The New York Times issued a scathing rebuke in response to a letter from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) demanding more information from the outlet about its news-gathering process as it covers the war ongoing between Israel and Hamas.

In a letter In a statement to Times management dated Thursday, Cotton cited “reports” suggesting that journalists working for him were embedded with Hamas at the time of the Oct. 7 attack on Israel and “were aware of the attack “.

“If your employees, in the course of their work, have participated in terrorist activities or if your organization or employees have provided material support (including funding) to Hamas, your organization’s leaders may also face potential harm. criminal sanctions under federal law,” he said.

Cotton’s letter follows a report by pro-Israel media watchdog HonestReporting that questioned whether freelancers working for the Times, CNN and other major news organizations had in-depth knowledge of the attack or were accomplices.

The group’s leader said Thursday he was “just asking questions” after a series of denials and condemnations from the Times, CNN, Reuters and other media outlets.

In its response to Cotton, the Times wrote that his letter “exacerbates” the “spread of disinformation and inflammatory rhetoric” around journalists covering the war.

“You’re just repeating misinformation harvested from the Internet and based on a website that admitted it had no proof for its claims,” the Times said.

Cotton separately wrote a letter to the Justice Department on Thursday asking it to investigate whether journalists working for international media “committed federal crimes by supporting Hamas terrorists.”

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