60 Minutes stands by the interview with Marko Sammech it broadcast in March 2008. The interview was conducted in Arabic and translated by two qualified professionals into English. The section of the interview broadcast on the air as voice over in English was exactly what he told us then, which was consistent with what he told Israeli police.

Kevin Tedesco
Executive Director Communications
CBS News/60 Minutes

Big Sid used to shoot crap with the boys—and Big Sid always won. This time his number was 10. He threw the dice again. As they stopped, Big Sid cupped them under his palm and looked at them underneath. “10” he exclaimed and began raking in the pot. “Tell me,” one of the boys said, “How did you make it, Big Sid, 6–4 or two 5s?”

Dear Big Sid/60 Minutes,

A thousand thanks for responding to our charges of your unethical conduct.a And we are very, very sorry for having brought these serious charges, now that you have looked into the matter and found that your quotation was “exactly” what Marco told you. What more could we ask for?

That an organization as big and powerful as 60 Minutes would deign to respond to charges by an insignificant little magazine speaks volumes for your fairness and public responsibility. We are honored to have evoked a reply.

For us, that would be the end of the matter. But, alas, our readers won’t let us. They have the gall to suggest that you really haven’t answered the charge. You answered only like Big Sid, they say. That is, only 60 Minutes is permitted to look at the evidence. Just plain folks are not permitted. We have to believe what 60 Minutes tells us, rather than seeing for ourselves. Makes you wonder what is so secret about the tape, our readers say.

Before we received the response from 60 Minutes, we did not even know if Marco was interviewed in English or Arabic. Now they have told us that Marco spoke in Arabic. So, our readers point out, why in the world would they refuse to give us a tape of the interview if they had nothing to hide? If Marco really said what they say he said, wouldn’t 60 Minutes want to demonstrate its integrity by giving us the Arabic tape of the interview?

60 Minutes also says that Marco’s admission of guilt is “consistent with what he told the Israeli police.” Wow! Another Big Sid report: Trust me; we’re 60 Minutes.

Our readers reply: Can’t we take just a little, little peak at the police report to confirm the “consistency”? Our report is that Marco denied any involvement to the Israeli police.

The big question now is whether 60 Minutes is going to continue to stonewall us—or whether it will release the Arabic tape of its interview with Marco (and the police report).

Biblical Archaeology Review

Additional readers’ letters related to this matter will appear in the next issue.—Ed.