January 21, 2013
How Dubious Facts About Iran Spread
Justin Elliot, ProPublica
Several media outlets reported this month on an alarming finding from a new U.S. government study: Iran's intelligence ministry, as CNN put it, constitutes "a terror and assassination force 30,000 strong."
The claim that the intelligence ministry has a whopping 30,000 employees, first reported by a conservative website, spread to other outlets including Wired and the public radio show the Takeaway and landed elsewhere online, even on the intelligence ministry's Wikipedia page. All cited the new government study, put out by an arm of the Library of Congress called the Federal Research Division.
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So how did the government researchers come up with the number? They searched the Internet - and ended up citing an obscure, anonymous...
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