AP Fires Reporter Over False Russian Missiles Report

The Associated Press has fired the investigative journalist who reported the story of Russian missiles striking NATO member Poland last week. The alleged incident caused strong worries of it potentially being a catalyst to spark a deadly global conflict.

Reporter James LaPorta wrote that, according to a “senior U.S. intelligence official,” Russian missiles struck Poland and killed two people. This story sparked a frenzy of concern that the missile strike could be the spark that sinks the Western world into war.

Many speculated that the alleged incident would draw NATO into a hot war with Russia. LaPorta was fired on Monday.

The journalist who co-wrote the piece, John Leicester, was reportedly retained by the news agency.

Only a day later, however, the AP pulled the story back and stated that the anonymous “senior U.S. intelligence official” did not give correct information.

The editor’s note added that “subsequent reporting showed that the missiles were Russian-made and most likely fired by Ukraine in defense against a Russian attack.”

The AP requires the writer to have more than one source if the source is anonymous. An exception can be made if the story comes from “an authoritative figure who provides information so detailed that there is no question of its accuracy.”

The erroneous article, published on Nov. 15, was picked up and widely spread around the world on the internet and television news.

For obvious reasons, the news that a NATO state was struck by missiles reportedly fired by Russian forces alarmed many and created a firestorm of speculation.

For its part, the AP made no comment specific to LaPorta’s firing other than to say that its reporting must be “accurate, fair, and fact-based.” The organization asserted that it rigorously enforces these standards, “including around the use of anonymous sources.”