Michelle Malkin managed to get Representative Barney Frank on the telephone, and he confirms that Eason Jordan did, in fact, accuse the American military of targeting journalists for assassination:
Just got off the phone with Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who spoke with me about Easongate. Rep. Frank was on the panel at Davos.
Rep. Frank said Eason Jordan did assert that there was deliberate targeting of journalists by the U.S. military. After Jordan made the statement, Rep. Frank said he immediately “expressed deep skepticism.” Jordan backed off (slightly), Rep. Frank said, “explaining that he wasn’t saying it was the policy of the American military to target journalists, but that there may have been individual cases where they were targeted by younger personnel who were not properly disciplined.”
Rep. Frank said he didn’t pay attention to the audience reaction at the time of the panel, but recalled that Sen. Dodd was “somewhat disturbed” and “somewhat exercised” and that moderator David Gergen also said Jordan’s assertions were “disturbing if true.” I have a call in to Sen. Dodd’s office and sent an e-mail inquiry to Gergen.
I asked Rep. Frank again if his recollection was that Jordan initially maintained that the military had a deliberate policy of targeting journalists. Rep. Frank affirmed that, noting that Jordan subsequently backed away orally and in e-mail that it was official policy, but “left open the question” of whether there were individual cases in which American troops targeted journalists.
After the panel was over and he returned to the U.S., Rep. Frank said he called Jordan and expressed willingness to pursue specific cases if there was any credible evidence that any American troops targeted journalists. “Give me specifics,” Rep. Frank said he told Jordan.
Rep. Frank has not yet heard back yet from Jordan.
Well, nobody has heard from Jordan, and the reason is that he doesn’t have any evidence to back up his charges. Instead, he and CNN want to withdraw the charges, claiming that he was misunderstood. But there were too many witnesses, including Barney Frank, who strikes me as an honest man, notwithstanding that I disagree with him on almost every issue.
This story is playing out in excruciatingly slow motion, but the ending has already been written: Eason Jordan is finished.
UPDATE (by Deacon): Michelle now has also spoken with David Gergen, who moderated the Davos panel. According to Gergen (who has known Jordan for 20 years), Jordan did say that that journalists in Iraq had been targeted by military “on both sides.” Jordan then “realized as soon as the words had left his mouth that he had gone too far” and “walked himself back.” Gergen told Michelle that he asked Jordan point blank whether he believed the policy of the U.S. military was to sanction the targeting of journalists. According to Gergen, Jordan answered no, but then proceeded to speculate about a few incidents involving journalists killed in the Middle East–a discussion which Gergen decided to close down because “the military and the government weren’t there to defend themselves.”
Thus, in Gergen’s account, Jordan does not appear to have “walked himself back” far enough for Gergen to think it appropriate for the discussion to continue.