Kellyanne Conway was on Hardball With Chris Matthews on MSNBC on Thursday evening and she referenced a terrorist attack she called the “Bowling Green Massacre” in justification for Donald Trump’s immigration ban against seven Muslim-majority countries, stating that Barack Obama enacted a similar ban while he was president as a result of that massacre. The problem with this is that there was never a “Bowling Green massacre.” According to The Daily Beast, Conway spoke of the “Bowling Green massacre” as if the media refused to cover the event.
“I bet it’s brand new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre,” Conway said. “Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”
— Joe Sonka (@joesonka) February 3, 2017
Conway was likely referring to two Iraqi nationals who lived in Bowling Green, Kentucky, who were arrested on federal terrorism charges in 2011 and who in 2013 were sentenced to prison, according to an official release on the Justice Department’s website. These arrests contributed to tightening vetting procedures of immigrants from Iraq in 2011.
“Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 25, a former resident of Iraq, was sentenced to life in federal prison, and Waad Ramadan Alwan, 31, a former resident of Iraq, was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison, followed by a life term of supervised release. Both defendants had pleaded guilty to federal terrorism charges,” the Justice Department says on its website.
Alwan’s fingerprints were discovered on an unexploded IED (Improvised Explosive Device) in Iraq in 2011, prompting an investigation. The FBI concluded in its investigation that Hammadi and Alwan were both involved in terrorist activities in Iraq. The investigation into the pair found that the two continued to attempt to aid al-Qaeda while under watch by investigators while they were living in the United States, but there was never a terrorist act committed by the two in Bowling Green, or anywhere else on American soil. Thus, there was no “Bowling Green massacre.”
“According to information presented by the United States in connection with today’s sentencings, Hammadi and Alwan both admitted, in FBI interviews that followed waiver of their Miranda rights, to participation in the purported material support operations in Kentucky, and both provided the FBI details of their prior involvement in insurgent activities while living in Iraq,” the Justice Department website says. “Both men believed their activities in Kentucky were supporting AQI. Alwan admitted participating in IED attacks against U.S. soldiers in Iraq, and Hammadi admitted to participating in 10 to 11 IED attacks as well as shooting at a U.S. soldier in an observation tower.”
The phrase, “alternative facts,” was used by Kellyanne Conway during a Meet the Press interview on January 22, 2017, just two days after Donald Trump’s inauguration. At the time, Conway was referring to differing reports of the crowd sizes at Trump’s inauguration given by Donald Trump’s White House press spokesman, Sean Spicer, and the major media. According to CNN, when pressed on the issue, Conway insisted the administration was offering “alternative facts,” which caused quite a stir, even prompting sales of George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, to skyrocket, due to the government in the book being heavily involved in rewriting history to suit its narratives.
It’s possible that Conway simply misspoke, and that she meant to say something like “Bowling Green arrests” instead of “Bowling Green massacre,” but name-dropping massacres is probably not best practice for a top-level adviser to the president during a national TV interview. As of this writing, the White House and Conway have not released any clarifying statements.
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