Fox News' Brit Hume said that the Associated Press "has been vindicated" over its report of six Iraqis who were purportedly burned alive, after the source for that article, Jamil Hussein, whose existence has been a subject of dispute among many conservative bloggers, was reportedly confirmed by Iraq's Interior Ministry to be an Iraqi police captain.
Fox News' Washington managing editor Brit Hume reported on January 4 that "the Associated Press says the Iraqi Interior Ministry has acknowledged" the existence of Iraqi police Capt. Jamil Hussein, who was a source for a November 24 Associated Press article in which the AP reported that "Shiite militiamen doused six Sunni Arabs with kerosene and burned them alive as Iraqi soldiers stood by." That report has been a target of fierce criticism by conservative bloggers, many of whom suggested that Hussein did not exist. Two days after reporting former CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan's claim that he found no evidence to prove the existence of Hussein, Hume said that "the AP, it appears, has been vindicated."
As noted by Media Matters for America columnist Eric Boehlert, spurred by the U.S. Central Command's claim that the attacks the AP reported could not be corroborated and that there was no Baghdad police captain named Jamil Hussein, conservative bloggers seized on the then-disputed Hussein story "to advance their phony notion that the press is to blame for the Iraq fiasco."
The AP reported on January 4:
The Interior Ministry acknowledged Thursday that an Iraqi police officer whose existence had been denied by the Iraqis and the U.S. military is in fact an active member of the force, and said he now faces arrest for speaking to the media.
Ministry spokesman Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, who had previously denied there was any such police employee as Capt. Jamil Hussein, said in an interview that Hussein is an officer assigned to the Khadra police station, as had been reported by The Associated Press.
From the January 2 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:
HUME: A former top executive at CNN is calling out the Associated Press, saying he could find no evidence that one of its top Iraqi sources actually exists. Eason Jordan, who now runs a website devoted to Iraq news, says neither he nor the government's news outlets and bloggers trying to track down Iraqi police Captain Jamil Hussein have been able to turn up even a family member, friend, or colleague, and the AP isn't helping.
A spokesman says Hussein, who has been quoted in dozens of AP stories and is often critical of the U.S., is someone they've talked to for years, but she would not respond to critics' demands to prove his existence.
From the January 4 edition of Special Report:
HUME: And the Associated Press says the Iraqi Interior Ministry has acknowledged now that an Iraqi police officer whose existence had been widely -- had been denied even by both the Iraqis and the U.S. is in fact an active member of the force, who now faces arrest for speaking to the media. Captain Jamil Hussein was one of the sources for an AP story last November about the burning and shooting of six people during a Shiite militia attack at a Sunni mosque. The AP was widely accused at the time of making up Hussein's identity in order to disseminate false news about the war. No explanation was offered about why it took so long to confirm his name or why it is being disclosed now, but the AP, it appears, has been vindicated on this.