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: 66646

Reported Deaths: 1874
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5544117
DeSoto357430
Harrison240635
Madison239664
Rankin225132
Jackson222542
Jones185058
Forrest175855
Washington160640
Lauderdale139790
Lee138333
Neshoba128492
Lamar119214
Oktibbeha109638
Bolivar109333
Lowndes105837
Warren103332
Panola102612
Scott99520
Sunflower99224
Lafayette95615
Copiah94528
Leflore90762
Pike89635
Holmes87348
Grenada83821
Yazoo81512
Pontotoc8098
Lincoln79641
Leake78625
Simpson78630
Monroe76952
Wayne75321
Coahoma71511
Tate70527
Marshall6749
Marion64320
Winston61116
Adams61025
Covington61013
Union60116
George5494
Newton53711
Pearl River52937
Tallahatchie52210
Attala51525
Walthall49119
Chickasaw45019
Noxubee44811
Calhoun4079
Prentiss40310
Claiborne39813
Alcorn3975
Smith39713
Clay39214
Jasper3819
Hancock37314
Tishomingo3635
Itawamba34810
Tippah34213
Clarke32525
Tunica3226
Montgomery3153
Lawrence3127
Yalobusha31210
Humphreys28311
Carroll26011
Quitman2521
Greene23611
Jefferson Davis2286
Kemper22714
Amite2256
Webster22512
Perry2237
Wilkinson20113
Jefferson1946
Sharkey1944
Stone1864
Benton1420
Choctaw1314
Franklin1192
Issaquena251
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 94827

Reported Deaths: 1674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12743242
Mobile9565206
Montgomery6521148
Madison525030
Tuscaloosa410371
Unassigned347461
Baldwin344323
Shelby320133
Marshall309034
Lee262844
Morgan233017
Etowah207530
DeKalb177113
Calhoun170413
Elmore169438
Walker150264
Houston136412
Russell13422
Dallas131123
St. Clair131016
Limestone128413
Franklin125820
Cullman120112
Colbert115613
Lauderdale113917
Autauga106521
Escambia105416
Talladega98613
Jackson9454
Tallapoosa84979
Chambers83538
Dale82323
Blount7743
Chilton7676
Butler75935
Coffee7475
Covington72620
Pike6907
Barbour5695
Lowndes56724
Marion56724
Marengo54614
Clarke4969
Hale46726
Bullock45411
Winston44411
Perry4364
Wilcox41810
Bibb4164
Monroe4154
Randolph39410
Pickens3849
Conecuh38210
Sumter36218
Lawrence3441
Macon33213
Washington32712
Crenshaw3133
Choctaw27912
Cherokee2637
Geneva2550
Henry2523
Greene25011
Clay2495
Lamar2172
Fayette1985
Cleburne1251
Coosa1012
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