Intelligent Reporting on Intelligence

One truism that I’ve noted over the years is that any event that I experience in person will invariably be reported in the press quite differently.  That proved true again last night as I began absorbing media accounts of CIA Director Michael Hayden’s “State of al Qaeda Today” address to the Atlantic Council.

It seemed obvious to me that the “news” was Hayden’s declaration that “Today, virtually every major terrorist threat that my agency is aware of has threads back to the tribal areas” along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.  While not exactly shocking to those who have followed the news on the subject, it’s a much more sweeping statement than I’ve seen by someone in a position of authority.

Interesting, almost none of the world class beat reporters covering the story led with that.

More at New Atlanticist.

FILED UNDER: Intelligence, Media, National Security, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. markm says:

    Well, i’m sure Hayden will be gone come January so what he says not is moot to the mediaObamateam.

  2. Bithead says:

    Of course the coverage of the speech has been laughable at best. Let’s examine, though, the why of it. Says James…

    It seemed obvious to me that the “news” was Hayden’s declaration that “Today, virtually every major terrorist threat that my agency is aware of has threads back to the tribal areas” along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. While not exactly shocking to those who have followed the news on the subject, it’s a much more sweeping statement than I’ve seen by someone in a position of authority.Interesting, almost none of the world class beat reporters covering the story led with that

    What ARE they leading with…Walter Pincus at the Washington Post, for example?

    CIA Chief: Iraq Not Main Front

    … and that of course has been the lefty meme all along… that Iraq never WAS the core of the thing. Of course they’re dead wrong in this, but never let here facts stop you. To the credit, by the way, of Pincus, he uses the words….

    CIA Director Michael V. Hayden said yesterday that al-Qaeda remains the single greatest threat to the United States but that Iraq is no longer the central front in the broader war on terrorism

    The headline, though, which Pincus himself doubtless didn’t write, meshes nicely on it’s face with the meme the left has been trying all along to sell. Go ahead, gang, and tell me how we’re not STILL being manipulated, here.

  3. Anon says:

    I think the reason is that you are writing for different audiences. Most of the articles you are referring to are writing for general audiences. In that case, they are trying to grab the average reader in the lede.

    You are writing for a narrower, more specialized audience.

  4. James Joyner says:

    I think the reason is that you are writing for different audiences.

    I think that’s right.

  5. Grewgills says:

    Bit,
    Given Hayden’s statement,

    “Today, virtually every major terrorist threat that my agency is aware of has threads back to the tribal areas” along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

    what do you think he thinks is the central front in the WOT?

  6. Bithead says:

    You missed it, grew…

    Look again, with a keen eye to the difference between ‘IS’ and ‘WAS and how the headline I referenced, never really defines which of them is being discussed.