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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Newsweek Retracts Its Quran Report

WASHINGTON -- The White House says Newsweek took a "good first step" by retracting its story that U.S. investigators found evidence interrogators at Guantanamo Bay desecrated the Quran but wants Newsweek to do more to repair damage caused by the article.

On Monday, Newsweek retracted the report from its May 9 issue after officials in the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department criticized its publication and its use of an anonymous source. Protests in Afghanistan, where more than a dozen people died and scores were injured in rioting, and demonstrations elsewhere in the Muslim world were blamed on the article.

"The report had real consequences," White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said Monday. "People have lost their lives. Our image abroad has been damaged. There are some who are opposed to the United States and what we stand for who have sought to exploit this allegation. It will take work to undo what can be undone."

He said a retraction was "a good first step" but said the weekly magazine should try to set the record straight by "clearly explaining what happened and how they got it wrong, particularly to the Muslim world, and pointing out the policies and practices of our military"

Daniel Klaidman, Newsweek's Washington bureau chief, said Tuesday in an interview on CBS's "The Early Show" that the magazine would "continue to look at how we put together this story, learn from mistakes that we've made and make improvements that are appropriate as we go along."

Asked if anyone involved in preparing the article would lose their job, Klaidman said, "We think that people acted responsibly and professionally, and ... there was no malice, no institutional bias, just a mistake that was made in good faith."

The article was written by Michael Isikoff, an investigative reporter, and John Barry, a national security correspondent for the magazine.

Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker said the magazine decided to publish the short item after hearing from an unnamed U.S. official that a government probe had found evidence interrogators had flushed a Quran down a toilet.

But on Friday, a top Pentagon spokesman told the magazine that a review of the military's investigation concluded "it was never meant to look into charges of Quran desecration." The spokesman also said the Pentagon had looked into other charges by detainees that the Quran had been desecrated and found them to be "not credible."

Whitaker said the magazine's original source later said he could not be sure he had read about the alleged Quran incident in the report Newsweek cited and that it might have been in another document. "Based on what we know now, we are retracting our original story that an internal military investigation had uncovered Quran abuse at Guantanamo Bay," Whitaker said.