As different departments and levels within the Pentagon bureaucracy attempted to account for it, the story changed multiple times. In a matter of a couple hours it went from "authentic" to "phony" to part of an effort to sow "active disinformation" — and finally according to a confused press briefing by Gen. Milley and Defense Secretary Mark Esper an "unauthorized draft" and "an honest mistake".
This after The Washington Post and a host of other major outlets "confirmed" it as "authentic" — in the words of WaPo's Beirut Bureau chief Liz Sly.
At Monday's Pentagon briefing itself which attempted to assess the origins of the mysterious draft letter, The Dispatch summarized the atmosphere: "Was the United States really moving to remove its remaining troops from Iraq? Nobody seemed to know."