Snopes' Attack on Front Page Shows How Incompetent It Is

Yesterday my piece on how Obama frees a terrorist linked to the USS Cole bombing went viral.

On Thursday morning, sailors on board the USS Cole were lining up for an early lunch. Seventeen of them died as an Al Qaeda bomb on board a fishing boat tore through the hull outside the galley. The dead included 15 men and 2 women, one of whom had a young child. For three weeks the crew of the USS Cole struggled to keep their ship from sinking while working waist deep in water with bucket brigades, sleeping on the deck and living surrounded by the terrible aftermath of the terrorist attack. 

The survivors, wounded and whole, received the words "Glory is the Reward of Valor" written on the bent steel removed from the site of the explosion that tore through their ship and their lives.

The President of the United States promised that justice would be done. “To those who attacked them we say: You will not find a safe harbor. We will find you and justice will prevail.”

Despite Clinton’s words, justice did not prevail.

The very paperwork that was used as the basis for the decision to free Sabri describes him as “a member of a Yemeni al-Qaida cell directly involved with the USS Cole attack”. This cell “conducted surveillance” on the targeted vessel and “prepared explosives for the bombing”. Sabri had been arrested in Yemen for his involvement in the attack before he managed to make his way to Afghanistan.

The former commander of the USS Cole has already commented on the story. Predictably left-wing" fact checking" site Snopes attempted a feeble counterattack. It's not only laughably terrible, but a reminder that Snopes is incompetent and worthless at even the simplest fact checking tasks.

Snopes' Kim LaCapria declares it "Mostly False". She insists that "President Obama had no hand in the selection of detainees to be transferred nor in al-Sabri's specific transfer".

In fact, Obama had vowed to close Gitmo. Hagel, the previous Secretary of Defense, had said that he was pressured by the White House to free Gitmo terrorists.

In an interview with Foreign Policy, Hagel said that the Obama administration pressured him to approve transfers of Guantanamo prisoners to other countries. When he responded by refusing or delaying transfers of dozens of detainees who he judged were at risk to rejoin terrorist organizations, he received “brutal” pushback from the White House.

“It got pretty bad, pretty brutal,” Hagel, a Vietnam War veteran, stated. “I’d get the hell beat out of me all the time on this at the White House.”

Hagel was actually forced out over it.

The Pentagon's slow pace in approving transfers was a factor in President Obama's decision to remove Hagel in February, former administration officials said. And in September, amid continuing Pentagon delays, President Obama upbraided Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in a one-on-one meeting, according to administration officials briefed on the encounter.

Since then, the Pentagon has been more cooperative. Administration officials said they expect to begin transferring at least 17 detainees to foreign countries in January.

Military officials, however, continue to make transfers more difficult and protracted than necessary, administration officials said.

The White House is aggressively pushing the current Secretary of Defense over the same issue.

The White House wants to quickly cut the number of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. One man is standing in the way: President Obama’s Defense Secretary, Ash Carter.

Carter and the White House are increasingly at odds about how to whittle down the number of detainees held in Guantanamo Bay, hampering the administration’s push to close the detention center by the end of its term.

The White House believes that Carter is unwilling to be accountable for the transfer of Guantanamo detainees and their conduct post-release, even to the point of defying the president’s policy on the detention facility, a White House source told The Daily Beast.

There’s even speculation that if the President follows through on his threat to veto the defense budget bill to win changes on detainee policy, he will ask that the law be amended so that the president, not the defense secretary, has the final say on detainee transfers.

So much for that. But that's not the ridiculously incompetent part of Kim LaCapria's Snopes piece. This is.

Instead of starting with Sabri's actual Gitmo assessment, her "fact check" quotes random articles that she googled.

A 16 April 2016 article did not specifically describe al-Sabri as linked to the USS Cole attack:

A Google search restricted to on or before 1 February 2016 yielded just three hits -- all of which were misdated items concerning his transfer to Saudi Arabia. If al-Sabri was a major name linked with the USS Cole investigation, that was not reported between the October 2000 attack and his April 2016 transfer out of Guantanamo Bay.

If it wasn't reported, then it can't be true. Then she finally goes to the Gitmo assessment... and claims that his involvement was "tangential". Here's part of the section that Kim LaCapria quotes.

"Detainee was a member of a Yemeni al-Qaida cell directly involved with the USS COLE attack. Members of this cell conducted surveillance on the USS COLE and prepared explosives for the bombing."

Being a member of the terror cell that carried out the attack is not "tangential".

Kim LaCapria then carefully neglects to mention that other detainees also identified him as a member of the cell and as having been arrested for involvement in the attack. She then describes his link as "tenuous to nonexistent".This seems like a better description of Snopes' fact-checking skills.

Then, after all this, she claims that Front Page must have confused him with someone else "with a similar name". Presumably the United States government must have made the same mistake. Also people keep confusing Snopes with a fact checking site.

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