Flight 253: Media Ignoring Two-Day Gap Between Preliminary AQ Linkage and Obama Team's 'Some Linkage' Acknowledgment


UPDATE, Jan. 1, 2010: This post at BizzyBlog shows that the there was recognition of likely Al Qaeda involvement in two separate press reports based on sources in a position to know on Christmas evening. Thus, the administration's delay in acknowledging that reality was actually three full days.

In their initial December 26 report ("Passengers’ Quick Action Halted Attack") on the attempted terrorist attack on Flight 253, New York Times reporters Scott Shane and Eric Lipton told readers that the "episode .... riveted the attention of President Obama on vacation in Hawaii."

In an article later that day ("Officials Point to Suspect’s Claim of Qaeda Ties in Yemen"), Lipton and Eric Schmitt reported that:

.... officials said the suspect (Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab) told them he had obtained explosive chemicals and a syringe that were sewn into his underwear from a bomb expert in Yemen associated with Al Qaeda.

The authorities have not independently corroborated the Yemen connection .... But a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation said on Saturday that the suspect’s account was “plausible,” and that he saw “no reason to discount it.”

Any reasonable person would say that this second report establishes "reason to believe that there is some linkage" between the suspect and Al Qaeda, and that a "riveted" president would have known that there was "some linkage" by Saturday night. That's why the following opener to a Washington Post item by Anne E. Kornblut dated yesterday is especially hard to take:

President Obama and his top advisers received new information Monday night about the attempted airliner attack in Detroit that has led them to believe there is "some linkage" with al-Qaeda, a senior administration official said Tuesday.

That's also why the following statement included in remarks made by the president at 11:26 Hawaiian Time on Tuesday (4:26 p.m. Eastern) beggars belief:

I wanted to speak to the American people again today because some of this preliminary information that has surfaced in the last 24 hours raises some serious concerns.

For cryin' out loud, they had what they needed to make a "some linkage" statement more than 48 hours earlier. Yet Obama and his peeps are acting as if they didn't learn anything important until .... Monday night, "coincidentally" after a speech that was panned by almost all who saw it, ranging from Charles Krauthammer to Maureen Dowd, as a dreadful dud. Give me a break.

Yet Kornblut and others in the media are swallowing the administration's rendition hook, line and sinker, or are pretending to. The Associated Press's version, courtesy of Philip Elliott and Lolita C. Baldor, seems deliberately gullible, while also portraying Obama as the supposedly tough guy:

Obama wants answers after botched terror attack

President Barack Obama is demanding answers on why information was never pieced together by the U.S. intelligence community to trigger red flags about an alleged terrorist and possibly prevent his botched Christmas Day attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner.

.... Officials said Obama chose to make his second statement in as many days after a morning briefing offered him new information about the suspect's activities and thinking, along with al-Qaida's plans.

Even if there was even legitimate new information, based on what the whole world knew on Saturday night, it would have moved them from "some linkage" to "strong linkage," not from nothing to "some."

The only thing "new" was the PR problem Obama's listless performance on Monday presented. The establishment media ignored its own reports in giving him an undeserved lifeline.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.