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Don Lemon irked by Sarah Sanders' defense

CNN's Don Lemon slams White House press secretary Sarah Sanders for attempting to defend President Trump's treatment of the press.

Posted: Aug 2, 2018 7:09 PM
Updated: Aug 2, 2018 7:30 PM

As part of a systematic effort by the Trump administration to paint the press as "fake news" and "the enemy of the people," Sarah Sanders trotted out a long-debunked canard about Osama bin Laden at Wednesday's White House press briefing.

Sanders claimed that "the media routinely reports on classified information and government secrets that put lives in danger and risk valuable national security tools. One of the worst cases was the reporting on the US ability to listen to Osama bin Laden's satellite phone in the late '90s. Because of that reporting, he stopped using that phone, and the country lost valuable intelligence."

Sanders was referring to an August 21, 1998, story in The Washington Times that purportedly tipped off bin Laden that the US government was listening to his satellite phone.

In blaming The Washington Times, Sanders was following in the footsteps of President George W. Bush and the 9/11 Commission. All of them were, and are, wrong.

In fact, bin Laden was careful about using his satellite phone, not because he was glued to his computer reading an obscure American newspaper in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan where there was no internet at the time, but because he wasn't an idiot.

In early 1997, I visited Khalid al-Fawwaz, an associate of bin Laden's in London, to arrange an interview with al Qaeda's leader for CNN.

A year and half before The Washington Times article appeared, Fawwaz volunteered to me that bin Laden communicated by radio and generally avoided using satellite phones "because he was well aware that intelligence agencies could easily monitor satellite phone calls." Conscious of the security problems of satellite phones, bin Laden would often give his phone to subordinates to make calls.

Al Qaeda's leaders had also closely followed the April 1996 assassination of Dzhokhar Dudayev, the Chechen leader who was killed by a Russian missile that homed in on the signal of his satellite phone. Bin Laden didn't need The Washington Times to tell him about the risks associated with talking on a satellite phone.

The fact that bin Laden went off the grid around the time of The Washington Times story is more than likely because the day before it appeared, bin Laden was on the receiving end of a barrage of US cruise missile strikes because al Qaeda had recently bombed two US embassies in Africa, killing more than 200 people.

Bin Laden eluded those strikes, but there's nothing quite like surviving a barrage of US cruise missiles to get you off your electronic devices!

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 13260

Reported Deaths: 625
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds89324
Lauderdale67855
Madison65421
Scott58910
Neshoba51231
Forrest48034
Jones46713
DeSoto4616
Leake38410
Holmes36523
Rankin3496
Jackson29613
Copiah2784
Attala27014
Lincoln24320
Monroe24224
Leflore24025
Harrison2346
Newton2243
Lamar2194
Yazoo2152
Pearl River20327
Pike19611
Adams18615
Lowndes1607
Noxubee1586
Washington1535
Warren1506
Bolivar14010
Jasper1393
Oktibbeha13410
Smith13110
Covington1271
Chickasaw12612
Clarke12616
Kemper12510
Lafayette1233
Carroll11310
Wayne1090
Marion1088
Lee1045
Clay993
Winston981
Coahoma983
Lawrence901
Hancock8711
Simpson850
Itawamba857
Yalobusha824
Wilkinson829
Montgomery781
Sunflower773
Grenada752
Jefferson Davis712
Union715
Tippah7011
Marshall693
Panola622
Calhoun604
Tate591
Claiborne581
Humphreys537
Amite521
Walthall510
Tunica483
Perry462
Jefferson400
Prentiss383
Stone300
Choctaw292
Webster271
Pontotoc263
Franklin252
Tishomingo250
Quitman240
Tallahatchie241
George191
Alcorn151
Benton140
Greene71
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 14478

Reported Deaths: 551
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile1996109
Jefferson161488
Montgomery118630
Marshall6499
Tuscaloosa50512
Lee49832
Franklin4476
Shelby43319
Tallapoosa39662
Butler34411
Chambers33623
Madison2964
Baldwin2749
Elmore2637
Etowah23610
DeKalb2213
Coffee2001
Walker1981
Dallas1973
Sumter1916
Lowndes18610
Houston1644
Morgan1621
Autauga1593
Calhoun1413
Choctaw1414
Pike1360
Colbert1362
Marengo1336
Hale1293
Russell1280
Lauderdale1282
Randolph1257
Wilcox1187
Marion11310
Bullock1111
Barbour1101
Clarke1022
St. Clair1021
Pickens934
Talladega912
Greene894
Chilton871
Dale830
Cullman760
Limestone740
Jackson692
Covington651
Washington645
Winston620
Macon602
Bibb591
Crenshaw582
Henry562
Blount491
Escambia433
Lawrence420
Coosa331
Geneva330
Cherokee332
Perry310
Monroe282
Clay272
Conecuh251
Lamar200
Cleburne131
Fayette110
Unassigned00
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