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Biden Administration Turns Intel Success Into a Media Mess.

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The Biden administration’s current approach on war is “believe us” — and if you disagree, you’re Vladimir Putin’s or ISIS’ talking puppet.

The killing of ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi and the “finding” of a Russian misinformation campaign in Ukraine should have been a blemish-free day for the Biden administration to brag about a couple of rare successes in the competitive national security and intelligence arenas. Instead, it muddled the message, heightened the ire of a suspicious press, and pushed the conversation into a Bush-era false dichotomy of “you’re either with us or against us.”

It reflects a communications firm that appears irritated when journalists don’t believe its storey, and that is struggling to counter a real stream of pro-Russian views expressed by right-wing leaders in the United States.

But it’s one thing to know that such a bizarre synergy is taking place. It’s another thing entirely to suggest that American journalists and political opponents have bought into it.

 

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) argued on Wednesday that the US should not give Ukraine NATO membership and should instead focus on China, White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded that he was “digesting Russian propaganda and parroting Russian talking points.”

Then, on Thursday, NPR’s Ayesha Rascoe asked Psaki if the US could produce evidence to back up President Joe Biden’s claim that al-Qurayshi detonated a suicide bomb during the US military assault and murdered civilians, “because there may be individuals who are sceptical of the events.”

“Are you sceptical of the US military’s assessment when they went in and killed ISIS’s leader?” That they aren’t giving us accurate information while ISIS is giving us correct information?” Psaki answered, inadvertently insinuating that challenging the administration’s account of the raid indicates that someone feels ISIS is a more truthful actor. Psaki did eventually respond to Rascoe’s inquiry, repeating “that the man who was the target detonated himself, murdering his entire family,” though she didn’t provide any other evidence beyond the administration’s repeated comments.

Six children and four women were found dead at the raid location, according to the White Helmets, a Syrian civil defence and humanitarian organisation.

 

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