Fact checking

Old Blog Import

Doesn’t it bother anyone that the US government made claims about Iraq’s nuclear program based on documents which the most rudimentary fact-checking (on Google!) could have shown were fake?

It took Baute’s team only a few hours to determine that the documents were fake. The agency had been given about a half-dozen letters and other communications between officials in Niger and Iraq, many of them written on letterheads of the Niger government. The problems were glaring. One letter, dated October 10, 2000, was signed with the name of Allele Habibou, a Niger Minister of Foreign Affairs and Coöperation, who had been out of office since 1989. Another letter, allegedly from Tandja Mamadou, the President of Niger, had a signature that had obviously been faked and a text with inaccuracies so egregious, the senior I.A.E.A. official said, that they could be spotted by someone using Google on the Internet.”

Seymour M. Hersh in the New Yorker.

It is worse than when the British government plagiarized a twelve year old thesis.

And how about the newspapers? Don’t they have full time fact-checkers?