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Release No: 046-05
January 17, 2005

Statement from Pentagon Spokesman Lawrence DiRita on Latest Seymour Hersh Article

The Iranian regimes apparent nuclear ambitions and its demonstrated support for terrorist organizations is a global challenge that deserves much more serious treatment than Seymour Hersh provides in the New Yorker article titled The Coming Wars.


Mr. Hershs article is so riddled with errors of fundamental fact that the credibility of his entire piece is destroyed.


Mr. Hershs source(s) feed him with rumor, innuendo, and assertions about meetings that never happened, programs that do not exist, and statements by officials that were never made.


A sampling from this article alone includes:


  • The post-election meeting he describes between the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff did not happen.


  • The only civilians in the chain-of-command are the President and the Secretary of Defense, despite Mr. Hershs confident assertion that the chain of command now includes two Department policy officials. His assertion is outrageous, and constitutionally specious.


  • Arrangements Mr. Hersh alleges between Under Secretary Douglas Feith and Israel, government or non-government, do not exist. Here, Mr. Hersh is building on links created by the soft bigotry of some conspiracy theorists. This reflects poorly on Mr. Hersh and the New Yorker.


  • Mr. Hersh cannot even keep track of his own wanderings. At one point in his article, he makes the outlandish assertion that the military operations he describes are so secret that the operations are being kept secret even from U.S. military Combatant Commanders. Mr. Hersh later states, though, that the locus of this super-secret activity is at the U.S. Central Command headquarters, evidently without the knowledge of the commander if Mr. Hersh is to be believed.


By his own admission, Mr. Hersh evidently is working on an alternative history novel. He is well along in that work, given the high quality of alternative present that he has developed in several recent articles.


Mr. Hershs preference for single, anonymous, unofficial sources for his most fantastic claims makes it difficult to parse his discussion of Defense Department operations.


Finally, the views and policies Mr. Hersh ascribes to Secretary Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz, Under Secretary Feith, and other Department of Defense officials do not reflect their public or private comments or administration policy.

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