President Barack Obama's spokesman lambasted British newspapers Thursday over new allegations of prisoner abuse in Iraq, saying he trusted Fleet Street for football results -- but little else.
Robert Gibbs reiterated Pentagon denials over a Daily Telegraph story claiming to describe graphic photographs and accounts of rapes and other abuses of prisoners at the notorious Abu Ghraib jail outside Baghdad.
The paper said the photos were among hundreds related to investigations of prisoner abuse that Obama has chosen not to release to avoid jeopardizing the security of US troops abroad.
In an acid response, Gibbs launched a withering condemnation of London papers, claiming they had a record of getting it wrong.
"I will speak generally about reports I've witnessed over the past few years in the British media."
"Let's just say if I wanted to look up -- if I wanted to read a write-up today of how Manchester United fared last night in the Champions League Cup, I might open up a British newspaper."
"If I was looking for something that bordered on truthful news, I'm not entirely sure it'd be the first stack of clips I picked up."
"None of the photographs in question depict the images described in the article," Gibbs said.
"I think if you do an even moderate Google search you're not going to find many of these newspapers and truth within, say, 25 words of each other."
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman earlier said the Telegraph "demonstrated an inability to get the facts right."
"None of the photos in question depict the images that are described in that article," Whitman told reporters.
Obama earlier this month chose not to release hundreds of photos used as evidence in criminal probes of detainee abuse at US-run prisons in Iraq and elsewhere.
The photos are the subject of a long-running lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has demanded the images be released.
The Telegraph alleged the pictures show US soldiers raping detainees, assaulting prisoners with a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube and a female prisoner forcibly having her breasts exposed.
The paper quoted Major General Antonio Taguba, an ex-army officer who published a 2004 report into the abuse scandal at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.
Taguba said the photos showed rape, torture and abuse and that he supported Obama's decision not to release the images.
But Whitman said he was not aware of any additional photos from Abu Ghraib that had not already been published.
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