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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 4:59 PM
Updated: Aug 2, 2018 5:30 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!

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 193732

Reported Deaths: 2572
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah38352591
Washington25592233
Marion22026306
Clackamas17440214
Lane13007148
Jackson10862139
Deschutes896274
Umatilla820284
Linn492969
Yamhill446376
Klamath441164
Polk375752
Malheur351863
Josephine334570
Douglas327271
Benton310019
Jefferson219837
Coos206633
Columbia174427
Union144823
Lincoln137921
Wasco137728
Hood River118730
Crook111322
Morrow110716
Clatsop9858
Baker95414
Tillamook6493
Curry6469
Grant5095
Lake4517
Harney3448
Wallowa1845
Gilliam631
Sherman581
Wheeler321
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3764405

Reported Deaths: 62573
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles123645624067
Riverside2994554594
San Bernardino2967824715
San Diego2785913729
Orange2709835026
Santa Clara1190642096
Kern1091771374
Sacramento1048401686
Fresno1018381688
Alameda879401657
Ventura810011013
San Joaquin732201391
Contra Costa68741805
Stanislaus621421061
Tulare49654839
Monterey43613383
San Mateo42038568
San Francisco36720544
Santa Barbara34337456
Solano32953252
Merced31898460
Sonoma30035320
Imperial28443726
Kings22989246
Placer22679292
San Luis Obispo21308260
Madera16462242
Santa Cruz16264207
Marin14056227
Yolo13910210
Shasta12152226
Butte12026199
El Dorado10168112
Napa987082
Sutter9433112
Yuba626847
San Benito606563
Lassen570624
Tehama557262
Nevada474275
Tuolumne413166
Mendocino410149
Humboldt404641
Amador365847
Lake347643
Glenn239125
Colusa223416
Siskiyou223424
Calaveras212954
Inyo142838
Del Norte13938
Mono12844
Plumas7106
Modoc4994
Mariposa4487
Trinity4005
Sierra1120
Alpine880
Unassigned520
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