Chris Allbritton has the email he sent to NRO's The Tank two months ago. Here's the text:

Sirs,

Your posts by W. Thomas Smith Jr. are hilarious! Great fiction reading.

Such as this one:

“The general briefed me regarding the battlefield at Nahr al-Bared, near his camp, and what I would see today as the first American journalist to visit the site of Lebanon’s defeat of Al Qaeda-affiliate Fatah al Islam.”

Ah, no.

You do know that almost every American journalist living in Beirut has been up to Nahr el-Bared several times during and after the fighting? I myself filed stories for the Washington Times and the Newark Star-Ledger, the day after the fighting stopped and I was in a hell of a lot more danger than your man is in today. (Star-Ledger seems to have archived the story, so that link goes to my personal site, but that’s the story that ran there. WaTimes is still available.)

You know, for a publication that went after the New Republic so hard for its soldier-in-Iraq stuff, your guy here is horribly, horribly inaccurate and sensationalist.

I’m an American and I never have bodyguards and never needed one. He is making Beirut seem much more dangerous than it is. He also is as are you, since I assume he’s expensing it getting fleeced by some Lebanese con artists. He doesn’t need weapons and he’s making a big problem by carrying them and publicly writing about his “recon missions” in the Dahiyah. That’s not what journalists do; it’s what spies do, and by his actions, he’s making everyone suspicious of western journalists. That is the height of irresponsibility.

Secondly, he’s a liar. Hezbollah never invaded east Beirut on the 29th. And they don’t have 200 “heavily armed” militiamen downtown. I passed by today. There are about 40 guys down there with no weapons at all. They sit around, smoking shisha in jeans and t-shirts.

Perhaps your man in Beirut should not rely solely on March 14 guys and get a wider perspective. And stop lying and making careless errors. It’s your credibility on the line, after all.

Sincerely,

Christopher Allbritton

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