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Friday, November 8, 2013

Netahyanu Pre-Deplores ‘Bad Deal’ on Iran’s Nuclear Program

Video of remarks by Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, before his meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv on Friday.

As my colleagues Michael Gordon and Mark Landler report, before Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Geneva from Tel Aviv on Friday to try to close an interim nuclear deal with Iran, he met with Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who made his disapproval of the potential agreement clear to reporters at the airport.

Apparently anxious to make sure that his message was broadcast as widely as possible, Mr. Netanyahu delivered scathing remarks about the as-yet-unstruck accord between the international community and Iran both before and after his meeting with Mr. Kerry.

Video of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking after he met Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday.

According to Barak Ravid, a diplomatic correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Mr. Kerry backed out of a planned pre-meeting photo-op, but Mr. Netanyahu appeared anyway, expressing his disgust that “the Iranians are walking around very satisfied in Geneva, and they should be because they got everything and paid nothing.”

In video of his remarks quickly posted online by his office, the Israeli leader said, “Iran got the deal of the century and the international community got a bad deal. This is a very bad deal and Israel utterly rejects it.”

Just two hours later, as America’s top diplomat left for Geneva to meet Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Mr. Netanyahu looked straight into the camera set up by his office and said, “I urge Secretary Kerry not to rush to sign, to wait, to reconsider, to get a good deal. But this is a bad deal, a very, very, bad deal.”

The two clips of Mr. Netanyahu’s comments pre-deploring the nuclear deal echoed very similar remarks he made the day before, when he told a visiting delegation from the United States Congress, included Micheel Bachmann that he was “absolutely stunned” by the outlines of the deal. “I think it is such a monumental mistake,” he added. “It is a historic mistake, I think. A grievous, historic error.”

Video of Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking on Thursday to visitors from the U.S. Congress.

Mr. Netanyahu’s stance was criticized by diplomats with knowledge of the long effort to negotiate a solution to the standoff, including Carl Bildt, Sweden’s foreign minister, and Nicholas Burns, who led negotiations with Iran as an under secretary of state in the administration of George W. Bush.

Elaborating on his comments in an interview with the news site GlobalPost, Mr. Burns, who is now a professor of the practice of diplomacy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, said:

Netanyahu is making a serious error in judgment by criticizing the U.S. so openly before the deal is even announced. It does not make good sense for Israel to feud with the Obama administration. That can only help Iran. Israel and the U.S. will be much stronger and effective if the two sides keep their arguments private and stand together publicly.

Expatriate Iranian observers of the negotiations joked that Mr. Netanyahu’s displeasure was a sign that a deal might actually be close and gave him common cause with hardliners in Tehran.

As the talks paused Friday night in Geneva, Mohsen Milani, a professor of diplomatic studies at the University of South Florida, and Bahman Kalbasi of BBC Persian both noted that a message of support for Iran’s diplomats appeared on the website and Twitter feed of Iran’s leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which call the nuclear negotiators as “the children of the revolution.”

Eyewitness Reports After Typhoon in Philippines

As my colleague Floyd Whaley reported, a powerful typhoon called Haiyan tore through the center of the Philippines on Friday, causing at least four deaths, officials said.

While dramatic video and images began to surface showing damage from the storm, the full extent of its impact and loss of life was unknown late Friday because downed power lines and mobile-phone towers made it difficult for national emergency management officials to reach local officials in some areas.

Three of the large island provinces â€" Samar, Leyte and Bohol â€" were hard hit. The Philippine Star reported that emergency management officials, for example, had not been able to contact anyone in Guiuan after the typhoon, known locally as Yolanda, made landfall.

Ritchel M. Deleon posted photos on Twitter of the debris-filled streets in Ormoc, on the island of Leyte, located in the path of the storm.

Ren Hechanova Liza’s video posted on Facebook shows heavy damage near Ormoc.

In Lingig, a town in the province of Surigao del Sur, Hernel Tocmo showed the effects of the storm surge, combined with the heavy winds, on homes.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration posted hourly updates on the typhoon, which weakened as it sped across the country into the West Philippines Sea toward Vietnam.

In hard-hit Tacloban, a city on the island of Leyte, Atom Araullo reported live during the storm for ABS-CBN, until communication problems made it impossible to continue.

Concern about Mr. Araullo’s safety prompted the television network to report hours later that he had made it through the storm.

Damage was also significant in Rojas, as can be seen in a video that Jackie Vee Sajise See posted on Facebook.

On Instagram, Jeff Canoy shared multiple pictures and videos from Bohol.

On Leyte, local television footage broadcast by GMA in the Philippines showed the effects of the storm surge as floodwaters filled downtown streets.

The storm sped across the Philippines roughly twice as fast as a similar storm last year, Typhoon Bopha, which killed more than 1,000 people.

Lara Logan’s On-Air Apology for Flawed Benghazi Report

CBS News correspondent Lara Logan’s on-air apology for her flawed report on the deadly attack on the United States diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya in 2012.

As my colleagues Bill Carter and Michael Schmidt report, the CBS News correspondent Lara Logan apologized on Friday for her flawed “60 Minutes” report on the deadly assault on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya last year.

In an interview with her CBS colleagues â€" which was quickly transcribed by Media Matters for America, a liberal watchdog group that had raised questions about the report â€" Ms. Logan said that she had been “misled” by a former security contractor whose vivid account of what he said he witnessed at the compound during the attack was the centerpiece of her “60 Minutes” report.

After the report was broadcast, reporters for The Washington Post and The Times revealed that the dramatic story the contractor told Ms. Logan, and recounted in a new book published by a CBS subsidiary, contradicted previous accounts of the same night he had given to his employer and F.B.I. investigators in the days after the attack. In both of those earlier versions of events, the contractor, Dylan Davies, said that he had not witnessed the attack at all and had only seen the body of the dead ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens, in a photograph, not, as he later said, in person.

The Daily Beast obtained a copy of one of those prior accounts, a four-page incident report written in the contractor’s name, that was submitted to the State Department by his firm, The Blue Mountain Group. (Click on the icon at the lower right of the document viewer below to read it in full-screen mode.)

Until Friday, Ms. Logan had defended the report â€" suggesting that critics were continuing the bitter partisan dispute over whether the Obama administration had mischaracterized and mishandled the attack. She did, however, admit that viewers should have been made aware of the fact that the contractor, who was identified by his pen name, Morgan Jones, had been paid for the version of his story published in book form by another arm of CBS.

Late Thursday, Ms. Logan’s report was deleted from the CBS News website, but a copy of the segment has been preserved by Media Matters for America.