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Saturday, February 05, 2011

Assassination attempt?

Was newly-installed Egyptian veep Omar Suleiman the target of an assassination attempt which killed two of his bodyguards?

FOX News has spread spread the story. When the question was put to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, his response (allegedly) was ā€œIā€™m not going to get into that question.ā€

But that response does not appear in any official WH transcript. Wolfgang Ischinger, a German official who was an original source for the tale has now retracted his comments. The Egyptian government denies the story. Hillary Clinton appears to have confirmed it.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at the conference that the news of the assassination attempt reflects the challenges of restoring stability in Egypt.
Clinton may have spoken those words based on Ischinger's original comments, since retracted. However, an Australian news site says that the story has been confirmed by a unnamed senior Obama administration official. (Clinton? Perhaps.)

Richard Engel of NBC has said that there is "NO evidence of any attempt...rumor originated with media."

Lambert at Corrente offers the most interesting discussion of this brouhaha:
My first reaction: I've never seen the "plant the disinformation in the foreign press, then break it domestically" play worked through us instead of by us. What next? Muslim Brotherhood yellow cake?
The assassination story (pseudo-story?) received wide play in the Israeli media. The Ha'aretz piece derives from FOX News.

Was Rupert Murdoch trying to drum up sympathy for Suleiman and Mubarak? Did the story originate with the Israelis? Why doesn't the Obama administration have its act together when it comes to issuing a confirmation or denial?
I read what Hillary said and I don't take it as "appearing" a confirmation. I think she didn't want to wander off message and get into whether there was or was not an attack. That truth of that event is irrelevant to what she needs to say. It's up to the Egyptian government to say if there was an attempt.
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