- NEW YORK (AP) -- Time magazine is investigating the accuracy of a joint
CNN-Time report that United States forces used nerve gas in a mission to
hunt down American defectors during the Vietnam War.
- The article by CNN journalists was published
in the magazine two weeks ago, a day after it was aired by the network.
Both organizations are owned by Time Warner.
- "We believed that the initial CNN
report and article were based on substantial evidence," Time managing
editor Walter Isaacson said in a letter to readers in this week's edition.
"But we feel that the doubts raised deserve full exploration. So we
plan to keep reporting this story."
- Noting that a Pentagon investigation
into the matter was expected to be completed soon, he added: "When
we get more of these facts and, we hope, a clearer picture of what may
have happened, we will report them to you, correct any mistakes and try
to clarify any disputes that remain."
- The report accused the military of using
sarin gas during Operation Tailwind in Laos, in which two U.S. defectors
were supposedly killed, and in other missions. It quoted several Special
Forces soldiers who said they were involved in the operation.
- In addition, it quoted retired Adm. Thomas
Moorer, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff at the time, as confirming
the use of sarin. But after the report he said he had simply heard of unconfirmed
stories about it and had no independent knowledge.
- According to today's New York Times,
April Oliver, CNN's producer of the story by correspondent Peter Arnett,
decided to exclude information that one of the soldiers she interviewed
had repressed all memory of that day's events for 24 years until she began
- Jack Smith, a longtime CNN producer who
worked with Ms. Oliver on the piece, explained that he "felt very
strongly" that the soldier "was telling us what really happened
in that camp."
- Last week, CNN military analyst Perry
Smith, a retired major general, quit in protest, calling the report "sleazy
- In an interview in The New York Times
today, Isaacson said: "I trust CNN's journalistic standards. They
did a story for us that was based on a lot of evidence. If some of that
evidence is now suspect, that is something we plan to report to our readers,
once we get to the bottom of it."