Gerald Posner of The Daily Beast has the companion piece to The New York Times’s story about the CIA’s relationship with Ahmed Wali Karzai—interviews with both Ahmed and Mahmoud Karzai, Hamid’s other brother, who deny the NYT’s account.

Readers can decide for themselves who to believe; like Posner, I find the case the Times builds pretty compelling. But what I found most interesting from Posner’s piece was this line of argument from Mahmoud Karzai:

“We [the Karzais] are being harassed by The New York Times. This is a smear campaign. James Risen has a vendetta against us. And the Times is obviously being fed by the far-left lobbyist groups who are paying them to do this. These leftists want Afghanistan destabilized, they want the Karzais out of power so there is a vacuum, and then they can say it is such a mess that the Americans should abandon the country. This is a coordinated plan, have no doubt about it.”

Smear campaign… vendetta… far-left lobbyist groups… leftists. Whether or not Ahmed is actually working with the CIA, Mahmoud seems to have mastered one strain of American political discourse.

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Greg Marx is a CJR staff writer. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.