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John Gibson Falls Down on the Job

Reported by Judy - June 16, 2005

Journalists are notoriously lazy. Politicians know this. That's why they can get away with so much. They know journalists will never both to check on a fraction of what they do. But on Wednesday (June 15, 2005) John Gibson proved once again that he is lazier than most.

Ostensibly, Gibson was interviewing Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., about his new book, Countdown to Terror, which charges the CIA with ignoring an important source about Iran's funding of terrorist plans to attack the U.S.

Gibson let Weldon prattle on about his allegations that the CIA never followed up on the information he had given them. Had he done a little homework, Gibson would have discovered that Weldon was on Meet the Press on Sunday and that interviewer Tim Russert pointed out problems with Weldon's source, Ali. Gibson could even have read this portion of the transcript of that show and asked some questions of his own.

"MR. RUSSERT: One of the legitimate issues raised about Iraq, however, was: Was the information given to us about weapons of mass destruction credible and accurate? The American Prospect, a liberal magazine, has been reading your book and analyzing it and talking to people. "The Prospect has learned that the true identity of `Ali' is Fereidoun Mahdavi, formerly the shah's minister of commerce and, more importantly, the close friend and business partner of Ghorbanifar, legendary arms dealer, infamous intelligence fabricator, and central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal that almost brought down the Reagan administration. It was `Gorba,' as he was known back then to Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, the rouge National Security Council officer, who lured the Reagan administration into secretly selling U.S. missiles to the Islamic regime in exchange for the release of Western hostages. ... `Mahdavi says that he has this network in Iran that he gets information from,' says Akbar Etemad [a former minister in the shah's government.] `Each time, he says his information will come true in two months' time. But all that information is fake. Ghorbanifar and Mahdavi work very closely together. Ghorbanifar is unreliable. In that sense, he might be dangerous. The CIA shares that harsh assessment of Ghorbanifar. If the intelligence had any clue to Mahdavi's association with Ghorbanifar, it is scarcely surprising that its officials rebuffed Weldon's overtures on behalf of `Ali.' Many years ago, the CIA issued an unusual `burn notice' on Ghorbanifar, instructing its personnel not to deal with him and warning that he was known to spread false information to advance his own interests."

Instead, Gibson shirked his responsibility and basically gave Weldon several minutes of free air time unrebutted. For this kind of work he gets his own show?

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