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ABC's Shame

8:33 PM, Apr 30, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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ABC runs a report showing the names and faces of two CIA contractors who may have had a role in the waterboarding of KSM and Abu Zubaydah. The network apparently outsourced this report to a freelancer named Matthew Cole, whose record in Nexis includes just three bylines -- two stories for Salon (one of which about "how Bush administration aid to Pakistan helps fund insurgents who kill U.S. troops"), and one for the San Jose Mercury News just two days after 9/11 reporting "anxiety about a backlash" among Muslims, who assure the reporter that the attack "has nothing to do with Islam."

In other words, Cole is a left-wing partisan with questionable reporting chops. This is obvious from the quality of the story tonight. Cole repeats the now throughly debunked claim that Zubaydah and KSM were waterboarded 83 and 183 times respectively. He posts video of the two refusing to answer questions in what is staged as a faux perp walk with no discernible news value other than to portray them as criminals. And, most amazingly, Cole indicts the two men for not having any experience prior to their work for the CIA -- as though being "previously involved in the U.S. military program to train pilots how to survive behind enemy lines and resist brutal tactics" isn't relevant.

ABC's conduct here, exposing two men who will now become obvious targets for terrorists and left-wing extremists, is deplorable. Will the Obama administration investigate who leaked their identities? Or is it now open-season on Americans who were only doing what their government asked of them in order to protect their country from attack?