NY Times failed to identify Rice's "heckler" as a former U.S. diplomat


In an October 20 article on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's questioning before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, The New York Times reported: "The hearing was punctuated by a heckler who called for an end to the war, only to be hustled out." But what one would not know from reading the Times' account was that the "heckler" is a former senior-level U.S. diplomat and former Army colonel. The Washington Post report on the hearing noted:

As Rice testified, former U.S. diplomat Mary Ann Wright stood up and shouted from the audience, "Stop the killing in Iraq. You and Congress have to be responsible." Wright, a senior envoy in the U.S. embassies in Afghanistan and Mongolia, resigned in protest in 2003.

As the Associated Press reported on May 25, 2003, Wright was "former deputy chief of mission at U.S. embassies in Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and most recently Mongolia" as well as "a former Army colonel," who joined two other diplomats in sending resignation letters to then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell because "they found the Bush administration's case for war unconvincing and its approach toward other countries condescending."

From the October 20 Times article, by reporter Steven R. Weisman:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, facing tough questions about Iraq from Republican and Democratic senators, asserted that progress was being made in securing the country but declined to predict when American forces could withdraw or to rule out widening the war to Syria.

In three and a half hours of hearings at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ms. Rice was both conciliatory and combative, rebutting the gloomy assessments from senators of both parties but at the end offering a weary concession to Senator Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois.

"I understand that, yes, it might not work," Ms. Rice told Mr. Obama, referring to American plans to raise the effectiveness of Iraqi forces and heal Iraq's fractious society. "But every day we have to get up and work at our hardest to make it work."

It was a day that echoed the anguish, anger and skepticism that opinion polls show have begun to dominate the thinking of Americans. The hearing was punctuated by a heckler who called for an end to the war, only to be hustled out. There were also a few glimmerings of a change in the administration's tone on a few subjects.

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