- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 15, 2003

The Washington Times yesterday published a letter to the editor, purportedly from Stephan M. Minikes, the U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe, which we now learn was a forgery. We have been so informed from the highest level at the State Department, and we accept as true that the ambassador was not the author of this letter. The letter was sent to us, via e-mail, on Sunday from what appears to be the ambassador’s State Department e-mail address. On being informed by the State Department that the letter was a forgery, we immediately removed it from our Web site, and immediately notified the wire services, which had filed dispatches based on the letter, that the letter was a forgery. The standard procedure at The Times is to verify all letters to the editor; this procedure was not followed in this instance. We are reviewing our procedures and will make changes as necessary, and we are working with the State Department to track the letter to its origin. The Times regrets the embarrassment, which we fully share, to the ambassador and to the State Department.

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