Iraqis misquote NYT article


Generally speaking, I'm not in the habit of getting in between the administration and Iraq. However, I was asked a question today that I needed to research in order to get to the bottom of, so I figured I'd put the results here.

The short of it is that the Iraqi representative at the UN on Wednesday did a good job of misquoting a New York Times article of three days prior.

So, what was said and who said it?

Let's start with the original article in the New York Times. On February 2, 2003, the New York Times published an article entitled Split at C.I.A. and F.B.I. on Iraqi Ties to Al Qaeda with the following quote:

"Some analysts at the Central Intelligence Agency have complained that senior administration officials have exaggerated the significance of some intelligence reports about Iraq, particularly about its possible links to terrorism, in order to strengthen their political argument for war, government officials said."

Three days later, the New York Times printed a transcript of the Iraqi response to the Powell address to the Security Council. In the article, the Iraqi statement was:

_Mr. President, I would like to refer to a statement by a U.S. official in the New York Times lately, three days ago specifically, and I quote: "Analysts at the CIA have complained that administration officials have exaggerated reports on WMD in Iraq and particularly its presumed relation with Al Qaida in order to bolster their case for war." _

Now, it turns out that they didn't quote it correctly and the the comment on the 2nd from "some analysts", not "a U.S. Official"; and further that the comments by "some analysts" indicated that the administration had "exaggerated the significance of some intelligence reports about Iraq, particularly about its possible links to terrorism", whereas the Iraqis stated that the administration officials "have exaggerated reports on WMD in Iraq"._

Clearly not the same meaning. Further, the comment from the Iraqis seems to indicate that the statement from the "official" was a quote, whereas it was a quote from the writer of the story.

Decide for yourselves what you like about the conflict, but be careful of either side feeding information that is slightly cheeky.