In March 2007, retired FBI agent Robert Levinson flew to Kish Island, an Iranian resort awash with tourists, smugglers and organized crime figures.
Days later, after an arranged meeting with an admitted killer, he checked out of his hotel, slipped into a taxi and vanished. For years, the U.S. has publicly described him as a private citizen who traveled to the tiny Persian Gulf island on private business. But that was just a cover story. An Associated Press investigation reveals that Levinson was working for the CIA. In an extraordinary breach of the most basic CIA rules, a team of analysts — with no authority to run spy operations — paid Levinson to gather intelligence from some of the world's darkest corners. He vanished while investigating the Iranian government for the U.S. [more inside]
is the chief Asia photographer for The Associated Press. Recently, he has been focusing his lens in Afghanistan. Photographer Collection: David Guttenfelder in Afghanistan
and On Assignment: Afghanistan
"It is a scene from which many of us would naturally recoil, or at least avert our eyes: a grievously injured young man, fallen on a rough patch of earth; his open-mouthed and unseeing stare registering — who can know what? — horror or fear or shock; being tended desperately by two companions in what are the first moments of the final hours of his life."
The New York Times' Lens Blog explores the circumstances and consequences
of the Associated Press releasing Julie Jacobsen's photo depicting Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard after he was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade in a Taliban ambush. [more inside]
In a new essay entitled Build the Wall
, David Simon (who was a Baltimore Sun
reporter before he produced The Wire
) argues that if the larger newspaper industry is to survive, The New York Times and Washington Post must start charging readers for access to their websites (preferably done as a single action in concert with each other) — John Gruber
, Dave Winer
, and the folks at Gawker disagree
, and Steven Berlin Johnson argues that while the future for newspapers might be quite bleak, the future for journalism and high quality analysis is actually quite bright
. Meanwhile, the Times is currently doing market research
to see if it's readers would be willing to pay $5 a month for online access, and the Associated Press announced
it's intent to build a new news DRM system that will enable users to “consume, mash up and share AP content based on rights
Got Questions About the News? Ask AP (Associated Press)
All you have to do is "send your questions to newsquestions(at)ap.org, with "Ask AP" in the subject line. Then keep an eye out for installments of the new Q&A column, where you'll finally get some answers"... maybe... if they feel like it. Instant Analysis: No threat to Ask Metafilter.
The Hope Diamond glows red
when exposed to ultraviolet light. In itself, this is an interesting way to determine the provenance of a particular gem. [more inside]
Harry Reid accepted free boxing tickets
from the Nevada Athletic Commission says John Solomon of the AP. Solomon implies that Reid might have gotten himself into an ethical dilemma as the NAC
opposes the creation of a federal boxing commission, something the Senate was considering at the time
. The article also tosses in some digs at Reid by repeating the claim that Reid is involved in the Abramoff scandal
However, Media Matters points out
that Reid did not act in the NAC's favor and instead allowed the passage of legislation that would create a federal commission, in opposition to the giftgiver's wishes. This is not
the first time
Solomon has attacked Reid. Politics/News-filter
Should the LPGA control photos taken at its events to this extent?
It seems like they are shooting themselves in the foot. Don't they want to be featured in the press? Are they infringing on the photographer's "rights"? More info here
Speaking of Transit Watching. I found it really interesting to see the collection of AP photos about the transit of Venus today. Apparently the compelling story is not so much the science (planets orbit the sun, got it), but the global spectacle. It's a bit of an anomaly of late, but Venus watching seems to be something the whole world peacefully agrees is a good thing. [View the viewers in
The Associated Press
has written a summary of the Bush Administration's curtailment of civil liberties. This appears to an unbiased and factual catalog of the changes 9/11 has wrought on our justice system. It would appear that the Law and Order wing of the GOP has spanked the Libertarian
wing but good. Let the Eagle Soar!
"The Associated Press
, which usually does not report names of sexual assault victims, stopped identifying the girls by name after authorities said they had been raped. The AP resumed reporting Marris' name Friday after she came forward and used Brooks' name after she appeared on national television Monday." Richard Roeper
and the Los Angeles Times
cover the media decision to cover rape differently than other crimes.