Roger L. Simon

Is Lewis Carroll Alive and Secretly Working for the New York Times?

This Douglas Jehl article in tomorrow morning’s New York Times reads almost as if he were. There are so many anonymous sources it sounds like a parody. Here are the first few graphs:

A classified cable sent by the Central Intelligence Agency’s station chief in Baghdad has warned that the situation in Iraq is deteriorating and may not rebound any time soon, according to government officials. [Who? How many? No one’s saying.]

The cable, sent late last month as the [anonymous, of course] officer ended a yearlong tour, presented a bleak assessment on matters of politics, economics and security, the [nobody knows how many] officials said. They said its basic conclusions had been echoed in briefings presented by a senior C.I.A. official who recently visited Iraq. [Ah, another offical? Now we’re getting somewhere. Who’s on first? I dunno. Who’s on second?]

The officials described the two assessments as having been “mixed,” saying that they did describe Iraq as having made important progress, particularly in terms of its political process, and credited Iraqis with being resilient. [I see–there’s two assessments, one’s bad and one’s good, but we don’t know who made either of them. Great.]

But over all, the officials described the station chief’s cable in particular as an unvarnished assessment of the difficulties ahead in Iraq. They said it warned that the security situation was likely to get worse, including more violence and sectarian clashes, unless there were marked improvements soon on the part of the Iraqi government, in terms of its ability to assert authority and to build the economy. [Bold mine because now I get it — it’s likely to get worse unless it gets better. So the first official must be the Mad Hatter – or John Kerry. I knew they would have a job for him.]

So I ask you, should the three strikes and you’re out law be expanded to unnamed sources? Three unnamed sources and the article goes in the waste basket.