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Soldiers Allege Laura Poitras, Co-Author of NSA Scoop, Had Foreknowledge of 2004 Iraqi Attack on U.S. Troops

8:21 AM, Jun 12, 2013 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Prior to the attack, the streets were eerily quiet. "There was nothing else going on," Ditto said. "People had left the streets, which was pretty common when there was an attack about to happen. It was kind of one of the things we would look for. When things got too quiet it's because the locals were alerted that there was going to be an attack. And to see anybody up with a camera about to film something it's because they were waiting" for an attack to happen.

"It was later we had found out that Zarqawi's soldiers, basically in response to a raid on a mosque the night prior, sort of wanted to try to get revenge there," Ditto said, referring to the deceased leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. 

According to Devil's Sandbox, Poitras met with three commanding U.S. Army officers two days after the ambush: "The [Brigade Commander] turned to Laura Poitras and ask her if she had seen and filmed the attack on his men. Ditto's platoon had reported seeing windows taped around Adhamiya, a sure sign that the local civilians knew of the ambushes in advance. The fact that the shops were all secured, gates were locked, and nobody was out on the streets that morning also strongly indicated that the locals had foreknowledge of the engagements. The [Brigade Commander] and Major Warington wanted to know if Poitras had advance knowledge of the attacks. It stood to reason that she did, because she was living with Doctor Aladhadh's family in the middle of one of the kill zones."

Bruning, who was not embedded with the 2nd Battalion but conducted numerous interviews with the troops who were, told me Tuesday night that Doctor Riyadh Aladhadh, the main subject of Poitras's documentary, "was strongly suspected of being one of the key insurgent leaders for the Sunni insurgency of that particular district of Baghdad."

"If she had advance knowledge, she did not call and warn the battalion. Major Warrington had given her his contact information" 10 days prior to the attack, Bruning wrote in Devil's Sandbox. "She had the ability to report the pending attacks to her fellow countrymen. She did not do this."

During her November 22 meeting with Army officers, Poitras denied that she had been on the rooftop, and the two U.S. soldiers who saw the woman on the rooftop failed to positively identify her, so she was let go, according to the book. Bruning told me Tuesday night that if the commanding officer had known for sure she was on the roof, "he would have arrested her right there on the spot."

Bruning claims in his book that Poitras later admitted to him in an email that she had in fact been on the roof that day. Bruning revealed for the first time to THE WEEKLY STANDARD on Tuesday night that he provided a copy of the email to a U.S. soldier, who in turn contacted U.S. law enforcement, which allegedly led to a Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation. "That triggered a JTTF investigation in New York," Bruning told me. "The JTTF guys flew out here. They interviewed me. They interviewed the guys from the platoon. I turned over all the documentation I had."

No charges have ever been filed against Poitras, but Bruning and Ditto say the soldiers ambushed in Adhamiya on November 20, 2004 found the circumstantial evidence to be compelling. "To be exactly positioned to capture a vehicular ambush in the middle of Baghdad is either a huge fluke or you have foreknowledge that that was coming," Bruning told me. 

"The fact that she was standing there with [Aladhadh], the guy who everybody suspected was responsible for orchestrating the attack and had been living with him was proof enough for everybody in [Battalion] 2-162 to believe that she had foreknowledge," Bruning said. "It just defied all logic that she wouldn't have known it was coming."

THE WEEKLY STANDARD tried to contact Poitras through the Freedom of the Press Foundation on Tuesday but did not receive a response.

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