October 16, 2016

Podesta’s Iran Deal Admission Exposes Tragic Results of AP’s 2013 Treachery

A search at the Associated Press’s main national site on “Podesta Iran” (not in quotes) returns no items relating to a Wikileaks-released email exposing how Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign manager John Podesta agreed with a Republican senator in July 2015 that the deal which had been “negotiated” by the Obama administration with Iran would lead to “a nuclear war in the Persian Gulf.” (The word “negotiated” is in quotes because, other than releasing hostages it never should have captured or held, Iran appears not to have given up anything.)

There’s a reason beyond the routine journalistic negligence for which AP is so well-known why it has ignored this (excuse the pun) bombshell. The AP’s own self-congratulatory actions contributed to the situation Podesta tersely acknowledged.

In 2013, the AP hid what it knew about the existence of secret discussions between the Obama administration and Iran concerning the latter country’s possession and use of nuclear materials. The Obama administration asked a journalist at another outlet and the AP to keep quiet about what they knew — and they did.

Perhaps the journalists and management at the wire service believed that they were serving some kind of higher good. Everybody with an ounce of common sense knew that Iran was (and still is) interested in building and using nuclear weapons. So maybe they believed that an agreement between the U.S., Iran and other countries might prevent that, and, ultimately, prevent a war involving the use of nukes which might otherwise have occurred.

What’s wrong with keeping a secret about something so important? The starry-eyed idealists at AP, if that was indeed their motivation (one shudders when considering other possible motivations), should know now that they were played.

The AP’s Julie Pace went on national TV in November 2013 to revel in how the wire service had kept talks between the U.S. and Iran secret for eight months, leading to what was described then as “The Geneva deal.”

Twenty months later, Podesta reacted to a harsh July 2015 statement by Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois about the “deal” Iran and the U.S. had just “negotiated” to, in essence, allow Iran to continue doing almost all of what it had been doing while having the U.S. lift economic sanctions which had been in place on that country for decades. A correspondent with Podesta quoted Kirk, and Podesta responded in a single word: “Yup”:


Podesta’s honesty lays bare the sham nature of the Iran “deal.”

The related November 2013 AP story (excerpted at the related NewsBusters post), which appeared at the time Pace went into her bragging routine on Fox News Sunday, reveals the full extent of what the AP knew — and sat on:


The United States and Iran secretly engaged in a series of high-level, face-to-face talks over the past year, in a high-stakes diplomatic gamble by the Obama administration that paved the way for the historic deal sealed early Sunday in Geneva aimed at slowing Tehran’s nuclear program, The Associated Press has learned.

The discussions were kept hidden even from America’s closest friends, including its negotiating partners and Israel, until two months ago, and that may explain how the nuclear accord appeared to come together so quickly after years of stalemate and fierce hostility between Iran and the West.

… President Barack Obama personally authorized the talks as part of his effort — promised in his first inaugural address — to reach out to a country the State Department designates as the world’s most active state sponsor of terrorism.

The talks were held in the Middle Eastern nation of Oman and elsewhere with only a tight circle of people in the know, the AP learned. Since March, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Jake Sullivan, Vice President Joe Biden’s top foreign policy adviser, have met at least five times with Iranian officials.

The last four clandestine meetings, held since Iran’s reform-minded President Hassan Rouhani was inaugurated in August, produced much of the agreement later formally hammered out in negotiations in Geneva among the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany and Iran, said three senior administration officials. All spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss by name the highly sensitive diplomatic effort.

The AP was tipped to the first U.S.-Iranian meeting in March shortly after it occurred, but the White House and State Department disputed elements of the account and the AP could not confirm the meeting. The AP learned of further indications of secret diplomacy in the fall and pressed the White House and other officials further. As the Geneva talks appeared to be reaching their conclusion, senior administration officials confirmed to the AP the details of the extensive outreach.

As I wrote at the time: “Translation: They didn’t report it until the Obama administration said it would be okay to report it.”

That comment and related posts by others elsewhere generated pushback from the AP’s Paul Colford, its Vice President and Director of Media Relations, the very next day. Colford’s copout is intensely amusing in light of how willing the wire service has been to act on unsubstantiated stories during this presidential election year:

Contrary to a number of accounts since Sunday, AP did not sit on the story for several months. We aggressively pursued the story throughout that period, trying everything we could to get it to the wire. In fact, some of the information we were tipped to in March turned out to be inaccurate.

The AP routinely seeks and requires more than one source. Stories should be held while attempts are made to reach additional sources for confirmation or elaboration. In rare cases, one source will be sufficient – when material comes from an authoritative figure who provides information so detailed that there is no question of its accuracy.

The credibility of Colford’s post was shredded by Laura Rozen, a reporter for Al-Monitor. Rosen acknowledged in a tweet that “we both had versions of it (the story of talks occurring) independently and were asked not to publish til end of Iran talks”:


As I wrote at the time:

… if it had been covering any administration other than the current one, AP would have reported that it had evidence that such meetings or talks were or had been taking place, and that administration officials (depending on their actual response) either denied their existence, or would not confirm or deny them.

That would have been no different than taking an unsubstantiated claim by a woman who says she was groped by Donald Trump and asking him to confirm or deny it, and making the fallout from the claim and the denial the story.

Thus, it should be obvious that the AP’s deference to the Obama administration in 2013 in keeping the Iran talks secret had no purpose but to help the administration advance a deeply unpopular agenda. If AP had done its job and indirectly exposed the existence of the talks in the frequently employed manner just described, the blowback would have been intense and bipartisan — and it knows it.

Meanwhile, as I wrote, the wire service “deliberately kept their readers, listeners, viewers, subscribing news organizations, and the public they claim to serve in the dark … and did so at the request of … the governments involved.”

As seen in its November 2013 story above, the AP congratulated itself for giving its choice to keep the U.S.-Iran talks secret partial credit for “how the nuclear accord appeared to come together so quickly.”

Now that John Podesta has admitted that even people on the left acknowledge the Obama administration’s Iran “deal” will lead to “a nuclear war in the Persian Gulf,” I expect the AP to take partial credit when Iran begins engaging in nuclear blackmail in the region — and when the bombs fall.

Heck of a job, guys.

Cross-post pending at NewsBusters.org.


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