Wash. Post fails to disclose that op-ed writer advocating military strikes against Iran is on the board of a major defense contractor

Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

The Washington Post published an op-ed on Friday by former Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael G. Vickers in which he called for “limited U.S. military strikes” against Iran. But the newspaper failed to disclose that Vickers serves on the board of BAE Systems Inc., the American subsidiary of a major multinational defense contractor.

BAE Systems published a press release in December 2015 saying that Vickers had “been appointed to its board of directors for a three-year term.” The company confirmed on June 24 that Vickers is still an active member of its board.

But in Vickers' June 21 op-ed, the Post identified him only as “a former special forces officer and CIA operations officer” who “served as assistant secretary of defense for special operations, low-intensity conflict and interdependent capabilities (2007-2011) and undersecretary of defense for intelligence (2011-2015).” In the column, Vickers urged President Donald Trump to authorize military strikes against Iran, writing, “The Trump administration should respond to these recent attacks with strikes of its own on Iranian and Houthi air-defense assets, offensive missile systems and Revolutionary Guard Corps bases. A measured but firm response is what is required.”

This isn’t the first time the Post has had disclosure issues with authors writing for its opinion section. Previously, the newspaper repeatedly published articles by opinion writer Ed Rogers about issues of interest to his lobbying firm’s clients without disclosing his financial conflicts of interest.