The New York Times just made quite an enemy. James Comey, the director of the FBI, wrote an angry letter to the Times, blasting it for quoting an anonymous source in Al Qaeda. The quote appeared in an article about the timing of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
“Your decision to grant anonymity to a spokesperson for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula so he could clarify the role of his group in assassinating innocents, including a wounded police officer, and distinguish it from the assassination of other innocents in Paris in the name of another group of terrorists, is both mystifying and disgusting,” wrote Comey.
Yikes. If that wasn’t bad enough, Comey added “I fear you have lost your way and urge you to reconsider allowing your newspaper to be used by those who have murdered so many and work every day to murder more.”
Despite the tongue lashing (letter lashing?) from Comey, the Times’ international managing editor, Michael Slackman, defended the Times’ choice.
“The individual quoted anonymously has for several weeks provided accurate insight and information into the thinking and actions of AQAP,” said Slackman. “The material was generally central to the news, in one case noting that Al Qaeda and the Islamic State had not jointly planned the attacks in Paris.”