Who was Anwar Al Awlaki and why did the U.S. government kill him in a 2011 drone strike, despite his U.S. citizenship?
The latter question has been answered with the court-ordered release of a Justice Department memo justifying the action. Awlaki, held “operational and leadership roles” in Al Qaeda in Yemen and “continue[d] to plot attacks intended to kill Americans.”
The first question – who he was – is one many in the media won’t be too eager to revisit, because they got it spectacularly wrong for a long time.
Following the insulting trend of tagging every objection or concern raised about Obama administration policy and conduct as exclusively the province of Republicans and conservatives to an outrageous extreme, Rebecca Kaplan at CBS News opened her Monday story about whether the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) might plan terrorist acts in the U.S. as follows: "Republicans are sounding the warning that the next 9/11-like terror plot could emerge from the regions of Iraq and Syria that are currently dominated by an extremist group bearing down on Baghdad." Really, Rebecca? No one else is worried about that? Wanna bet?
Kaplan also seemed to believe that it would calm readers' nerves if they learned that it will be "at least a year before ISIS might pose more of a serious threat to the U.S." If that was meant to make me feel better, it didn't work. Excerpts follow the jump (links are in original; bolds are mine):
Susan Rice, former U.N. Ambassador and current National Security Advisor for President Obama, sat down with CNN’s Candy Crowley and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, June 1 to discuss a variety of foreign policy topics, yet Stephanopoulos refused to ask his guest about the latest surrounding the Benghazi investigation.
Rice appeared on both This Week and State of the Union to talk about the decision by the United States to release 5 prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for the Taliban releasing an American soldier held captive and only CNN's Candy Crowley brought up Benghazi to Ambassador Rice.
It’s been over a month but NPR has finally decided that the Benghazi scandal is worth covering. On Wednesday, May 21 House Democrats chose five members of Congres to participate in the House Select Committee on Benghazi and NPR’s Morning Edition covered the story on Thursday, May 22. NPR didn’t bother giving full a news report to the actual formation of the Select Committee, but deemed the Democratic response worthy of full coverage.
The latest NPR story was the first full news story to air on Benghazi since an April 3. In fact, since February 26, NPR has only aired two full news reports and one news brief on the subject.
Former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson spoke to WMAL’s Brian Wilson and Larry O’Connor on their Mornings on the Mall radio show on Thursday, May 1 and had some strong words surrounding the latest revelations surrounding the Benghazi terrorist attack. Earlier this week, emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request showed that the Obama Administration had instructed Susan Rice to use talking points that an anti-Muslim video sparked the terrorist attack and that it was not a reflection of President Obama’s foreign policy.
Attkisson argued that “In the end, this is all the Obama Administration. I mean to me, it matters to some degree I guess who exactly did what. But the point is we now know the Obama Administration officials in whatever agencies at the White House were responsible for creating this narrative that was incorrect for whatever reason.” [Click here to listen to the entire interview.]
Bergen claimed that “white supremacists, anti-abortion extremists and anti-government militants have killed more people in the United States than have extremists motivated by al Qaeda’s ideology.” He cited a New America study which counted 34 people killed by right-wing extremist acts and just 23 people killed by Al Qaeda-linked terrorism, after 9/11. Why start there? Wouldn’t the 2,977 people killed that day by jihadists skew those findings somewhat?
For the first time since her infamous 2012 interview, National Security Advisor Susan Rice appeared on Meet the Press on Sunday February 23 to discuss a variety of foreign policy issues, most noticeably Benghazi.
Throughout the interview, which focused primarily on the recent violent protests in Ukraine, host David Gregory provided Rice with a variety of softball questions on Benghazi, and allowed her to push White House talking points without any significant pushback.
A new biography entitled HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton is set to hit bookshelves later this month, and the folks at ABC News have already jumped on a new endorsement for Ms. Clinton that was revealed in the upcoming book.
On Sunday night, World News host David Muir jumped all over the “eye opening endorsement” made by General David Petraeus, yet when the endorsement was read, Muir ignored referencing Benghazi, which Petraeus gave as the primary reason for his endorsement. Muir only quoted Petraeus’ claim that Clinton would “quote make an incredible president.” [See video below.]
Whatever the question, politicians have a way of working their issue of the day into the answer. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) took that tendency to new heights today.
Asked on Morning Joe to explain the disproportionate amount of terrorism against the United States that emanates from the Islamic world, Ellison, the first Muslim Member of Congress, asserted that it is the struggle for democracy, not the Islamic faith, that motivates the terrorism. In a giant leap, Ellison then compared people in Islamic countries "who don't want to yield power to the vast majority" . . . to the struggle in the United States over "income inequality." View the video after the jump.
Billionaires who back conservative Republicans are trashed on NPR when they die as “scathing TV ad” backers. But what about a black radical who wrote a poem blaming 9-11 on Israel and implying America was evil and terrorist? On Thursday night's "All Things Considered," NPR began by calling him “one of America's most important — and controversial — literary figures,” under the headline “Amiri Baraka's Legacy Both Controversial And Achingly Beautiful.”
The man’s invented Muslim name was Amiri Baraka (formerly LeRoi Jones). He was the poet laureate of New Jersey in 2002, but they abolished that honorary office after his poem. NPR cultural correspondent Neda Ulaby found his most controversial work wasn’t too negative, it was “complicated.”
Given the multiple media comparisons being made between President Obama’s handling of ObamaCare and President Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina, it was bound to happen that someone on MSNBC would go nuclear and chalk up 9/11 to be George W. Bush's fault.
Speaking to MSNBC host Ed Schultz on November 18, radio host Mike Papantonio MSNBC leapt at the opportunity to slam the nation's 43rd chief executive, arguing that:
3,000 Americans were murdered, because the Republican administration didn't have the discipline or the good sense to read a presidential briefing.[MP3 audio here. See video after break.]
On Monday's PoliticsNation, MSNBC host Al Sharpton bizarrely devoted his regular "Nice Try" segment to Dick Cheney denying that he and Wyoming Republican Senator Mike Enzi are "fishing buddies," which the former Vice President did on Sunday's ABC This Week during a discussion of daughter Liz Cheney's bid for the Senate.
As he mocked the former Vice President, Sharpton managed to bring up the Iraq invasion and repeated the false assertion from the left that Cheney had claimed Iraq should be invaded because an Iraqi agent met with one of the 9/11 hijackers. Sharpton:
Liberal radio host Mike Malloy has made some truly asinine comments in his career, but what he said on the twelfth anniversary of 9/11 Wednesday truly takes the cake.
Discussing the tragic events of twelve years ago, Malloy said United Airlines Flight 93 was shot down over Pennsylvania with “orders from a bloodthirsty son of a bitch named Dick Cheney” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MRCTV's Dan Joseph attended the very sparsely attended "Million Muslim March" on the mall in Washington on September 11 and found most of the people there were 9-11 truthers. Left-wing professor (and alongside Tavis Smiley, public radio talk show co-host) Cornel West was there, so Joseph asked him, "Do you believe personally that it was Muslims that attacked us on 9/11?"
West replied, "That’s a good question." Joseph shot back, "But not a hard question." West then proceeded to play around with being "open to conversation" about alternate theories of who killed all those Americans (video below):
While, "clearly, Esquire did not mean to do this on purpose," it seems the magazine is not exactly falling over itself with effusive apologies. "The magazine tweeted out that the image was due to a 'stupid technical glitch.' They kinda-sorta 'apologized' for any confusion," Kirell noted, embedding the magazine's apology:
MSNBC anchor Toure on Wednesday insisted that he was not a 9/11 truther, despite having several tweets indicating otherwise. After being confronted on Twitter, the Cycle anchor denied, "But I am not so there's that."
However, he has previously tweeted, "How could a plane crash into the Pentagon? And not appear on video cameras?? And leave little wreckage??? #Don'tbuyitfiremenow." [See screen shot below.] Another Tweet from 2009 featured a paranoid video claiming that the Pentagon was hit by a missile: "This fascinating video raises questions about the Pentagon attack: 757 or missle [sic]? http://bit.ly/12AOlN"
Saturday evening, a friend suggested that I watch the midnight rerun of Judge Jeanine Pirro's Fox News program for her interview segment with a Democrat and a Republican about this weekend's closing of 22 embassies overseas in response to terrorist threats.
Ryan Clayton was the Democrat whose arguments blaming George W. Bush's administration for the current level of threats in the Middle East were so weak that he was reduced to childishly reminding viewers that 9/11 happened on George W. Bush's watch (as if we didn't know, and as if eight years of previous Clinton administration weakness were irrelevant). Clayton has an interesting history, which I will note at the end of this post. The Judge Jeanine segment follows the jump.
Remember all that talk from President Obama during last year’s campaign about al Qaeda being decimated?
Apparently not, for on ABC’s This Week Sunday, Congressman Peter King (R-N.Y.) said, “Al Qaeda is in many ways stronger than it was before 9/11 because it's mutated and it spread and it can come at us from different directions” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It has been almost 48 hours since the New York Post's Melissa Klein first reported that "This iconic picture of firefighters raising the stars and stripes in the rubble of Ground Zero was nearly excluded from the 9/11 Memorial Museum," because "the museum’s creative director ... considered the Tom Franklin photograph too kitschy and "rah-rah America."
A Google News search on "Ground Zero New York" (not in quotes, past seven days, showing duplicates) returns only 24 relevant items. None are from establishment press outlets. The same search at the Associated Press's national web site also returns nothing relevant. Excerpts from Klein's Post report, as well as Publishers Weekly's review of the upcoming book, are after the jump.
On Monday's PoliticsNation show on MSNBC, host Al Sharpton bristled at former Vice President Cheney recently attacking President Obama's "credibility" as the MSNBC host repeated discredited assertions that Cheney had claimed Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks.
Sharpton and MSNBC contributor Patrick Murphy, formerly a Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania, rehashed liberal charges that the former Vice President lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. After a soundbite of Cheney, Sharpton responded:
In the wake of the new leaks about NSA surveillance, the Daily Kos wants the entire War on Terrorism repealed as a vast violation of American civil liberties.
Terrorism, scherrorism, says "Letsgetitdone." We lose many more Americans due to "gun violence" and the "lack of health insurance," so losing 3,000 people on 9/11 is just a smear on the national windshield:
After briefly criticizing President Obama for the recent scandals surrounding his administration a few weeks ago, MSNBC's Hardball host Chris Matthews is back to his usual role of playing cheerleader for the Obama administration. Appearing on the June 5 program, Matthews showed his audience that the “thrill up his leg” feeling he has towards Obama is clearly back.
Speaking with The Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman and The Daily Beast’s Peter Beinart, Matthews went on a tirade against Republicans continued opposition to Susan Rice, Obama’s newest National Security Advisor, asking Howard Fineman:
In case you didn't get the gist of President Obama's Thursday speech at National Defense University, the AP's Robert Burns boiled it down on Saturday, perhaps supportively: "OBAMA REFOCUSES TERROR THREAT TO PRE-9/11 LEVEL."
That leaves one annoying detail Burns and Obama ignore: The "pre-9/11 threat level" wasn't that much different from the threat level during the first few years after 9/11. But our response in going to a war footing and more conscientious coordination at home was. As a result, there were no more successful terrorist attacks until the Ft. Hood massacre (mislabeled "workplace violence by our hapless government) in November 2009. The World Trade Centers were bombed in 1993. After that, there were at least the following: Khobar Towers in 1996, the American embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, the USS Cole in 2000, and other incidents in the U.S. which may have been inspired by Islamist terrorists despite official conclusions to the contrary. The "pre-9/11 threat level" was actually higher, especially if one remembers, well, 9/11. But that's certainly not the message Obama, with Burns's help, is trying to convey. Instead, it's that the President "has all but declared" that global war on terror is over (bolds are mine):
On Wednesday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC analyst Richard Wolffe -- formerly of Newsweek -- claimed that President Bush "ignored all the warnings about al-Qaeda wanting to attack the homeland" before 9/11 as he mocked Republicans for praising Bush's record of preventing terrorist attacks on U.S. soil after the 9/11 attacks. As he alluded to Republicans criticizing President Clinton for not handling al-Qaeda more aggressively during his presidency, Wolffe asserted:
Both the Los Angeles Times and the New York Daily News, the latter crediting wire service assistance, have reported that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the now deceased older brother accused of committing the Boston Marathon bombings, was thrown out of a service at the Islamic Society of Boston, the Cambridge mosque he attended, about three months ago. I wonder if anyone in the media will notice the terror-connected history of the ISB? It's right there for anyone who cares to look for it.
First, quoting the Times story by Andrew Tangel and Ashley Powers:
Now that their guy will be in the White House for another term, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, has apparently commenced its "Cleaning up Benghazi" project -- as, naturally, has the Obama administration.
As part of that effort, the wire service's Greg Risling, reporting from Los Angeles at 6:14 p.m., made only the vaguest of references to how the film "roiled the Middle East" and "sparked violence ... killing dozens," without mentioning how it was dishonestly leveraged by terrorists as cover for protests and violence, and of course without mentioning how Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and so many others in his administration spent well over a week -- despite clearly knowing better -- citing the film as the cause of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya which killed four Americans, including Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens. Excerpts follow the jump (saved here in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes; bolds are mine):
Unlike the liberal media who are engaging in a full-scale blackout of the scandal in Libya, Friday’s Fox & Friends engaged in a vigorous debate over the attack on our Embassy in Benghazi.
Fox News Channel liberal contributor Geraldo Rivera engaged in a full-out shouting match with conservative-leaning co-hosts Steve Doocy and Eric Bolling. During the back-and-forth, Geraldo’s main argument was thus: [See video below. MP3 audio here.]