Hooded Iraqi detainee – did the NYT get duped?

This past weekend, the NYT ran an interview with a man who claimed to be the hooded person standing atop the box in the series of Abu Ghraib photos that first caught the nation’s attention last year. The AP is reporting today that there are questions coming out as to whether or not this man is who he says he is:

NEW YORK – The New York Times is investigating questions raised about the identity of a man who said in a Page 1 profile that he is the Abu Ghraib prisoner whose hooded image became an icon of abuse by American captors.

The online magazine Salon.com challenged the man’s identity, based on an examination of 280 Abu Ghraib pictures it has been studying for weeks and on an interview with an official of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command. The official says the man the Times profiled Saturday, Ali Shalal Qaissi, is not the detainee in the photograph.

In an e-mail to the Times, Chris Grey, chief spokesman for the Army investigations unit, wrote: “We have had several detainees claim they were the person depicted in the photograph in question. Our investigation indicates that the person you have is not the detainee who was depicted in the photograph released in connection with the Abu Ghraib investigation.”

“We take questions about our reporting very seriously, and we will carefully investigate Salon’s findings,” Susan Chira, the Times’ foreign editor, said in Tuesday’s editions.

And what organizations did the NYT consult with in order to confirm Qaissi’s identity? Chira informs us:

We spoke with representatives of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, who had interviewed Mr. Qaissi and believed him to be the man in the photographs.”

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International?

Little Green Footballs gets it right:

When the Times wants to check a story about Abu Ghraib, they don’t call anyone in the US government. They call Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, two of the most politicized left-wing NGOs in the world.


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