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Scandal Watch: New York Times

Remember that reporter from the New York Times, David Rohde, who “escaped” from the Taliban in June?

Michael Yon tweets:

Kept it all quiet for NYT. Now why are the NYT endangering British hostages in Somalia? NYT needs to shut up. They are endangering British. from web

I have been told by very close sources that ex-CIA officers helped pay off release for Rohde. I knew this while it was ongoing. from web

NYT is endangering the hostages in Somalia. from web

Am told by good sources Rohde is good guy, but still NYT cannot ask for discretion when they don’t use it. from web

Numerous very well placed sources have told me New York Times/associates paid millions to get Rohde release. from web

New York Times cannot expect quiet about David Rohde when they blab all: http://www.nytimes.com/2009… from web

Now, if you remember, there was a second New York Times reporter, Stephen Farrell, who was rescued in September from the Taliban, resulting in the death of a British commando. Time magazine reported on his rescue and why the questionable need for a military raid:

Negotiators were “optimistic” that Farrell and Munadi would be freed within days, without payment of a ransom. Hostage-taking is a long-standing Afghan practice and almost always ends with captives being freed in exchange for money after days or weeks of haggling. But in this case, sources tell TIME, the senior Taliban commanders of Kunduz were “acting reasonably” and seemed willing to hand the reporter and his aide over without a payoff.

Hours before the British raid, Munadi was allowed to place a cell-phone call to his worried parents to reassure them that he and Farrell would soon be released. When the British commandos made their surprise attack on the house where the pair were being held, the two men rushed out. Munadi died in the firefight, shouting, “Journalist! Journalist!” Farrell recounted to his Times colleagues in Kabul. “He was lying in the same position as he fell,” Farrell said. “That’s all I know. I saw him go down in front of me. He did not move. He’s dead. He was so close, he was just two feet in front of me when he dropped.”

I read this at the time and was suspicious of the “no ransom” reporting. Have the Taliban ever done that? If what Yon is saying about Rohde is true, it’s reasonable to at least question if the New York Times was arranging a payment for Farrell and the translator. And if so, were they telling the military of their negotiations? Reporters at the New York Times and elsewhere owe it to the family of the fallen British soldier to act on Yon’s tips and find out what management at the New York Times was up to.

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