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Thursday, 16 September 2021 10:09

Reuters scribes claim exclusive three years after it came to light Featured

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Reuters scribes claim exclusive three years after it came to light Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

A story about US mercenaries going to work for the UAE Government, without obtaining the necessary American clearances, was claimed as an exclusive in 2019 by two Reuters reporters – even though the yarn had already been told three years earlier by a reporter for The Intercept.

The Intercept's tale, written by Jenna McLaughlin, was published in October 2016, while the Reuters yarn, authored by Joel Schectman and Christopher Bing, ran in January 2019.

The claim of exclusivity by Bing and Schectman was made both in the 2016 story and a story on Wednesday about three mercenaries, who had worked for the UAE Government, making a deal with the US Department of Justice to avoid going to jail.

first reported

The Reuters claim to have first reported the mercenary tale, made in Wednesday's report.

At no stage, was any mention made of the fact that McLaughlin had laid out a similar story nearly three years before Bing and Schectman even got on the starting blocks.

McLaughlin was low-key about it, just noting in a tweet on Wednesday: "Just gonna drop this from 2016 right here," and providing a link to her story.

She also pointed to a link for a story on the same topic, which she had written for Foreign Policy in 2017.

But veteran security reporter Ryan Naraine was more blunt, tweeting: "Shoutout to @JennaMC_Laugh for pwning this story way back in 2016 and 2017, long before the Reuters exclusive investigation."

And ahead of him, another Twitter user, who has the handle KymPossible, wrote: "I read these articles when @JennaMC_Laugh originally published them & find myself extremely irritated that Reuters now acts like they’re the first to report & don’t mention her earlier work despite some of it being FOR REUTERS. Women’s contributions are erased too damn often."

Well known infosec veteran Charlie Miller responded by tweeting, "Yea I thought I was going crazy."


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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