The workers of the Wall Avenue Journal’s Washington bureau was reeling Wednesday from the disclosure that the paper’s extensively revered chief international affairs correspondent, Jay Solomon, was abruptly fired earlier within the day after the Related Press reported that he had dedicated an incomprehensible breach of journalistic ethics—getting entangled in a secret enterprise association with a shadowy Iranian-born arms vendor who the AP described as “one among [Solomon’s] key sources.”
“Folks listed here are simply surprised. It’s simply so weird,” mentioned one among Solomon’s Wall Avenue Journal colleagues, who spoke to The Each day Beast on situation of not being additional recognized. “I don’t perceive how he didn’t notice he was crossing such an apparent line…I actually don’t have any rationalization for it.”
A second individual, a member of Washington’s international coverage group who considers Solomon “an excellent pal,” was equally shaken by the AP’s revelation.
“Wow,” mentioned Solomon’s pal, who additionally requested for anonymity. “Jay at all times has had these murky relationships within the Center East and in Asia round North Korea and round Syria, and round points out and in of Israel and Iran. It was one of many issues that made his reporting very, very wealthy. However I’d by no means ever have thought that he would have carried out one thing like this. And I’ve identified Jay since he was a child.”
The Wall Avenue Journal mentioned it’s conducting its personal investigation into Solomon’s alleged misconduct, which can or might not be restricted to the revelations in Wednesday’s investigative report.
The AP’s story—by Jeff Horwitz, Jon Gambrell and Jack Gillum—reported on a cache of emails, textual content messages and different proof spanning an 18-month interval in 2014 and 2015 suggesting that Solomon might have benefited financially from varied business offers with Iranian-born aviation magnate Farhad Azima, a supply he had been cultivating and had used for his reporting.
The AP had obtained the file of communications involving Solomon as a part of a prolonged investigation of Azima, which was revealed on Tuesday.
The arms vendor supplied the journalist a 10 % stake in a Denx LLC, a Florida-registered startup that proposed to offer aviation surveillance companies to international governments, the AP reported, but it surely “was not clear whether or not Solomon ever obtained cash or formally accepted a stake within the firm.”
The corporate was shut down final yr after two of its principal companions, ex-CIA staff Gary Bernsten and Scott Modell, withdrew from the failing enterprise, the AP reported.
Bernsten and Modell instructed the wire service that Solomon had participated with Azima in discussions about potential enterprise alternatives however in the end withdrew from the enterprise, though the 2 ex-CIA staff offered no documentary proof of Solomon’s withdrawal.
The AP reported on an April 2015 e mail wherein Azima sought Solomon’s assist in acquiring a $725 million air-operations, surveillance and reconnaissance help contract with the United Arab Emirates that may have featured spy-plane flights over Iran, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
In response to Azima’s e mail, Solomon was imagined to current the Denx LLC proposal to UAE authorities officers at a lunch the following day.
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“All of us want the very best of luck to Jay on his first protection sale,” Azima wrote to Solomon, Bernsten and Modell.
In October 2014, the AP reported, Solomon wrote to Azima in a textual content message: “Our enterprise alternatives are so promising.”
Azima’s legal professional instructed the wire service that the emails, texts and different inner paperwork that the AP used for its reporting had been stolen by hackers.
Wall Avenue Journal spokesman Steve Severinghaus, who didn’t reply to a voicemail message from The Each day Beast, instructed the AP in a press release: “We’re dismayed by the actions and poor judgment of Jay Solomon. Whereas our personal investigation continues, we now have concluded that Mr. Solomon violated his moral obligations as a reporter, in addition to our requirements.”
In his personal assertion to the AP, Solomon admitted to unspecified “errors” however denied that he had gone into enterprise with Azima, who prior to now has transported weapons for the CIA: “I clearly made errors in my reporting and entered right into a world I didn’t perceive,” Solomon mentioned. “I by no means entered into any enterprise with Farhad Azima, nor did I ever intend to. However I perceive why the emails and the conversations I had with Mr. Azima might seem like I used to be concerned in some significantly troubling actions. I apologize to my bosses and colleagues on the Journal, who have been nothing however nice to me.”
Folks conversant in Solomon and his journalism—which has been among the many most distinguished and groundbreaking within the international coverage and diplomatic fields—expressed shock and puzzlement that such a savvy Washington participant might have been so naïve regarding the damaging implications of his conduct.
Solomon continuously appeared on tv as an skilled to debate international affairs—most not too long ago on this previous Saturday’s edition of the PBS Newshour to speak about U.S. arms gross sales to Qatar.
Solomon additionally appeared last August on NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell’s program to advertise The Iran Wars, his well-regarded e book on that nation’s growth of nuclear weapons know-how.
The befuddlement of his colleagues and buddies was compounded by the truth that Solomon’s late father, Richard H. Solomon, was a former Henry Kissinger aide who took half in President Nixon’s diplomatic opening to China, in addition to a high state division official within the George H.W. Bush administration and a famend China scholar.
Jay Solomon, who’s in his late 40s, was mentioned to be devastated by his father’s dying this previous March at age 79.
“He’s a very good reporter who had a profound Asia background and in addition to within the Center East,” mentioned Solomon’s pal. “He’s enjoyable, he’s considerate, he’s related, he’s on the market. I by no means observed something form of raveled no matter about him. He’s undoubtedly ideological. He tends to be extra tilting towards the neoconservative view of the world, and he was extremely uncertain of issues just like the Iran [nuclear arms] deal. He thought Obama was super-naïve. However Jay is a daily, first rate man.”
Solomon’s firing represents the newest—and definitely most embarrassing and damaging—blow to a newspaper that has misplaced a number of outstanding members of its Washington bureau to different retailers, notably nationwide safety reporter Adam Entous and Justice Division reporter Devlin Barrett to the Washington Publish, and, simply this week, White Home correspondent Carol Lee to NBC Information.
Lee, who couldn’t reached for remark, was previously in a relationship with Solomon, and the 2 are mother and father of a younger son born of that relationship.