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NYT's 'Caliphate' podcast withdrawn as Pulitzer finalist

FILE - This June 22, 2019 file photo shows the exterior of the New York Times building in New York. The New York Times says it was wrong to trust the story of a Canadian man whose claims of witnessing and participating in atrocities as a member of the Islamic State was a central part of its award-winning 2018 podcast Caliphate. The 12-part series won a Peabody Award and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. But it began to unravel when Canadian authorities in September arrested Shehroze Chaudhry on charges of perpetrating a terrorist hoax. He was included in the podcast under the alias Abu Huzayfah. The Times said its journalists should have done a better job vetting him, and not included his story as part of the podcast. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File) (Julio Cortez, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW YORK – A high-profile podcast on terrorism from The New York Times that had been a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize was withdrawn as a contest entry in the wake of the newspaper saying the claims of a man central to “Caliphate" could not be verified.

In a statement on Tuesday, the board of the Pulitzer Prizes said it “accepted withdrawal of the entry as an appropriate resolution of this matter.”

The 2018 podcast series, about a Canadian man who said he had carried out atrocities for the Islamic State in Syria, had been named as a finalist in the international reporting category for 2019, which was won by Reuters and The Associated Press.

But the Times said last week that, after the man was arrested in Canada in September for perpetrating a terrorist hoax, it investigated and the man's story didn't hold together.

“We volunteered to return the citation and the Pulitzer Prize Board accepted the offer," The Times said in an email to The Associated Press.

The paper had previously said it would return a Peabody award it had won for “Caliphate,” and the Overseas Press Club of America said it was taking back an honor it had bestowed on the podcast. The story’s central reporter, Rukmini Callimachi, will be reassigned off the terrorism beat, the newspaper said.