On February 2, 2017, Kellyanne Conway, President Trump's Counselor, was speaking about the now-rescinded ban on US entrance by residents of seven majority-Muslim countries. At one point, Conway made a reference to two Iraqi refugees whom she described as the masterminds behind “the Bowling Green massacre.” She went on to say, “Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”
I wrote about it on my Facebook page, and one of the commenters said,
She apparently meant the Chattanooga shootings: Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez opened fire, shooting seven people, including four Marines who died that day. See http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/18/us/tennessee-naval-reserve-shooting/
But that was not it. On Friday (2/3/17) Conway explained via Twitter that it wasn't a massacre, but a plot. But even that story falls apart. She had previously given a telephone interview to Cosmopolitan. Here's what Conway claimed in unpublished portions of the Cosmopolitan interview (on January
.... two Iraqi nationals came to this country, joined ISIS, traveled back to the Middle East to get trained and refine their terrorism skills, and come back here, and were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre of taking innocent soldiers' lives away."
As reported by James Gordon Meek, Cindy Galli, and Brian Ross Nov. 20, 2013
- Two Iraqi nationals, Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, entered the US in 2009 after rigorous vetting.
- In 2010, additional information about Alwan's al-Quaida connections came to light, and the FBI planned a sting
- The sting was to help Alwan procure arms to ship back to Iraq.
- The Bowling Green "terrorist plot" was a sting instigated by the FBI to entrap two Iraqis, previously cleared by vetting
- It did not involve plans to attack in the U.S.
- Alwan and Hammadi agreed to plead guilty to supporting terrorism and admitted their al Qaeda-Iraq past. Alwan cooperated and received 40 years, while Hammadi received a life term which he is appealing.
- The two men involved are in rare company; 0.0004% of Middle Eastern refugees have been arrested for similar crimes.
- The FBI sting been used to support anti-refugee sentiment ever since.
Ms. Conway has a track record of mendacity in interviews. I support the move to put any interview with her on tape-delay so facts can be checked.
Oh, and by the way, there's a Bowling Green Massacre Fund. Well-played.
But in an interview with Cosmopolitan.com conducted by phone days earlier, on Sunday, Jan. 29, Conway used the same phrasing, claiming that President Barack Obama called for a temporary "ban on Iraqi refugees” after the “Bowling Green massacre.” (The quotes did not appear in either of two stories recently published on Cosmopolitan.com.) "He did, it’s a fact," she said of Obama. "Why did he do that? He did that for exactly the same reasons. He did that because two Iraqi nationals came to this country, joined ISIS, traveled back to the Middle East to get trained and refine their terrorism skills, and come back here, and were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre of taking innocent soldiers' lives away."
As you can see from the list above, Ms. Conway is not accurate
- The two Iraqi nationals were al-Qaida in Irac, that is, radicalized before they arrived here
- There was no return to the Middle East
- Both Iraqis lied about their connection to terrorism to enter the US
- They were the only two people involved
- There was no vast plan for a massacre
But the fact that she invented the same story on two different occasions makes it doubtful that she misspoke.
So, to summarize:
- The "Bowling Green Massacre" never happened and was never planned to happen
- There were no masterminds.
- On January 29, 2017, Kellyanne Conway referred to the "Bowling Green Massacre" in a brief TMZ interview
- On January 29, 2017, Kellyanne Conway referred to the "Bowling Green Massacre" while being interviewed by Cosmopolitan
- On February 2 2017, Kellyanne Conway referred to the "Bowling Green Massacre" while being interviewed
- On February 3 2017, walks back the massacre, referring to the ABC News 2013 report, outlined above, which very clearly lays out the FBI sting and that the two men were not part of a vast network.