THE WMD HUNT….Remember those nuclear plans we found a couple of days ago in the backyard of an Iraqi scientist in Baghdad? The original CNN story included this statement:

CNN had this story last week but made a decision to withhold it at the request of the U.S. government, which cited safety and national security concerns.

The U.S. government told CNN the security and safety issues have been dealt with and there is no risk now in telling the story fully.

At the time I paused for a second and wondered why CNN had agreed to hold off, but it is a war zone after all. It wasn’t really all that odd.

I should have paid more attention. Today Josh Marshall has the story behind the story, and it’s not a pretty one. Apparently “safety and national security concerns” translates to “we’re completely incompetent and we’d like a little time to make ourselves look slightly less foolish.” Go read it.

UPDATE: In comments, Matt Weiner suggests that the proper translation is really, “We’re completely incompetent and, now that public exposure is forcing our hand, we’d like some more time to do at least one tiny little thing right.”

Well, OK.