Concedes to The BRAD BLOG 'no evidence whatsoever connects Saddam to 9/11,' after mea culpa piece suggesting otherwise...
By Brad Friedman on 9/13/2011, 4:09pm PT  

In a lengthy piece in Sunday's New York Times Magazine, former Executive Editor, now opinion piece writer, Bill Keller attempted to come to terms with both his own, and his paper's, major failures during the lead-up and follow-through in the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

While Keller eventually comes around to admitting that both he and the paper got it wrong (albeit with lots of justifications for the failures along the way) he continued to hedge one very crucial bet in just the fifth paragraph, as he wrote [emphasis ours]:

...Iraq, a place that had, in the literal sense, almost nothing to do with 9/11, but which would be its most contentious consequence.

We have been attempting to contact Keller since Sunday, asking via both email and Twitter:

"Almost"? Okay, I'll bite. What exactly was Iraq's role in 9/11?

Today Keller replied, admitting that that part of his Sunday story --- a story about the Times' costly failure of getting the Iraq War wrong --- was wrong as well...

Brad,

Fair point. "Almost" is one of those wiggle words writers use to allow for the possibility they might have missed something. I know of no evidence whatsoever that connects Saddam to 9/11, and I assume the widespread popular belief that there is some connection is a myth. But of course it's hard to prove a negative, so it's cautious - perhaps over-cautious - to say a connection is unproven rather than disproven.

Best,
Bill

But, of course, Keller hadn't written that a connection between Iraq and 9/11 was "unproven," as he avers in his response above. He asserted, in no uncertain terms, as late as this past Sunday, a full 10 years since 9/11, in an article meant to come to terms with his paper's --- "the paper of record's" --- unspeakably costly inaccuracies, that Iraq had "almost nothing to do with 9/11," suggesting that they had, in fact, had some very small role in it.

There is, of course, no legitimate evidence of such a role, and both Keller and the New York Times should offer an immediate and clear and unhedging correction on that still-very-important point. (Hopefully, it will be a correction unlike the partial corrections they begrudgingly ended up publishing concerning their repeated misreporting on the phony James O'Keefe ACORN "pimp" hoax videos, after we'd spent many months proving to them that they'd gotten it entirely wrong and forcing them to finally offer correction.)