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OOPS: Sarah Sanders Lied About That Whole Osama Bin Laden Satellite Phone Report

In her press conference Wednesday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeated a long-debunked story she had in her written notes about reporters outing Osama Bin Laden's satellite phone.
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Sarah Huckabee Sanders read a prepared statement yesterday where she blamed reporters for endangering national security by reporting on "classified information and government secrets" like the United States' eavesdropping on Osama Bin Laden's satellite phone.

Here, for review, is what she said in the video above:

The media routinely reports on classified information and government secrets that put lives in danger and risk valuable national security tools. This has happened both in our administration and in past administrations. One of the worst cases was the reporting on the U.S. 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.

CNN jumped right on that, pointing out that it was a lie in the headline. Good for them.

Here's a bit of CNN's deconstruction of Sanders' lie.

Bush and the commission in 2005 blamed an August 1998 article in The Washington Times for revealing that the US government had the ability to monitor bin Laden's satellite communications.

The story in question did not claim that the US government was monitoring the phone, instead merely reporting that bin Laden used a satellite phone -- something that was widely known at the time. Further, a Washington Post article from the time of Bush's accusation points out that the Taliban, and bin Laden himself, not the US government, were the sources of information about bin Laden's phone usage.

Several media reports, including one from CNN, around the time of the August 1998 Washington Times story also noted that bin Laden used a satellite phone, including to conduct media interviews. Only a USA Today story from around that time quoted a former US official noting that bin Laden "had a fondness for his cell phone."

The fact that she read her lie from notes or a prepared statement is just bizarre. Someone actually took the time to put that lie in writing for her to read. It's time for media to pack up the dog-and-pony show and shut it down. Send the interns to the press briefings along with a pool camera. No reporters at the rallies, just a pool camera in case.

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