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Sunday, October 02, 2005

WHAT IS GOING ON AT AP? How Can One Able Danger Story Get So Much Wrong on Basic Facts?

Able Danger central figure Lt. Col Anthony Shaffer was the subject of a lengthy AP article earlier this week reporting that Pentagon officials were moving to revoke his security clearance. The article included a number of accusations of improper conduct by Shaffer going back several decades.

Now, Shaffer's attorney, Mark Zaid of Washington, D.C., writes a lengthy refutation which Captain's Quarters published yesterday. There is so much that is so screwed up in the AP story, but what really makes it incredible is Zaid's revelation that he twice got the wire service to revise the story prior to its publication and it's still full of errors!

I've been a general assignment reporter, an investigative reporter, assistant business editor, business editor, national editor, assistant managing editor and managing editor at two daily newspapers. I've written countless complicated stories and edited even more.

When I see a story now as full of holes as this AP piece on Shaffer, I can only wonder how on earth it ever was published and if the reporter and editors responsible will face any consequences. Sadly, I know the answer to the latter is very likely no.

Go here to read the full Zaid response to the AP story.