Times Corrects Story About Libya Terrorism Suspect’s Beverage Choices

This is NOT what Ahmed Abu Khattala was drinking.

Someone would like you to know that alleged terrorist, Ahmed Abu Khattala, was drinking a strawberry frappe, not a mango juice, at a hotel in Benghazi, as he spoke to New York Times reporter David D. Kirkpatrick about his suspected involvement in the attack on the U.S. Consulate last month.

Mr. Abu Khattala’s beverage was initially erroneously reported, but, in perhaps the best correction to date, the Times has updated the story with the full correct details about the drink the terror suspect was sipping while scoffing at the US.

The article has been updated with the following correction:

Correction: October 19, 2012

An earlier version of this article described incorrectly a beverage that Ahmed Abu Khattala was drinking at a hotel in Benghazi, Libya. It was a strawberry frappe, not mango juice, which is what he had ordered.

It now reads:

But just days after President Obama reasserted his vow to bring those responsible to justice, Mr. Abu Khattala spent two leisurely hours on Thursday evening at a crowded luxury hotel, sipping a strawberry frappe on a patio and scoffing at the threats coming from the American and Libyan governments,” the Times reported today.

Although we wonder who brought the error to the newspaper’s attention, we suppose it is this kind of attention to detail that makes the Times the Times.

Update (3:23 p.m.): Times Foreign Editor Joe Kahn gave the backstory behind this correction in an email to the Observer.

“David Kirkpatrick called in the correction himself after the initial version of the story had been published. Re-reading his story after he woke up in Libya, David realized Abu Kattala had ordered mango juice, but that the waiter had brought him strawberry,” Mr. Khan wrote. “It’s a very minor change but he didn’t want to let it slip, and we always let readers know when the content of stories has been changed for factual reasons.”

Originally we reached out to the Times’ former foreign editor Susan Chira for this story. We subsequently realized she was made assistant managing editor for news and replaced as foreign editor by Mr. Kahn in October of 2011 and we emailed Mr. Kahn. Yes, we do appreciate the humor in the fact we are posting a correction on a story about a correction.

<em>Times</em> Corrects Story About Libya Terrorism Suspect’s Beverage Choices