Earlier today I noted how Reuters avoided calling the late Imad Mughniyeh of Hezbollah a terrorist. Now it appears Newsweek is gun-shy with the label, or at least its headline editors are.
The subhead for today's Web Exclusive, "Death of a Hizbullah Leader" reads, "Attack fells a suspected terrorist with a list of enemies."
But don't blame the article's writer, Kevin Peraino. He dropped the "suspected" modifier in his article:
One afternoon during Israel's summer war with Lebanon 18 months ago, I met with a couple of senior Israeli intelligence officers at an office outside Tel Aviv. As Hizbullah's rockets rained down on the north of the country, most of the world was focused on trying to deconstruct the motives of the Islamist group's most prominent leader, Hassan Nasrallah. The Israeli officers, on the other hand, had zeroed in on a figure less well known to the public but infamous in intelligence circles: Imad Mughniyeh, Hizbullah's deputy secretary-general. Mughniyeh had been linked to some of the deadliest acts of terrorism on record, including a string of suicide attacks targeting Americans in Lebanon and the kidnapping of the CIA's Beirut station chief, William Buckley, in the 1980s. By the summer of 2006 conventional wisdom held that the aging terrorist was no longer a key player in Hizbullah's day-to-day operations. Still, the Israeli intel officers told me they were increasingly concerned about an elite and quickly growing new cadre of Hizbullah operatives, known as Unit 1800; according to a flow chart that one of the men slid across the table, the unit reported up the chain of command to Mughniyeh.
Another item of note: accompanying the article was a photo of Mughniyeh credited to "Hizbullah Media Office-AP."