Termination by the Wall Street Journal of chief foreign affairs correspondent, Jay Solomon, over “ethical lapses” for his substantial involvement with a CIA arms smuggler might be the outcome the ‘journalist’ deserved — but that the firing and its extenuating circumstances pertain to a corporate media reporter’s CIA connections might be more than revealing.
According to the Associated Press, Solomon “was offered a 10 percent stake in a fledgling company, Denx LLC, by Farhad Azima, an Iranian-born aviation magnate who has ferried weapons for the CIA. It was not clear whether Solomon ever received money or formally accepted a stake in the company.”
Azima, Antiwar’s Jason Ditz wrote of the AP report, “ an Iran-born magnate who had ferried weapons for the CIA, and founded a company, Denx LLC, that was trying to make a deal with the United Arab Emirates on a surveillance scheme intended to spy on Iran.
“Solomon had been using Azima as a key source in his reporting for years, and the AP story found Azima offered Solomon a 10% stake in Denx LLC. Among the services Solomon was expected to provide was to secure a meeting with a top UAE official to sell him on the surveillance proposal.”
Documents — which Solomon, through his attorney, claim had been hacked — obtained by the Associated Press included emails and text messages exchanged between Solomon and Azima, and included an operating agreement for Denx listing the now-former WSJ reporter as an interested party.
Ex-CIA employees and Denx partners, Gary Bernsten and Scott Modell, told the AP Solomon maintained Azima as a source even after the pair’s business relationship matured, but withdrew from the venture not long after dealings began. Neither divulged when Solomon actually withdrew.
“In an April 2015 email, Azima wrote to Solomon about a proposal for a $725 million air-operations, surveillance and reconnaissance support contract with the United Arab Emirates that would allow planes to spy on activity inside nearby Iran. Solomon was supposed to ferry the proposal to UAE government representatives at a lunch the following day,” the AP reports.
“Under the proposed UAE deal, Azima’s firms were to manage specially equipped surveillance planes to monitor activity in Iran, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.”
“We all wish best of luck to Jay on his first defense sale,” Azima wrote to Solomon, Bernsten, and Modell.
Terminating Solomon might have been necessary according to Wall Street Journal ethics policy, but that the reporter’s peers knew he sourced information from Azima for years calls to question whether the depth of his CIA ties might have been ignored.
“We are dismayed by the actions and poor judgment of Jay Solomon,” Wall Street Journal spokesman Steve Severinghaus wrote in a statement to The Associated Press. “While our own investigation continues, we have concluded that Mr. Solomon violated his ethical obligations as a reporter, as well as our standards. He has not been forthcoming with us about his actions or his reporting practices and he has forfeited our trust. Mr. Solomon is no longer employed by The Wall Street Journal.”
For his part, Solomon albeit apologetically shirked blame by pleading ignorance of his role in the CIA’s lucrative arms-running cartel, telling the AP,
“I clearly made mistakes in my reporting and entered into a world I didn’t understand. never entered into any business with Farhad Azima, nor did I ever intend to. But I understand why the emails and the conversations I had with Mr. Azima may look like I was involved in some seriously troubling activities. I apologize to my bosses and colleagues at the Journal, who were nothing but great to me.”
Maudlin overtones aside, this appears superficially as a case of press gone bad for a source; at worst, a journalist motivated by money and notoriety foregoing journalistic ethics and moral fortitude in the pursuit of both.
But, while neither accomplishes any restoration of faith in the corporate-funded press as a force for integrity, a minor detail of association knocks the mainstream’s presstitutes down several pegs.
This isn’t the first time a mainstream outlet brushed elbows with the Central Intelligence Agency — though, most notably, this time, occurred after passage of the 2017 NDAA, which included the creation of the U.S. Government’s own de facto Ministry of Propaganda.
Purveyor of a lengthy list of unsourced, unproven, and otherwise questionable articles, the Washington Post, has a gauzy connection to the CIA, as well, given its newest owner, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, entered into a $600 million contract with the agency the same year he purchased the outlet — expectedly, each party invoked plausible deniability, as that deal pertained only to Amazon, and your government would never do anything like that. Trust them.
If a loose allegation of media ties to one of the most notoriously nefarious U.S. government agencies in history sounds a far reach, the aforementioned NDAA provision shovels taxpayer dollars at a network of programs to instill through media in Americans a pro-America, pro-War Machine, pro-establishment patriotism — or, more aptly, pliant, compliant, obedient plebeians.
That a Wall Street Journal employee might have come to be dealing with an arms associate of the CIA, then, is at least a development worth noting — as the once-firm line between the State and the Press melts more each day.
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Contributed by Claire Bernish of The Daily Sheeple.