In Trump’s world, the new axis of evil, are the Washington Post and the New York Times. I considered Trump’s tweet on Qatar as a supporter of terrorism the worse of all tweets. He has outdone himself again. On July 22, 2017, Donald Trump tweeted:
The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist,Al-Baghdadi. Their sick agenda over National Security
Trump was reacting to a report on a Fox News program about 25 minutes ago. They mentioned the New York Times.
Al-Baghdadi is the single most wanted terrorist, as the leader of ISIL. Nobody is sure if he is alive or dead. The Russians stated that he may possibly have been killed during the May 16, 2015 raid. The Defense Department says they have no evidence to show he has been killed or is now still alive. General Mattis has stated they assume he is alive until they have proof he is not.
Trump’s tweet is a very serious accusation. If it were true, it makes the NYT complicit in terrorist activities. Fortunately, it is 100% untrue- there is not a grain of truth to this tweet. But there was a grain of false information which Fox News spun into a totally false “news report.”
Fox News- All the news, all the time, and a pile of stuff made up, to boot. Breaking news on terrorism, leaks and the New York Times. Oh my, what could be better!
Here’s the timetable:
May 16, 2015: US Delta commando forces raid on the home of Abu Sayyaf in Syria, chief financial officer for ISIL, killing Abu and capturing his wife, Umm. She was questioned outside of the country. The raid provides a treasure trove of information on ISIL and its operation, through seized laptops, cell phones and other materials.
May 17, 2015: Pentagon discloses details of the raid to the public, and is extensively covered by the Western media, including the New York Times. The Pentagon reveals they captured Umm and she is being interrogated outside of Syria.
June 7, 2015: (3 weeks after the raid) New York Times publishes more extensive details on the raid and the information.
July 21, 2017: More than 2 years after the raid, General Tony Thomas, at the Aspen Security Conference was asked if we had ever come close to killing Al-Baghdadi. He responded yes, there were instances in which we were closing in on Al-Baghdadi. He goes on to state that the capture and questioning of Umm Sayyaf yielded very useful information. He then states that after the information was leaked by a national news organization, Al-Baghdadi likely took new precautions. He did not identify the New York Times.
July 22, 2017: Fox News broadcasts a news story of how Al-Baghdadi might have been captured, if the NYT had not leaked information.
The New York Times responded to Fox News, asking for an apology. They stated, “No senior American official complained publicly about the story until now, more than two years later.” They also do not dismiss General Thomas statements that Al-Baghdadi became more cautious after the raid. The problem is the disclosures came either from Secretary of Defense or the military spokespersons, not leaks. What was inaccurately stated at a conference during a Q+A session would likely not get much publicity, if Fox News had spent any time trying to find any collaboration of their story. They have received the standard “no comment” from the Department of Defense. No one in the Trump administration, except Trump, has charged the New York Times with disclosing sensitive military information.
With Trump’s tweet, this accusation became worldwide news. His hostility towards media reporting from CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times is very sad. These institutions will survive much longer than he will, as people want to hear the story from reporters on the ground, not Trump’s tweet.