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CIA directs the work of Al-Jazeera

The document showed that the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency that offer guidance to each month and reports on his mistakes and disadvantages.

The document reveals a secret interview between Waddah Khanfar and Public Affairs Official (CIA) at the U.S. Embassy in Doha on the 19th of October 2005,

No. Wire:
Dated: 20/10/2005
Published by Wiki Leaks on: August 30th of 2011
Category: confidential
Place of Origin: U.S. Embassy in Doha
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Office of the Near East – Public Diplomacy Division
National Security Council Abrams, Department of Defense The Schenker and Mathini
Thread: Public affairs official meets Al-Jazeera director.
Classified as confidential by Ambassador Chase Ontermyer for the reasons 1.4 (b and d)

1 – Summary: public affairs official meets the director of Al-Jazeera Wadah Khanfar on 19 / 10 to discuss their latest report as well as all the other arising issues on Al-Jazeera website on the Internet. Khanfar prepares a justified response in the form of written statements to the Intelligence Agency of Defense for the months of July, August and September. They will be ready as of next week. Khanfar said that the reports mentioned above that have shown a reason for the U.S government to be concerned have been pruned and adjusted to fit a calmer projection. It will also be removed in a period of two to three days. End of Summary
2- In relation to the first theme: Public Affairs Official handed Khanfar unofficial clippings containing an outline of points from the Intelligence Agency of Defense for months of July, August and September.

Khanfar said he recently received copies of the reinforced clippings for the months of July and August through the Katar Ministry of Foreign Affairs and he was getting ready to send back a written response to them. He said he will guarantee the delivery of the September report points and pass them to the public affairs official no later than the next week. He mentions “We need to arrange a more cautious way to receive these reports,” adding that he found one of them (presumably one he had sent through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) “on the fax machine.”

September’s Unclassified Clippings of the Intelligence Agency of Defense.
3-Public affairs official informed Khanfar that despite the drop in negative coverage in the broad sense since February, it appeared again in September, at an alarming increase compared to the previous month through some aired programs. Summing up the latest U.S. government report regarding Al-Jazeera, she pointed that there remains to be some issues to resolve in relation to the double coverage in Iraq and therefore diversity of news sources some including provocative language and failing to portray a balanced projections, instead playing tapes of terrorists and showcasing extremists views.

4 – After reviewing the reports of July and August Khanfar said that he had several observations. Linguistically, he refused to use the word (agreement). He also mentioned regarding the August report, page one, title (the violence in Iraq), the phrase “violation of the agreement the channel made with U.S. officials several months ago, etc.” that was supposed to be an oral not written agreement, and we as a news institution, we cannot sign agreements of this kind, and the matter of this written statement raises concern”.
5-Then he said that in general, the points of the reports fall into three categories, “some are trivial mistakes that we accept and correct”. Within the second Category, said Khanfar, the points quoted in the U.S. government’s reports separate from their context, “This report takes the parts and paragraphs of the Full Article does with no regard to the content,” adding that In some examples during the broadcast day on Al-Jazeera may be balance out a comment or position issued by one person, suspend a different position later in the same program or during the same day, though Al-Jazeera has live broadcasting 24 hours a week, which makes it possible to provide the required balance momentarily. He said the report fails to mention a few adjustments that have happened within the hour during the following news announcement. Thirdly, said Khanfar, some directives are less attainable then others such as using terrorist tapes “We have always said we would, we play those tapes and will continue to do so, but the question is how. We do not use any tape as is” meaning that the tapes are always analyzed and modified according to the news section it’s being portrayed through. As for the use of inflammatory language, said Khanfar, it is in the channel’s best interest to use balanced unbiased language. In fact, reporters and broadcasters are not allowed to do so.
The report focuses on the provocative language used by the guests in the interviews, “How can I control what is said by the people? I can only control my employees on Al-Jazeera and all I can do is attempt to balance what the guests say in other parts of the program”

6 – Making a general statement regarding the reports he receives, Khanfar says they are unbalanced and want the focus to be strictly on the negatives, ” such a report must contain the two different sides. They do not give recognition to the voice we provided for the American spokesmen this whole time. It’s not easy to find official militarily speakers but we do our best. There was no mention as well of Al Jazeera’s diverse coverage of the referendum in Iraq. The station provided 12 hours of continuous coverage, and voiced the opinions of all participants in the process: the Kurds, the Shiites, the Sunnis, the Americans, the British and others. “I would like to actually see that in the next month’s report.” Khanfar relayed that he will be answering to the public affairs official’s reports more delicately providing more details on all of the points.

7-Disturbing materials at Al-Jazeera’s site: Public affairs official raised the issue of a topic posted on Al-Jazeera site this past week in the special coverage section titled “a living testimony of Tal Afar,” The opening shot in one of leaves stained with blood and riddled with bullets. The viewer presses the bullet holes to get to the tenth witness (eye witnesses) presumably describing recent military operations in Tal Afar.

8 – Khanfar said that based on a previous promise he made to the public affairs official, he revised one of the topics and removed two images associated with it (two wounded children on hospital beds and a woman seriously injured). The official thought that a doctor’s testimonial is enough to trigger unnecessary tension. She also refers to the topic relating to the use of poisoned gases on the people of Tal Afar as well as the blood thriving bullets. This news in her mind participates in creating a biased and questionable press. Khanfar held in a sigh, but said he will be taking the article off though “not immediately, because that would arise doubt, but in two or three days”.
He had notified the workers on the site that in the future when they want to add an article to the “special coverage” section, they should send a copy of the draft to his office first (Note: The management Al-Jazeera’s online site is located in a separate remote building). He said, two or three months prior to this incident, the workers of the site had a lot more freedom of posts, but now the site manager Abdul Aziz Al Mahmoud prepares the editorial meetings now in the offices of the station. The employees must undergo a similar checkup. Khanfar said “I cannot guarantee that similar articles will not rise up on the site again, it’s an ongoing learning process”.

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