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Monday, March 22 2004

Jack Kelley's terror tale

USA Today's Jack Kelley has been dismissed after the paper found he fabricated many of his stories.

One of Kelley's biggest stories was his claim to have personally witnessed the Sbarro's pizzaria bombing in Jerusalem in 2001, which earned him a Pulizer nomination. But USA Today reporters now say he probably made the whole thing up:

Perhaps the most riveting story Jack Kelley wrote for USA TODAY involved a suicide bombing in Jerusalem on Aug. 9, 2001 — a bombing Kelley says he witnessed. Afterward, Kelley spoke about the bombing often — first for, then on cable TV and in speeches.

Two witnesses contacted by USA TODAY put Kelley at the scene within minutes of the bombing.

On Thursday, Kelley stood behind his eyewitness account. "I know what I saw," he said.

But what really happened that day, based on police records and interviews with rescue workers and others at the scene, differs substantially from Kelley's Aug. 10 account.

Read the whole thing, which goes on to detail the problems with Kelley's account of the attack.

While the growing critical oversight by editorial desks is certainly a good thing, the Kelley affair leaves us wondering how many other Mideast reporters have 'enhanced' their stories over the years...



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