U.S. and Iraqi officials have confirmed the theft of at least 6,000 artifacts from Iraq’s National Museum of Antiquities during a prolonged looting spree as U.S. forces entered Baghdad two months ago, a leading archaeologist said yesterday.

University of Chicago archaeologist McGuire Gibson said the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement told him June 13 that the official count of missing items had reached 6,000 and was climbing as museum and Customs investigators proceeded with an inventory of three looted storerooms.

The June 13 total was double the number of stolen items reported by Customs a week earlier, and Gibson suggested the final tally could be “far, far worse.” Customs could not immediately obtain an updated report, a spokesman said.

Story. Since the blogosphere is so self-correcting and all, I’m sure we’ll see an update about this on Sullivan’s site any minute now. (More on this here.)

Afterthought: In his June 11 column, “A Small Correction Is In Order,” Howard Kurtz unquestioningly parroted the spin of Sullivan, et al., that “only 33” items were looted (as if that makes any difference anyway — imagine if the Met or the Louvre were looted and “only 33” items were missing.) The column was apparently based on a sloppy reading of Sullivan’s misleading spin, since, as Kurtz’s own paper reported at the time (and as Sullivan acknowledged, albeit dismissively), the actual number was at least 3,033. Now — again, according to Kurtz’s own paper — the number appears to be closer to 6,000, and rising. If you think another “small correction” is in order, send an email to Kurtz, and to the Post’s ombudsman, Michael Getler, and let them know.

Update update: or are there actually 10,000 pieces missing?

Update the third: funny, but the article in this morning’s Post hasn’t been discussed on Sullivan’s blog yet. I thought he’d be all over this, what with the self-correcting nature of the blogosphere. And all.