Isikoff Speaks

Michael Isikoff, the embattled author of the controversial Newsweek Koran item, sat with Charlie Rose last night for his first interview since the story broke. Howard Kurtz and the Associated Press have some excerpts this morning:

“It was terrible what happened. Even if it was just a little bit that we contributed to the violence that went on over there, that was awful, terrible.”

“This one reference to the Koran did not leap out to me, to my editors, nor to the Pentagon as something that was especially sensitive or especially incendiary.”

Backing off use of anonymous sources? “I got to tell you, as somebody who ha reported for a long time the intelligence and law enforcement field, that’s going to be tough. Some of the best stories that I’ve gotten, that others have written about this administration, about the previous administration, you have to rely on anonymous sources.”

On Newsweek accepting a non-answer from the Pentagon? “I dropped the ball in not pressing it. No question…bout not trying to get affirmitive confirmation.”

On Rush Limbaugh’s charge that Newsweek wanted the story to be true because of the media’s anti-military bias: “That’s nonsense. It is not true…. There’s nothing that we tak more seriously than the safety of the troops.”

On the long-term effects of the story: “I think this will end up being a blip.”