Speaking to Chris Matthews on MSNBC on Thursday night, Conway said:
“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 were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre. Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”
It also never happened.
Conway, who last month described the Trump administration’s spin as “alternative facts,” appears to be referring to an incident in 2011 when two Iraqi refugees were arrested in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Mohanad Shareef Hammadi and Waad Ramadan Alwan believed they were sending money and weapons to al Qaeda in Iraq when in fact, they were caught in an FBI sting operation.
While Hammadi and Alwan were convicted in 2013 of terrorism and are currently imprisoned, there was no massacre in Bowling Green nor were they accused of planning or attempting one.
There was also no “ban” on the refugee program. As Business Insider reported, the Obama administration delayed processing refugees as it expanded screening measures; refugees already in the country were re-screened. Iraqi refugees continued to enter the country, just at a slower pace.
Soon after Conway cited it, “Bowling Green Massacre” began trending on Twitter:
Conway called it an “honest mistake” and attempted to deflect criticism by citing journalists who fell for fabricated stories.
This story has been updated with tweets from Conway.