Is Vernon Loeb really ‘the most clueless person in America’?
By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
November 22, 2012
“I’m the most clueless person in America,” claims the journalist who ghostwrote Paula Broadwell’s David Petraeus biography. Writes Vernon Loeb in the Washington Post:
I never anticipated the extramarital affair between David H. Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, the woman I’d worked with for 16 months on a book about Petraeus’s year commanding the war in Afghanistan. On rare occasions, her good looks and close access would prompt a colleague to raise an eyebrow about their relationship, but I never took it seriously.
But can we take Loeb’s admission seriously?
A brief look at the Post local editor’s journalism track record should raise some serious doubts about his credibility.
As W. Joseph Campbell points out on his Media Myth Alert blog, Vernon Loeb was one of the reporters who wrote the bogus hero-warrior tale about Army private Jessica Lynch in the early days of the Iraq War. In an interview on NPR’s “Fresh Air,” Loeb said the details about Lynch’s supposed heroics came not from the Pentagon but from “some really good intelligence sources” in Washington. However, when Campbell called Loeb to ask him about those sources for the Lynch story, he says Loeb “abruptly hung up” on him.
As Post military reporter in October 2003, Loeb appeared equally concerned to protect the identity of U.S. officials whose leaks were damaging to national security. In response to a reader’s question about whether any of the six journalists might identify the administration official who had told them that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA, Loeb replied, “I doubt it, and I hope not. It’s a sad, sad day for journalism when they do.”
Could those “really good intelligence sources” that Loeb didn’t want to talk about have been the same people whose false “intelligence” induced America to invade Iraq?
It’s worth noting that, as with the Jessica Lynch tale, Loeb had served as a reliable media conduit for the bogus intelligence hyping the so-called Iraqi threat. Moreover, Loeb appears to have been close to the chief architect of that disastrous strategic blunder.
It was Loeb who reported Paul Wolfowitz’s call within a month of the 9/11 attacks for an end of the Posse Comitatus Law, a legal doctrine that had prevented the U.S. military from engaging in domestic law enforcement since 1878.
Two years later, Loeb was also on hand to report that Wolfowitz was “unhurt” when explosive projectiles struck the al-Rashid hotel in central Baghdad where the Deputy Defense Secretary was staying.
Considering his apparent closeness to Israeli agents of influence, it stretches credibility that Loeb was “clueless” about the relationship that forced the resignation of the CIA director. Despite his groveling emails to Israel partisan Max Boot, it appears that Petraeus was never forgiven for questioning the “sacrosanct” relationship with Israel. And then there was the need for smoke and mirrors to obscure the 9/11 anniversary attack in Benghazi.