The Washington Post fact check of the comparison between President Trump’s refugee ban and a seemingly similar policy brought forth by the Obama administration is severely flawed, enough so that I believe the Post must somewhat rely on their readers to take the “Pinocchio” rating at face value and not actually read the article to discover how the writer got to the conclusion they did.
Glenn Kessler is the journalist who penned this particular Washington Post fact check piece. Kessler is talented, of course, as only the most adept writers can make it seem as though they’re checking the facts, when in actuality they’re weaving a web of deceit by giving the reader carefully sought out and placed information in order to promote a certain outlook.
President Trump received “three Pinocchios” for his claim that his refugee ban is similar to a policy implemented by Obama in 2011, in which Trump’s predecessor supposedly halted or slowed down refugee influx from Iraq in response to evidence of terrorists posing as Iraqi refugees.
The Washington Post fact check criteria for a three Pinocchio rating is “Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions. This gets into the realm of ‘mostly false.'”
It then goes on to say, “But it could include statements which are technically correct (such as based on official government data) but are so taken out of context as to be very misleading.”
Say what? So whoever is being evaluated for a Washington Post fact check could be “technically correct,” but if the fact checker believes it to be “taken out of context” it becomes false? This goes into individual opinion territory, and reliance on opinion should not be allowed for fact checks, period.
Kessler claims the only information he and his colleagues could find about Obama’s supposed six-month Iraqi refugee ban was an article by ABC News, yet he goes on to provide information about it from the Baltimore Sun, the Los Angeles Times, and the Economist.
Glenn quoted the ABC article right away, the content of which appears to contradict the “facile” in the title of his piece as well as the rating of three Pinocchios.
“As a result of the Kentucky case, the State Department stopped processing Iraq refugees for six months in 2011, federal officials told ABC News — even for many who had heroically helped U.S. forces as interpreters and intelligence assets.”
If this is to be believed, the Obama administration did halt Iraqi refugee influx in 2011 for a six-month period. So far, Kessler’s argument isn’t looking too persuasive.
But there’s more to sort through here.
The Washington Post fact check goes on to explain the significance of the “Kentucky case.” Basically, Obama’s 2011 refugee halt was done in response to the FBI figuring out that two Iraqi refugees had been involved in terroristic activities.
One of the arguments Kessler pushes is that Obama didn’t ban all Iraqi refugees but rather significantly slowed down the process for a time to review and, if possible, improve vetting procedures for entrance into the country.
Is that not exactly what Donald Trump is now doing, the difference being that Trump is banning influx from more than one country?
It’s different, according to the Washington Post fact check, because Obama was acting in response to a specific incident, while Trump lacks a stimulus for his agenda.
“Obama responded to an actual threat — the discovery that two Iraqi refugees had been implicated in bombmaking in Iraq that had targeted U.S. troops. (Iraq, after all, was a war zone.)
“Trump, by contrast, issued his executive order without any known triggering threat. (His staff has pointed to attacks unrelated to the countries named in his order.)”
Claims like this are why so many people are calling the mainstream media “fake news.” Kessler has to know the amount of existing evidence that supports Trump’s belief that Islamic terrorists are sneaking into the U.S. and Europe by posing as refugees.
Though if he somehow doesn’t know, I can help.
In March of 2016, the Washington Times reported that head NATO official Philip Breedlove was concerned about ISIS militants infiltrating the refugee program and gaining entry into Europe, claiming ISIS was “spreading like cancer” among refugees fleeing the war in Syria.
If they do it to get into Europe, they’ll do it to get into America.
There is video footage of CIA Director John Brennan reporting that ISIS are doing their best to get into the West, one of their methods being to take advantage of the refugee program.
In addition to CIA Director John Brennan, FBI Director James Comey, Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, retired General Jack Keane, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Nicholas Rasmussen, retired General John Allen, retired General James Clapper, Assistant FBI Director Michael Steinbach, and Undersecretary of Department of Homeland Security Francis Taylor have all expressed concern over the threat posed by radical Islamists acting as refugees to get into the U.S. Should Donald Trump dismiss the opinion and advice of these experts? Does their outlook on the situation not warrant necessary action to keep Americans safe?
Now we get to the best reason the Washington Post fact check does not deserve to be taken seriously, as it seems the publication forgot to include and/or excuse one of their own stories which greatly supports the rationale of Trump banning migrants from entering the U.S.
In April of 2016, the Post published a story written by Anthony Faiola and Souad Mekhennet in which the journey of four Syrian refugees, two of which were involved in the Bataclan Concert Hall attack in Paris on November 13, 2015, that resulted in the deaths of 129 innocent people, is detailed.
“The men’s journey from the battlefields of Syria was reconstructed through interviews with intelligence officials and from French investigative documents obtained by The Washington Post, as well as an interview with an Islamic State commander.”
Faiola and Mekhennet reported that of the upwards of a million refugees that had made new homes in Europe at the time of the article’s publication, at least 36 were discovered, one way or another, to have been terrorists posing as migrants. Of that number, seven were involved in either the Paris or Brussels massacres.
Faiola and Mekhennet’s report proves that ISIS militants are infiltrating the refugee crisis, and that by them doing so, innocent people are dying. And if they’re doing it in Europe, there is absolutely no reason to think they aren’t also doing it in the United States.
So when Glenn Kessler claims Trump was without “any known triggering threat” when he ordered the immigration ban, and the president has pointed out attacks by people of countries different to those of where he’s banned refugees from, these points are moot.
The bottom line is that we know it’s possible for terrorists to come into America posing as refugees. The terrorists themselves have said they’d do it, top security advisers of the U.S. and beyond have said it’s a very real possibility, and there’s proof some of the militants who launched deadly attacks in the West came into Europe’s borders as refugees. If these aren’t reasons enough to temporarily halt immigration from war-torn, terrorist-controlled countries, I don’t know what are.
The Washington Post fact check asserts that under Obama there was no actual ban of refugees or immigrants from Iraq, but rather the influx slowed to a crawl. Either way, some action was taken to stop potential extremists from entry, and innocent people were affected, as Kessler notes that in Obama’s case, “the delays did not go unnoticed, so there was a lot of critical news reporting at the time about the angst of Iraqis waiting for approval,” and nobody gave a hoot.
It bothers me greatly that I have to write this. I’m convinced that there are enough misleading, twisted, fraudulent, and opinionated “fact-checks” by the mainstream press that I could spend every single minute of the rest of my life critiquing their flaws.
This Washington Post fact check that seeks to answer if Trump’s refugee policy is the same as Obama’s is nothing more than a researched essay in which Glenn Kessler crafts an argument against the new president, and in my opinion he failed to convince, but he succeeded in doing what the mainstream media have made their primary objective: to demonize Donald Trump as much as possible.
[Featured Image by ESB Professional/Shutterstock]