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US Army: AP Photographer Captured with Al Qaeda Leader

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Arrested Pulitzer Prize winning Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein, who took the infamous pictures of a terrorist execution on Haifa Street in Baghdad, and is notorious in the blogosphere for his collusion with jihadis as they tried to kill Americans, is the subject of a very lengthy attempt by the AP to whitewash his acts: U.S. holds AP photographer in Iraq 5 mos. (Hat tip: Michelle Malkin.)

The AP spins furiously and buries it in the middle, but here’s some interesting information from the US Army:

The military said Hussein was captured with two insurgents, including Hamid Hamad Motib, an alleged leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. “He has close relationships with persons known to be responsible for kidnappings, smuggling, improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and other attacks on coalition forces,” according to a May 7 e-mail from U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jack Gardner, who oversees all coalition detainees in Iraq.

“The information available establishes that he has relationships with insurgents and is afforded access to insurgent activities outside the normal scope afforded to journalists conducting legitimate activities,” Gardner wrote to AP International Editor John Daniszewski.

Hussein proclaims his innocence, according to his Iraqi lawyer, Badie Arief Izzat, and believes he has been unfairly targeted because his photos from Ramadi and Fallujah were deemed unwelcome by the coalition forces.

That Hussein was captured at the same time as insurgents doesn’t make him one of them, said Kathleen Carroll, AP’s executive editor. “Journalists have always had relationships with people that others might find unsavory,” she said. “We’re not in this to choose sides, we’re to report what’s going on from all sides.”

Notice: the Associated Press received this information from the Army four months ago in May, but did not reveal it until now.

UPDATE at 9/17/06 10:14:22 am:

Correction: I’ve just received an email from the Associated Press (that was quick) saying that Bilal Hussein did not take the photos of the execution on Haifa Street. (They didn’t dispute anything else in my post.)

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