Here's what happened. On October 23rd, just 2 weeks before the election, Strobel claimed Bush planned to establish diplomatic ties with Iran:
The Bush administration will announce in mid-November, after the presidential election, that it intends to establish the first U.S. diplomatic presence in Iran since the 1979-81 hostage crisis, according to senior Bush administration officials.Notice Strobel pointedly referred to "mid-November" and "after the presidential election." That was purposeful, because it was intended by Strobel and his unnamed sources to protect Obama against potential allegations that Obama was soft on Iran. Iran didn't become an issue after October 23, but if it did, Strobel and McClatchy would be ready to counter: "If Bush isn't afraid to have diplomatic ties to Iran, Obama won't be afraid, either!"
Nowhere in the piece did Strobel name his source or quote anybody to talk about planned diplomatic relations with Iran. That should be a red flag.
Well, Wednesday, Strobel's pre-election "scoop" turned out to be garbage -- Bush won't establish ties after all.
So what's going on here? Strobel won't level with you, but I'll tell you the game Strobel plays. Strobel has a rolodex of Democrats who work for government agencies who sometimes have access to classified info. Some of these contacts hate GW Bush -- and McCain -- and are prowling for any info that could damage Bush or Republicans. When they come across some tidbit that could be used against Bush, they call Strobel and give him the info. Cowards that they are, they remain anonymous.
In this case, a pro-Obama Democrat inside one of the agencies called Strobel to tell him about a "mid-November" plan to establish diplomatic ties with Iran. Only it was total bunk -- or an exaggeration of a contingency plan -- meant to help Obama two weeks before the election. And by publishing the item without anybody going on the record, Strobel now has egg on his face.
One more thing -- notice Strobel says he got the news from "senior Bush administration officials." That's another part of the game Strobel plays. He words it that way to make it sound like these are Bush people. But they're not. Strobel's sources are civil service Democrats who work for the CIA or the State Department or the NSA. They were there before GW Bush and they will continue into Obama's administration. So Strobel compounds his sin by giving readers misleading information about the bias and self-interest of his sources.
Truth to Power?