[Grammar] officials say...officials said

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LQZ

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For now, officials say, Mullah Baradar is not revealing details of Taliban combat operations,...
But the officials said he had provided American interrogators with a much more nuanced understanding of the strategy...
---taken from the NYT

Dear teacher,

Both the above fragments are taken from one article at NYT. I am wondering why "say" is used in the first sentence,while "said" is used in the second. Could you clear it up ? Thanks.


LQZ
 

chester_100

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For now, officials say, ...
It's very simple. For now refers to thepresent state of affairs. So using simple present as the tense of the sentence shouldn't look very strange.
But the officials said he had provided...
And in this one, had shows us that the event refers to the past.
Actually, the writer wants to show his surprise, because the pieces of information he has don't match.
 
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