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 7:27 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!

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 42772

Reported Deaths: 1542
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin13697791
Ramsey5313234
Dakota275396
Stearns253619
Anoka2458111
Nobles16946
Washington130641
Olmsted130220
Mower9872
Scott8994
Rice8928
Clay62038
Kandiyohi5951
Blue Earth5862
Wright5475
Carver5002
Todd4042
Sherburne3725
Lyon3512
Freeborn3140
Watonwan2720
Steele2501
Benton2423
St. Louis23816
Nicollet20712
Martin1755
Winona15015
Cottonwood1420
Goodhue1428
Le Sueur1361
Crow Wing11512
Otter Tail1151
Pine1150
Chisago1111
McLeod1030
Dodge990
Carlton940
Polk903
Unassigned8838
Pipestone864
Isanti830
Murray830
Chippewa811
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Itasca7612
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Morrison691
Becker680
Meeker661
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Jackson580
Sibley572
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Pennington540
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Swift351
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Houston320
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Redwood250
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Wilkin223
Norman210
Cass202
Big Stone180
Kanabec181
Wadena180
Aitkin160
Marshall160
Clearwater150
Mahnomen131
Pope130
Stevens110
Hubbard100
Lake90
Traverse70
Lac qui Parle50
Red Lake50
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35534

Reported Deaths: 754
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk7611185
Woodbury334944
Black Hawk253459
Buena Vista173811
Johnson14878
Dallas141531
Linn141083
Marshall110019
Scott109810
Dubuque100023
Story8778
Pottawattamie84113
Wapello71631
Muscatine69545
Crawford6813
Sioux5050
Tama48829
Webster4295
Wright3991
Louisa36713
Jasper35717
Plymouth3535
Warren3371
Cerro Gordo3291
Dickinson3073
Washington2559
Hamilton2041
Boone1751
Clay1511
Clarke1453
Clinton1391
Allamakee1384
Mahaska11917
Shelby1190
Carroll1171
Bremer1167
Franklin1130
Poweshiek1128
Pocahontas1091
Des Moines1022
Emmet970
Cedar961
Henry933
Hardin920
Cherokee851
Marion840
Floyd822
Guthrie814
Taylor810
Benton781
Monona780
Jones741
Butler702
Osceola690
Sac680
Jackson670
Buchanan651
Calhoun652
Iowa631
Jefferson630
Hancock621
Harrison620
Lyon610
Humboldt601
Fayette590
Delaware581
Madison562
Lee542
Mills530
Palo Alto530
Monroe527
Clayton503
Winneshiek500
Grundy470
Mitchell470
Winnebago440
Davis431
Kossuth430
Union430
Howard370
Lucas354
Unassigned350
Chickasaw310
Greene310
Cass300
Worth270
Appanoose243
Keokuk241
Ida230
Page220
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Audubon181
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Montgomery152
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