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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, October 26, 2004

 
Explosive Mistake

Ok, folks. Here's what Jim Miklaszewski said yesterday:

"April 10, 2003, only three weeks into the war, NBC News was embedded with troops from the Army's 101st Airborne as they temporarily take over the Al Qaqaa weapons installation south of Baghdad. But these troops never found the nearly 380 tons of some of the most powerful conventional explosives, called HMX and RDX, which is now missing."

"The U.S. troops did find large stockpiles of more conventional weapons, but no HMX or RDX, so powerful less than a pound brought down Pan Am 103 in 1988, and can be used to trigger a nuclear weapon."


He has now been contradicted by the NBC embed herself:

Here's the video. And, here's the relevant transcript:

Amy Robach: And it's still unclear exactly when those explosives disappeared. Here to help shed some light on that question is Lai Ling. She was part of an NBC news crew that traveled to that facility with the 101st Airborne Division back in April of 2003. Lai Ling, can you set the stage for us? What was the situation like when you went into the area?

Lai Ling Jew: When we went into the area, we were actually leaving Karbala and we were initially heading to Baghdad with the 101st Airborne, Second Brigade. The situation in Baghdad, the Third Infantry Division had taken over Baghdad and so they were trying to carve up the area that the 101st Airborne Division would be in charge of. As a result, they had trouble figuring out who was going to take up what piece of Baghdad. They sent us over to this area in Iskanderia. We didn't know it as the Qaqaa facility at that point but when they did bring us over there we stayed there for quite a while. We stayed overnight, almost 24 hours. And we walked around, we saw the bunkers that had been bombed, and that exposed all of the ordinances that just lied dormant on the desert.

AR: Was there a search at all underway or did a search ensue for explosives once you got there during that 24-hour period?

LLJ: No. There wasn't a search. The mission that the brigade had was to get to Baghdad. That was more of a pit stop there for us. And, you know, the searching, I mean certainly some of the soldiers head off on their own, looked through the bunkers just to look at the vast amount of ordnance lying around. But as far as we could tell, there was no move to secure the weapons, nothing to keep looters away. But there was -- at that point the roads were shut off. So it would have been very difficult, I believe, for the looters to get there.

AR: And there was no talk of securing the area after you left. There was no discussion of that?

LLJ: Not for the 101st Airborne, Second Brigade. They were -- once they were in Baghdad, it was all about Baghdad, you know, and then they ended up moving north to Mosul. Once we left the area, that was the last that the brigade had anything to do with the area.

AR: Well, Lai Ling Jew, thank you so much for shedding some light into that situation. We appreciate it.

LLJ: Thank you.


NBC has cleared up this little "misunderstanding" but we need to ensure that they emphasize their clarification on the evening news and on all the gasbag shows on MSNBC.

Once again, I think that the Rove machine has lost a ball bearing or two. It is not in their interest to be fighting this story with such fervor in the waning days of the campaign, particularly relying on a news organization's preliminary reporting to justify its position. They would have been far better off using one of those infuriating Codpiece tautologies and called it a day --- "of course we didn't know anything about this because if we had we would have done something about it. Since we didn't do anything about it, we couldn't have known." Instead they've called in the full force of the mighty Wurlitzer which gets the mainstream press all quivering with excitement --- and forces NBC to work the story even harder since they are now part of it.

Still, it might just be helpful to ensure that NBC knows that you are aware of the Lai Ling Jew clarification and also that you are aware that Drudge and the wing-nuts are using their story to pass on bad information to the voters. Karl Rove is said to have thought so highly of the NBC story that he planned to use it in a mass e-mail.

If NBC and MSNBC have any journalistic integrity they might want to take extra measures to ensure that they don't get used as Karl's love slave this close to an election.

MSNBC

www.msnbc.com
world@msnbc.com

One MSNBC Plaza
Secaucus, NJ 07094
Phone: (201) 583-5000
Fax: (201) 583-5453

NBC News

www.nbc.com

30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112
Phone: (212) 664-5900
Fax: (212) 664-2914

Nightly@NBC.com
viewerservices@msnbc.com
hardball@msnbc.com
countdown@msnbc.com
abramsreport@msnbc.com
norville@msnbc.com
Lesterholt@msnbc.com
joe@msnbc.com
MTP@NBC.com

JMiklaszewski @NBC.com
DShuster@msnbc.com
JTrippi@msnbc.com
DBellone@msnbc.com (Hardball producer)
AMitchell@msnbc.com

For the full backround on this story, Josh Marshall is the resident blogospheric expert.

Update: Marshall has posted a subsequent clarification by Miklaszewski. I just heard even CNN finally drop the earlier NBC version of events and also reveal that the wing-nuts have been inundating them with e-mail flogging the NBC story.






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