Mr. Bo Jones
Publisher and CEO
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20071-0070

Dear Mr. Jones:

Ombudsman Michael Getler thinks that Post reporters have too much leeway in their reliance on anonymous sources. There is no better example of this than the April 2, 2003 story by Susan Schmidt and Vernon Loeb about the capture of Army Private Jessica Lynch. Their story, which depicted Lynch as “fighting to the death” to avoid capture, was later shown to have been completely wrong by an Army investigation. The two even admitted that their story was based largely on the retelling of battlefield intelligence reports, which are known to be highly unreliable. Why your editors permitted this story to see the light of day is inexplicable. It has fueled a lot of unjustified criticism of our military. You should implement Getler’s recommendation that the Post tighten up its sourcing guidelines. Your reporters have a duty to get as much material on the record or to provide more context for the use of anonymous sources.