BBC defends Iran attack web story

By Marcus Dysch, August 23, 2012

The BBC has defended a story based on a fake document outlining the possible scale of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The corporation altered the headline on its website article which focused on the claims of Richard Silverstein, a Seattle-based liberal Jewish blogger.

Mr Silverstein had claimed that he had received a secret document from an Israeli army officer via an ex-minister.

The BBC story originally carried a headline stating definitively that the evidence came from a leaked Israel memo, but it was later changed to make clear that the information was from an alleged Israeli source.

In fact, part of the supposed “evidence” had been lifted from fictitious material on a blog, translated from Hebrew into English and presented to Mr Silverstein as the views of top-level Israeli officials.

Following criticisms of the article, a BBC spokesman said: “This was an analysis piece looking at Richard Silverstein’s claims which have become part of the public debate about the wisdom of launching an attack against Iran.

“The piece is caveated throughout making it very clear that this is what Mr Silverstein believes, but that it is impossible to verify if it is an Israeli cabinet paper of some kind or not.”

Last updated: 10:34am, August 23 2012