On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal fired their chief foreign affairs correspondent, Jay Solomon, after uncovering evidence that he was involved in prospective commercial deals, which include arms sales to foreign governments, with one of his main sources, international businessman Farhad Azima, who ferried weapons for the CIA.
Whether or not Solomon actually received money or accepted a stake in Azima's company, Denx LLC, he was offered 10 percent by the Iranian-born aviation magnate, according to the Associated Press.
"We are dismayed by the actions and poor judgment of Jay Solomon," Wall Street Journal spokesman Steve Severinghaus wrote in a statement to The Associated Press. "While our own investigation continues, we have concluded that Mr. Solomon violated his ethical obligations as a reporter, as well as our standards."
The AP reports:
Azima was the subject of an AP investigative article published Tuesday. During the course of its investigation, the AP obtained emails and text messages between Azima and Solomon, as well as an operating agreement for Denx dated March 2015, which listed an apparent stake for Solomon.
As part of its reporting, the AP had asked the Journal about the documents appearing to link Solomon and Azima. The relationship was uncovered in interviews and in internal documents that Azima's lawyer said were stolen by hackers.
Two other Denx partners — ex-CIA employees Gary Bernsten and Scott Modell — told the AP that Solomon was involved in discussing proposed deals with Azima at the same time he continued to cultivate the businessman as a source for his stories for the Journal. Bernsten and Modell said Solomon withdrew from the venture shortly after business efforts began and that the venture never added up to much. They provided no evidence as to when Solomon withdrew.
The emails and texts reviewed by the AP — tens of thousands of pages covering more than eight years — included more than 18 months of communications involving the apparent business effort. Some messages described a need for Solomon's Social Security number to file the company's taxes, but there was no evidence Solomon provided it.
The documents mentioned above can be found here.
“In an April 2015 email, Azima wrote to Solomon about a proposal for a $725 million air-operations, surveillance and reconnaissance support contract with the United Arab Emirates that would allow planes to spy on activity inside nearby Iran. Solomon was supposed to ferry the proposal to UAE government representatives at a lunch the following day,” the AP reported. “Under the proposed UAE deal, Azima’s firms were to manage specially equipped surveillance planes to monitor activity in Iran, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.” “We all wish best of luck to Jay on his first defense sale,” Azima wrote to Solomon,
“We all wish best of luck to Jay on his first defense sale,” Azima wrote to Solomon, Bernsten, and Modell.
After his firing, WSJ began scrutinizing hundreds of the articles written by Solomon.
"I clearly made mistakes in my reporting and entered into a world I didn't understand." Solomon told the AP on Wednesday. "I never entered into any business with Farhad Azima, nor did I ever intend to. But I understand why the emails and the conversations I had with Mr. Azima may look like I was involved in some seriously troubling activities. I apologize to my bosses and colleagues at the Journal, who were nothing but great to me."
WSJ said that Solomon had "forfeited our trust."
In commenting on the CIA's ties to mainstream media outlets, Claire Bernish wrote:
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This isn’t the first time a mainstream outlet brushed elbows with the Central Intelligence Agency — though, most notably, this time, occurred after passage of the 2017 NDAA, which included the creation of the U.S. Government’s own de facto Ministry of Propaganda.
Purveyor of a lengthy list of unsourced, unproven, and otherwise questionable articles, the Washington Post, has a gauzy connection to the CIA, as well, given its newest owner, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, entered into a $600 million contract with the agency the same year he purchased the outlet — expectedly, each party invoked plausible deniability, as that deal pertained only to Amazon, and your government would never do anything like that. Trust them.
If a loose allegation of media ties to one of the most notoriously nefarious U.S. government agencies in history sounds a far reach, the aforementioned NDAA provision shovels taxpayer dollars at a network of programs to instill through media in Americans a pro-America, pro-War Machine, pro-establishment patriotism — or, more aptly, pliant, compliant, obedient plebeians.
That a Wall Street Journal employee might have come to be dealing with an arms associate of the CIA, then, is at least a development worth noting — as the once-firm line between the State and the Press melts more each day.