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AP Responds To Blog Charges

(CBS/AP)
Conservative blogs have been buzzing about a recently translated communication within the Iraqi intelligence service from 2000 that appears to suggest a source within the Associated Press. Did Saddam have a spy within the wire service? That's what some blogs are asking. The document begins:
We were informed from one of our sources (the degree of trust in him is good) who works in the American Associated Press Agency that the agency broadcasted to through computer to its branches worldwide the following: …
In response to some assertions that this implies someone within the AP was effectively spying on behalf of Saddam Hussein, the AP has issued a statement pointing out that the material included in the communication was simply material previously published by the wire service. Via Editor & Publisher:
All the information in a handwritten Arabic document from Iraq that some blogs claim to be evidence that an AP employee worked for Saddam Hussein was actually published and distributed worldwide as a wire story [in 2000] by Associated Press two weeks prior to the date on the document.

Since the information in this AP story was distributed worldwide, it would be absurd to consider its substance as espionage. Speculation by the blogs rests entirely on use of the term "one of our sources" in the Iraqi document. However, an AP employee who provides a government official in any nation with a copy of a published AP story is providing public information, not espionage services.

Not everyone is buying the explanation, you can decide for yourself. But it's one more example of news organizations who are meeting blog criticisms head-on and that's a good thing.
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