USA Today's Pentagon Reporter Resigns Under Pressure
A USA Today Pentagon correspondent, Tom Squitieri, resigned under pressure today after the paper learned he had lifted quotes from another newspaper for a front-page story and used several other quotes, without attribution, that were cut during the editing process.
In a March 28 piece on the Army falling behind in ordering armored Humvees for Iraq, Squitieri quoted Brian Hart of Bedford, Mass., whose son was killed in the war. The same quote appeared, word for word, in the Indianapolis Star in May 2004:
"My son called me the week before he was killed. He said they were getting shot at all the time. They were in unarmored Humvees and were out there exposed to the fire. He was concerned they were going to get hit. He was literally whispering this into the phone to me. He was right. That's how he died."
Squitieri also used a three-sentence quote from Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) -- about the Pentagon having "consistently underestimated" the need for more armored Humvees -- that had appeared in the same piece in the Star, which like USA Today is a Gannett paper.