David Kurtz

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.

Articles by David

Via Laura Rozen, I see we have another journalism fraud exposed. This time it's a pseudo-expert in national security matters named Alexis Debat:

Debat is a well-known "expert" in Washington with an impressive resume: He serves as a fellow at the Nixon Center, a conservative think tank; he collaborates with The National Interest; a quarterly journal of international affairs; he has been consultant to ABC News for years. He belongs to the "expert market" of Washington DC. He appears credible, and the media often quotes him on matters pertaining to terrorism and Islam. . . .

Alexis Debat is a strange character, with a resume that changes depending on who he is talking to. Once he claimed to our colleague Guillemette Faure, a reporter for Le Figaro, that he got his PhD in political science from Edenvale University, in Great Britain, a university which proved to be a a fraud.

Another time, he said that he received his PhD from the University of Sorbonne. But that's not true either. "He manufactured his doctorate. I had the document which he manufactured in my hands," says André Kaspi, a professor of North American history at the Sorbonne. Debat does not deny a "conflict" with the Sorbonne, but refuses to elaborate.

What apparently got Debat in trouble was publishing in a French magazine what purported to be an interview with Barack Obama, except Obama's people say no such interview actually occurred. Hard to figure how Debat thought that would slip by. But Debat's strange story doesn't end there. And as Laura notes, there's more to this story that has yet to be satisfactorily explained.

Late Update: Mr. Debat provided TPM with a written response to this post which can be viewed in full here.

Sen. Feingold (D-WI) presses Petraeus and Crocker hard on whether Iraq has distracted from the fight against al Qaeda in Pakistan.

Perhaps it's time Congress heard from military leaders other than Gen. Petraeus:

NEWSWEEK has learned that a separate internal report being prepared by a Pentagon working group will “differ substantially” from Petraeus’s recommendations, according to an official who is privy to the ongoing discussions but would speak about them only on condition of anonymity. An early version of the report, which is currently being drafted and is expected to be completed by the beginning of next year, will “recommend a very rapid reduction in American forces: as much as two-thirds of the existing force very quickly, while keeping the remainder there.” The strategy will involve unwinding the still large U.S. presence in big forward operation bases and putting smaller teams in outposts. “There is interest at senior levels [of the Pentagon] in getting alternative views” to Petraeus, the official said. Among others, Centcom commander Admiral William Fallon is known to want to draw down faster than Petraeus.

Yesterday, Petraeus testified that Adm. Fallon and the Joint Chiefs support his recommendations. Why take his word for it?

The takeaway from yesterday's round of Iraq hearings: President Bush is content to leave the hard decisions on Iraq for the next President.

Spencer will be providing ongoing coverage at TPMmuckraker today of the second round of hearings. First up is the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this morning, followed by the Senate Armed Services Committee this afternoon.