Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 8, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

THE ABU GHRAIB PHOTOS....Who gave the Taguba report to Seymour Hersh? As I noted yesterday, the most likely suspect seems to be Gary Myers, the civilian defense attorney for Chip Frederick. Frederick is one of the six soldiers currently facing prosecution for the events at Abu Ghraib.

But what about the photos? Who gave the photos to 60 Minutes II? Answer: apparently Chip Frederick's father felt that Chip was being made a scapegoat and asked his brother-in-law, William Lawson, for help:

He knew whom to turn to: David Hackworth, a retired colonel and a muckraker who was always willing to take on the military establishment. Mr. Lawson sent an e-mail message in March to Mr. Hackworth's Web site and got a call back from an associate there in minutes, he said.

That e-mail message would put Mr. Lawson in touch with the CBS News program "60 Minutes II" and help set in motion events that led to the public disclosure of the graphic photographs and an international crisis for the Bush administration.

The rest of the details are still unclear, but apparently that's how it all started.

On the other hand, I have to say that this part of the story could use a little more attention too:

The irony, Mr. Lawson said, is that the public spectacle might have been avoided if the military and the federal government had been responsive to his claims that his nephew was simply following orders. Mr. Lawson said he sent letters to 17 members of Congress about the case earlier this year, with virtually no response, and that he ultimately contacted Mr. Hackworth's Web site out of frustration, leading him to cooperate with a consultant for "60 Minutes II."

"The Army had the opportunity for this not to come out, not to be on 60 Minutes," he said. "But the Army decided to prosecute those six G.I.'s because they thought me and my family were a bunch of poor, dirt people who could not do anything about it. But unfortunately, that was not the case."

If that means what it sounds like it means, Lawson basically tried to blackmail the Army into dropping charges against the six. Or am I missing something?

Kevin Drum 1:57 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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