On Monday, I looked at a memo posted by Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol, one that he said was “circulating widely on Capitol Hill.” According to the memo, Aaron David Miller had interviewed Chuck Hagel for a 2008 book on America’s relationship with Israel, and Hagel had said “The political reality is that … the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.” After looking at the text of Miller’s book, I didn’t see the “political reality” portion of the quote, and dubbed the quote “phony.”
I was wrong. The Washington Free Beacon points out that the “political reality” line came in Hagel’s interview for the book, which was published in full, separately.
I apologize to Kristol – even though I was criticizing the memo, not its publisher, it’s no small thing to accuse someone of passing on bogus info. And I apologize to readers, who should expect more diligence from me than just looking at the edited text of an interview. Parenthetically, the fact that Hagel’s critics have dug this deep this early says something about how ready they are. (I’m indifferent to a Hagel nomination, but I jump when I think an accusation is fishy. This one wasn’t.)