In a speech to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies last week, a New York Times reporter claimed that the Obama administration deliberately misled the press in regards to the al-Qaeda terrorist network in order to avoid losing ground in the 2012 presidential election. Rukmini Callimachi, a top foreign correspondent for the paper, said that Obama’s top officials misled the American public about the strength of the terrorist organization by painting Osama Bin Laden as a leader in isolation, without any remaining power over the group.
“The overall narrative that I think was being pushed to the press, if you look back at the editorials that were done when that trove came out, was an image of bin Laden isolated – he had lost control of this group,” Callimachi said in reference to a release of 17 documents made by the administration in May of 2012. “The head of the organization has been killed and now – these are literally quotes that I would get: The organization has been ‘decimated,’ the organization is in ‘disarray,’ the organization is ‘on the run.’ At the same time that we were preparing to pull out troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, I think it was important to portray this as a problem that no longer existed.”
Callimachi said that she came across this deceptive atmosphere even earlier, when the Obama administration told the press that al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghred – a group gaining territory in West Africa – really had nothing to do with the al Qaeda that had taken down the World Trade Center.
“The narrative I would get is that it had opportunistically taken the al Qaeda name in order to have prestige and scare people, and that in fact those people were just criminals,” she said.
This narrative collapsed, however, in 2013 when the group has been driven out of Northern Mali. At that time, Callimachi said she found evidence to prove that al Qaeda’s top officials had been directing the group in Africa from the beginning.
“Suddenly, my worldview, which had been informed by officials, started to fall apart,” she said. “Suddenly, I was seeing that this group that I was told really had no ties was in fact being micromanaged by al Qaeda central.”
Well, this doesn’t come as much of a shock, considering the many lies the American people were fed about the terrorist attack in Benghazi weeks before the election. It’s the same exact M.O. Oh, these weren’t really terrorists – these were just Muslims who were angry about an offensive video on YouTube. Nothing to see here. Just another reason we shouldn’t be making fun of Islam, you know…
That turned out to be BS, Obama’s downplaying of al Qaeda turned out to be BS, and his later attempts to downplay the terrorist group that would come to be known as the Islamic State? Well, we all know how that turned out.
For whatever else we may have to be thankful for in this holiday season, let us at least be thankful we finally have a president whose first instincts are to emphasize the threat of Islamic terrorism – not to cover for it or pretend that it doesn’t exist.