Flopping Aces and Confederate Yankee consider this big news. I do not, notwithstanding the fact that AP’s own standards and practices forbid the use of fake names and the arguments laid out to the contrary by CY here.
Iraq’s a dicey place; rules get bent to protect people. Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.
I would think the bigger scoop is the fact that we now have independent confirmation, via Curt’s source, that the man known to AP readers as “Jamil Hussein” exists and is indeed a police officer at Khadra.
Read this post by Patterico. His point is well taken, as his points usually are. Also, please don’t mention Hussein’s real name in the comments here. I don’t think it should have been published to begin with and I don’t want HA used to help spread it around.
Update: Ace thinks it’s biggish but not hugeish news. He does raise a good point about the timeline: you can’t knock MOI for failing to find Hussein’s name on its list the first time around if the guy’s name was not, in fact, “Hussein.” And yeah, the AP should have disclosed that “Jamil Hussein” was a pseudonym in the article where they confirmed his existence with MOI.
Curt says he doesn’t see how I can say that the source’s existence has been independently confirmed when the alleged source himself continues to deny to MOI that he’s the source. Well, of course he’s going to deny it to MOI; there are Sadrists operating in the ministry. Why on earth would he admit it? But what’s the alternate theory — that the AP, knowing that they’d be placing him in danger, has now fingered some poor, innocent schmuck as its source to cover up the fact that there is no source? I have a healthy cynicism about media ethics, but that degree of cynicism strikes me as unhealthy.
Look, you can’t claim for weeks on end (replete with mocking graphics) that a guy doesn’t exist and then, when evidence emerges that he does, turn on a dime and trumpet the fact that he used a pseudonym as HUGE news. It’s news. That’s as much as can be said for it.