In a scathing take down, Nathan Hodge, Wired magazine's expert on spy planes, missile launchers and armored vehicles, has taken aim at The Washington Post's foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius. Calling him a "stenographer to power," Hodge says Ignatius squanders his access to CIA officials by glorifying the spy agency and glossing over its less reputable elements.
His main beef is with an Ignatius column that extolled the chief of Jordan's General Intelligence Department, an agency that cooperates with the CIA. He says Ignatius ignored the GID's "dismal human rights record" and exaggerated its competence--the spy agency is now thought to have recruited an al-Qaeda double-agent who killed seven American spies.
Hodges also attacks Ignatius's "upbeat" Christmas eve column about the U.S. Army's 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment based in Afghanistan. While visiting, Ignatius said, “It’s not a place any of us would want to spend the holidays, but in conversations with soldiers here, I didn’t hear any complaints." But as Hodge points out, the regiment was deeply divided at the time.
In summary, Hodges writes that
With massacres at military bases, clandestine wars in Pakistan and Yemen, and attempted bombings here at home, we need well-sourced intelligence reporters more than ever. We need journalists and columnists who are willing to probe deep, and present uncomfortable truths. Too bad in Ignatius we’ve got a stenographer to power, instead.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.