Reuters reported on Thursday:
The head of the U.S. Marine Corps briefed Rep. John Murtha on the Haditha case after the vocal war critic publicly said Marines had killed innocent civilians in that Iraqi city, the Corps said on Thursday.
(Via Gateway Pundit.)
This contradicts a passage in an L.A. Times article from May:
[Marine Commandant Gen. Michael] Hagee last week briefed key congressional leaders on the upcoming report. One of those, Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), a retired Marine colonel, said later that Marines “killed innocent civilians in cold blood.”
According to the L.A. Times, Hagee briefed Murtha, and Murtha “later” said that Marines killed innocents in cold blood. But we now know that’s wrong — at least according to Hagee.
I was suspicious about this claim at the time, and I wrote the Readers’ Representative in May to ask her to double-check it. I published my e-mail in this post, but never published the response, because it was so unsatisfactory that I didn’t think you’d be interested.
Now I do.
In that exchange, I specifically asked whether Hagee briefed Murtha before Murtha made his public comments about Haditha. The Readers’ Rep replied to say that he had.
But it now appears that the L.A. Times never contacted Hagee to find out whether he really had.
I’ll set forth the entire e-mail exchange below the fold, but the summary is this:
Q. Are you sure Murtha was briefed by Hagee before Murtha spouted off?
A. Yes. The report was accurate. Murtha was briefed.
Q. But was he briefed by Hagee?
A. The report was accurate.
Q. Well, I can see I’m not going to get a direct answer, so I’ll leave it there.
I am sending a follow-up e-mail today.
Here is the whole exchange: