Did anyone else see Scott Ritter’s deeply personal attack on David Albright?
It is high time the mainstream media began dealing with David Albright for what he is (a third-rate reporter and analyst), and what he isn’t (a former U.N. weapons inspector, doctor, nuclear physicist or nuclear expert). It is time for David Albright, the accidental inspector, to exit stage right. Issues pertaining to nuclear weapons and their potential proliferation are simply too serious to be handled by amateurs and dilettantes.
I wasn’t sure whether I ought to mention the piece at all, especially after talking with a few colleagues who know David much better than I do. He seems to be taking the high-road.
Then a colleague of mine sent an e-mail with what I thought was a fair-minded response to the article. Said colleague was reluctant to let me post it — having to be anonymous and feeling that wasn’t quite fair — but I thought the commentary was too good not to share:
This is way over the top. Let’s grant that David Albright is a flawed human being. But he’s hardly alone in that, and if he stretches his credentials a bit, he may not be the only one, or even the worst offender. Ritter is no PhD nuclear physicist, either, and it does him little credit to level charges of this type against another person.
The article may have been triggered by Albright’s recent publication on the Swiss laptop, but it is their differences on the Iran issue that really seem to inspire Ritter to conduct this airstrike. (Of course, the Swiss case does have implications for Iran.) Notice, by contrast, how effusively Ritter praises Albright on North Korea.
It’s painfully apparent that Ritter is parlaying his experience in Iraq and his early opposition to the Iraq war into a thin veneer of expertise concerning Iran. Consider the following passage from this article:
“While Iran did indeed possess uranium enrichment capability at Natanz and a heavy water plant (under construction) at Arak (as reported by Albright thanks to information provided by the Iranian opposition group MEK, most probably with the help of Israeli intelligence)…”
Anyone follows these issues closely enough will realize from the above that Ritter is not adequately familiar with the convoluted history of public disclosures concerning Iran’s nuclear programs.
Add to that the strong and sour whiff of jealousy emanating from this article. One guy did a single tour in Iraq and gets quoted in the New York Times and Washington Post on a regular basis; the other guy did many years there, and after a brief moment of celebrity, is now ignored.
That may explain Ritter’s collateral attack on the reputation of Mahdi Obeidi. I’ve never heard anyone question his credibility or relevance before, but it was Albright who made him famous and got him out of Iraq. Reading between the lines, one gets a sense that Ritter thinks he himself should have been the one.
But let’s clear away the clutter. For good or for bad, what a person produces is his best credential. Thanks in large part to his access to sources, David Albright produces analysis that is impossible to ignore. Others — people who no longer seem to have access, for whatever reasons, and are inclined to pen red-meat political tracts and personal attacks — fall into another category.