Joel Mowbray

It is hard to imagine that exclusion of an explicit statement that the men were not formally under investigation was a mere oversight.  Rather, it appears part of a pattern where the Post has advanced the political cause of careerists at the State Department and the CIA.

For all the media coverage of a divide between the Pentagon and the State Department?true to a certain extent?the real rift is between careerist diplomats and intelligence officials and the political appointees in the foreign policy team, the latter of which are largely based at the Pentagon, though a handful are at State or at the Office of the Vice President.

These intra-administration fights are often brutal.  While the so-called neoconservatives?the political appointees, many of whom have nothing ?neo? about their conservatism?have largely stuck to fighting through traditional policy channels, the careerists at State and CIA have made sport of leaking damning accusations and baseless charges at the so-called neocons, particularly to the Post.

Notice that of the six Post stories on Franklin or potential espionage for Israel?which ran almost one right after the other, from August 28 to September 4?the paper?s State Department reporter, Robin Wright, had a byline on four and a contribution line on one.  No other Post reporter was as involved.

How does an FBI investigation about an official (or possibly, officials) at the Pentagon involve the State Department?

The only apparent answer seems to be that Wright, who has a history of extremely chummy reporting of the agency for both the Post and previously for the Los Angeles Times, was needed to report the State Department?s party line.  Not to knock her skills as a reporter?she has a solid reputation as a newshound?but Wright has no doubt been helped over the years by crafting pieces largely flattering for State, and she?s known as one of deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage?s favorite outlets.

Nearly a month later, the ?questions? being asked about the five named individuals are, it seems, no longer being asked.  According to one person recently interviewed by the FBI concerning the Franklin case, ?It?s my understanding, after talking to others questioned by the FBI, that no one has been asked about them [the people named by the Post].?

The old adage goes that the charge runs on page one, the acquittal on page 29.  If, as appears likely, not even an investigation results on the five named individuals, will the Post write a high-profile story about them being cleared of charges that were never brought?

Joel Mowbray

Joel Mowbray, who got his start with, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.

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