We now know the reason behind Joe Klein’s embarrasingly bad and misleading piece on FISA in this week’s Time, aside from Klein’s laziness and inside-the-Beltway blinders: his central source was right-wing crazy Congressman Peter Hoekstra, last seen claiming that we actually had found WMDs in Iraq.
This much in and of itself might be reason for Klein’s temporary suspension from Time. But, as the Ginsu ad might say: wait, there’s more.
Klein issued a non-correction correction the other day on the Time blog, in which he pretty much skirted around the issue, but said that his source was “an intelligence community source who deals with the FISA Court.”
As John McEnroe would say: you cannot be serious.
If Hoekstra is the source for the article, and if that is the same source as Klein lists here–both plausible assumptions, then Klein has willfully misled his readers into thinking that a right-wing Republican congressman is a member of a professional “intelligence community.” This is a grotesque journalistic corruption, reminiscent of Judith Miller’s agreeing to source Scooter Libby as a “former Hill staffer.”
If this is in fact the case–and the details are still slightly unclear–then Klein should be fired. Not for making a mistake–we all do that. And not for gullibly buying Republican spin, although that would be justification. It would be for essentially lying to 4 million people about the sources he has and their credibility.