Ricks of 'Wash Post': Media Focuses on Iran's Aid to Iraqi Insurgents -- But Not Saudi Money

By: E&P Staff For several weeks now, newspaper have been filled with warnings about Iranian weapons allegedly being used in increasing numbers against Americans in Iraq. But little has been said about Saudi money purportedly flowing to the insurgents. Why? Is it the media's fault? Is it simply because Iran is an enemy and Saudi Arabia an ally?

Thomas Ricks, the respected Washington Post military reporter, was asked just that today in an online chat at www.washingtonpost.com.

Austin, Texas: We often see the press repeat the White House talking point about Iran supplying the insurgents with weapons, but we hardly ever see the press actually ask about the pretty well-known trail of money that leads from Saudi Arabia to the insurgents so they can buy those weapons. Is the press afraid of offending Saudi Arabia? Does that go against some establishment policy? Are they unwilling to investigate the source of insurgent funding for that reason?

Thomas E. Ricks: Your question goes to one of the vulnerabilties of journalism. There was a lot of quiet talk among US officers in Iraq about the role Iran was playing in Iraq, especially with sophisticated bombs, but you didn't see much talk in the media about the Iranian role until top US officers and and the Bush Administration started talking about it.

Likewise, if they started talking about the money trail from Saudi Arabian citizens, you'd see more stories about it. But they don't like to talk about it. It is something that many journalists ask about, but you have to have something to print beyond rumor.

Just yesterday I asked a Defense official about this and got almost nothing from him.


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