Speed Reads


Sarah Huckabee Sanders used a 20-year-old myth about Osama bin Laden's secret phone to condemn modern media

The White House apparently has a problem with the media of the present — and with the media of 20 years ago.

In a Wednesday press conference, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders brought up a 1998 government leak, which apparently revealed the U.S. government was monitoring Osama bin Laden's secret phone line. News outlets reported the leak, causing the former al Qaeda leader to shut down the line and end the government's valuable intelligence connection.

One problem: The tale was deemed a myth 13 years ago, NBC News' Dafna Linzer pointed out on Twitter. But that didn't stop Sanders from using the story for a roundabout scolding of the media — one that Esquire's Ryan Lizza said "came pretty close to blaming 9/11 on the press."

Even more confusing is why this story was brought up in the first place. Sanders was asked if President Trump condemned a Tuesday night incident in which Trump supporters verbally harassed CNN's Jim Acosta at a rally in Tampa, Florida. The president condemns all violence and has "been clear about that a number of times," Sanders said, and then she declared that the media "routinely reports on classified information ... that put(s) lives in danger." From there, she referenced the bin Laden story — again, in response to a question about Acosta covering a Trump rally in Florida.

Watch the whole confusing exchange below. Kathryn Krawczyk