A final word on a mistake to our readers. Here’s the summation:
Having reviewed [W. Thomas J. Smith Jr.’s] work, we cannot vouch for the accuracy of his reporting. In general, too much of Smith’s information came from sources who had an incentive to exaggerate the threat Hezbollah poses to Lebanon — and these sources influenced his reporting for the whole of his trip. While we agree that that threat is very real, our readers should have had more information about Smith’s sources so that they could have better evaluated the credibility of the information he was providing.
I apologize to all of our readers. We should have required Smith to clearly source all of his original reporting from Lebanon. Smith let himself become susceptible to spin by those taking him around Lebanon, so his reporting from there should be read with that knowledge. (We are attaching this note to all his Lebanon reporting. [We’ll have this done by day’s end. — Ed.]) This was an editing failure as much as it was a reporting failure. We let him down, and we let you down, and we’re taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Smith has, on his own, decided that he will no longer write for NRO. We respect his decision.