October 28, 2014

“Gary Webb Is a Nut,” Said Washington Post Editor Jackson Diehl From Deep Inside His Bizarre Fantasy World

Jefferson Morley was a reporter at the Washington Post in 1996 when the San Jose Mercury News published Gary Webb’s series about the how the CIA protected cocaine traffickers who were helping fund the contras. Here’s what Morley says about the reaction of Jackson Diehl, then the Washington Post’s Foreign Editor and now a columnist there as well as its Deputy Editorial Page Editor:

By the mid-1990s, the Washington Post’s senior editors had stopped questioning the veracity of senior CIA officials. They assumed it…On Gary Webb’s story, they preferred to trust the CIA...

Given the choice of trusting a senior CIA source or taking a chance on a reporter from a first-rate, second-tier newspaper like the San Jose Mercury News, no editor who wanted to get ahead and stay ahead would hesitate.

“Webb is a nut,” Jackson Diehl assured me, shaking his head. “The things some people will put in print.”

Here’s what Diehl put in print about Iraq and WMD on December 30, 2002:

As sanctions on Iraq crumbled, it became more and more obvious that Saddam Hussein had not been contained: He had developed new weapons – drone aircraft and longer-range missiles – and was aggressively hunting for nuclear materials...

By that account, the conflicts that will shape this difficult winter of 2003 were mostly inevitable. It's just that, as half a century ago, Americans were slow to understand the threat, and reluctant to take it on -- until inaction seemed the worst choice.

Diehl also wrote that an invasion of Iraq, done right, would "catalyze a long-overdue liberalization of the Middle East."

There's a direct line from the catastrophic failure of the Washington Post, New York Times, etc. on Gary Webb and the contra-cocaine story to the catastrophic failure of the Washington Post, New York Times, etc. six years later on Iraq and WMD. Not only did it happen for the same reasons, it often involved the exact same people.

It would scary if Jackson Diehl had some idea about what were going here on Planet Earth and were straightforwardly lying about it. But it’s much scarier that he actually appears to believe his weird delusions – and that the Washington Post wants to reward him for them. (Diehl still has his fancy job at the Washington Post. Jefferson Morley does not have a job there at all.)

—Jon Schwarz

Posted at 04:08 PM | Comments (2)