Fake Terrorist Calls for Violence

And it gets reported as if he were real

According to a New York Times report about new violence in Iraq this morning:

Three days ago, a prominent Sunni extremist, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, called for an escalation of attacks against local residents who aligned themselves with American forces.

Mr. Baghdadi is the purported leader of the Islamic State in Iraq, a militant group linked with Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a homegrown Sunni Arab extremist group that American intelligence agencies have concluded is foreign led.

While the Times manages to stick in its newish boilerplate that al Qaeda in Iraq is an indigenous force that is foreign-led, it forgets to mention that according to intelligence put out there by the American military, Al-Baghdadi doesn’t exist. Evidence shows that he is actually a character played by an actor named Abu Abdullah al Naima. Now, it doesn’t matter if a pseudonymous mouthpiece for al Qeada in Iraq is calling for violence or not—the group is still calling for violence—but the Times should note this. Accuracy matters.

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Paul McLeary is senior editor of Defense Technology International magazine, and is a former CJR staffer.