TAGUBA TACKLES TELEGRAPH…. The Daily Telegraph, a British paper with a dubious reputation, published a report this week quoting Major General Antonio Taguba describing torture photos the Obama White House hopes to keep under wraps. According to the Telegraph‘s report, Taguba said, “These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency.”

It was obviously a shocking quote, raising new questions about the photos the administration doesn’t want released. The problem, however, is that Taguba told Salon‘s Mark Benjamin last night that the Telegraph‘s report is wrong.

…Taguba says he wasn’t talking about the 44 photographs that are the subject of an ongoing ACLU lawsuit that Obama is fighting.

“The photographs in that lawsuit, I have not seen,” Taguba told Salon Friday night. The actual quote in the Telegraph was accurate, Taguba said — but he was referring to the hundreds of images he reviewed as an investigator of the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq — not the photos of abuse that Obama is seeking to suppress.

What’s more, as Alex Koppelman reported last night, many of the photos that have been reported as being part of the unreleased set have, in fact, already been published by Salon.

So, there’s the set of photos the ACLU is seeking, and which the administration is trying to keep shielded from public view, but those aren’t the photos Taguba was referring to, and despite the recent discussion, they’re not the pictures Salon published three years ago. As digby explained, “[T]hat seems to clear up the question of whether or not the pictures are worse than what we’ve seen before — and whether or not the administration is covering up some crimes which have gone uninvestigated. The pictures are not the lurid images the Telegraph said they were.”

I’d just add that White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs took some heat this week when he questioned the quality of The Daily Telegraph, which touched off an angry response from the paper. It now appears Gibbs was right.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.