Did Pentagon Use the Times to Hype its Afghan Auction? Timing of miracle minerals story fishy By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Jun 15, 2010 12:51 PM CDT 7 comments Comments David Petraeus, seen here in today's hearing on Capitol Hill, was a major source for the Times article. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Newser) – There has been much grousing about the New York Times’ non-scoop on Afghanistan’s trillion-dollar mineral deposits. Most people figured the Pentagon spoon-fed the paper the story to drum up public support for the war. But now it looks like it may have been trying to drum up customers, says Business Insider, citing an Asia Times story that reveals that the Times' piece conveniently hit just a few weeks before the auction of a 1.8 billion-ton iron ore field worth $5 billion to $6 billion. The article also just happened to hit at the same time that Afghanistan’s mining minister was visiting India to solicit bids for said field; a similar trip was canceled last year due to lack of interest from buyers. Apparently, the US thinks it’s vital to drum up international interest to prevent China from gaining control.