willing to give his life for the cause, reducing the risk of random killing, as the motivation would have to be pretty high. And even with this opinion, I'm no suicide-bomber sympathizer, bot are despicable acts of violence. I guess that's one of the points in the article linked @ 22.

Posted by: Alexander | Jun 1 2012 13:28 utc | 23

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