POLITICS

Trump Official Spreads False Information While Defending Soleimani Assassination

White House press aide Hogan Gidley claimed the U.S. killed Libya's Muammar Gaddafi and said Osama bin Laden was killed without congressional approval.

While defending the decision to assassinate Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani without congressional approval, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley claimed that the Obama administration killed two al Qaeda leaders and a brutal Libyan dictator without a greenlight from Congress.

But Gidley was wrong.

“Soleimani was, in fact, planning ‘imminent attacks,'" he tweeted Friday. “While Democrats and the media quibble over its definition, quick point: When Obama killed bin Laden, al-Awlaki and Gaddafi, without congressional approval, there were no ‘imminent attacks’ and Democrats did not ask or care.”

The U.S. military wasn’t responsible for killing Muammar Gaddafi, a Libyan dictator who was ousted after four decades in power. Opposition fighters in Misrata were the ones who captured, tortured and murdered Gaddafi in 2011, according to a report by Human Rights Watch. His capture and the moments leading to his death were filmed and circulated widely online.

Osama bin Laden, the leader of the terrorist group al Qaeda, and Anwar al-Awlaki, an al Qaeda operative born in the U.S., were legally sanctioned. Congress voted to authorize a war against al Qaeda with the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in 2001 after bin Laden claimed responsibility for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S.

Gidley attempted to clarify his tweet later Friday by blaming former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for taking “credit for the killing of these terrorists repeatedly, including Gaddafi.”

This isn’t the first time in the past 10 days that a Trump official botched the facts when defending the administration’s decision to take military action against Iran by killing Soleimani without prior approval from Congress.

Vice President Mike Pence incorrectly linked Soleimani to the 9/11 attacks last Friday, claiming without proof that the Iranian official was responsible for helping “10 of the 12 terrorists” enter the U.S.

In fact, there were 19 terrorists responsible for carrying out the 9/11 attacks.  While the 9/11 Commission’s report found that possibly eight hijackers passed through Iran to get to Afghanistan, there is no proof that Soleimani aided them through the country. 

Soleimani isn’t mentioned at all in the 9/11 Commission’s report, which found no evidence that “Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack.”

HuffPost has reached out to Gidley for comment.

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