Free Beacon by Bill Gertz
New report contradicts whistleblower claims of Marine negligence in failing to get MRAPs to Iraq
The story on the front page of USA Today in 2007 made a sensational claim: Military leaders in wartime had failed to provide troops in Iraq being killed by roadside bombs with mine-resistant jeeps.
"Pentagon balked at pleas for safer vehicles," read the headline. The story went on to assert that the Marine Corps, in particular, was negligent for waiting 19 months before responding to an urgent request for mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAPs.
Democrats in the Senate pounced on the story to attack then-President George W. Bush over Iraq. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, flanked by other Democratic leaders, went before news reporters the day the story came out waving the newspaper in front of cameras as proof the president was failing to take care of American troops in a war.
Much of the information for the story came from a Marine Corps scientist, Franz Gayl, who had been put in touch with the article's authors by Erin Logan, a staff member for then-senator Joe Biden (D., Del.).