Back on September 16, Amir Taheri published a highly disingenous op-ed arguing that during his trip to Baghdad Barack Obama had tried to persuade Iraqi leaders to postpone concluding a security agreement with the United States during the Bush administration. This led to dark speculation that perhaps Obama had violated the Logan Act prohibiting unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments, along with a variety of attempts to score political points by the McCain campaign.
In response, I pointed out that, among other problems, Taheri's only evidence for his assertions was an interview with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari in al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper which clearly did not even refer to the Baghdad meetings but to his June conversation with Obama in Washington DC. In a follow-up piece, Taheri quoted the entire passage in question... except for the phrase which clearly showed that he had misrepresented the interview. When several Republican participants in Obama's Baghdad meetings told Jake Tapper of ABC News that nothing of the sort had happened, the story seemed dead.
But then Barbara Slavin resurrected the issue with a front page, banner headlined Washington Times piece entitled "Obama tried to sway Iraqis on U.S. troop deal." She at least correctly tied Zebari's al-Sharq al-Awsat interview to the June meeting in DC. But oddly, for such a prominently placed and unambiguously titled story, she presented no new evidence about what had happened in that meeting, other than a quote from Iraqi Ambassador Samir Sumaidaie - who admitted that he had not been present during the conversation. She couldn't get Zebari to comment.
But CNN could:
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama did not urge Iraqi officials to delay a decision on a security agreement with the United States, Iraq's foreign minister told CNN on Sunday.
The statement by Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari refutes a recent published report and a statement by Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin that Obama tried to influence Iraqi politicians negotiating with the United States to score political points.
Obama "never, ever discouraged us not to sign the agreement," Zebari said. "I think this was misrepresented, and I have clarified this case in a number of interviews back in the United States recently."
That wasn't so hard. One would think the story is now dead, but we all know that these zombies never stop coming back to try and eat your brains.