Another embarrassing "alternative facts" incident put presidential senior counselor Kellyanne Conway on the defensive Friday morning for her explanation of the completely fake "Bowling Green massacre." Conway took to Twitter to try to explain herself, tweeting a link to an article about the situation she referenced, but she ended up just getting roasted more in the process.
The whole ordeal started on Hardball with Chris Matthews, as Conway tried to defend her boss's potentially unconstitutional refugee ban. "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 they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre. Most people don't know that because it didn't get covered," Conway asserted, in a dual attack on the liberal media and partisan, conservative-hating politics.
To be fair, Conway's story was built on the smallest smidgeon of truth. According to ABC News, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi and Waad Ramadan Alwan were al Qaeda-connected terrorists who were mistakenly allowed to come into the country as part of the Iraqi refugee program. A little over two years later, they were arrested by FBI agents for their connection to a 2005 IED explosion in Iraqi that killed four American service members. What Conway didn't get right was the "massacre" — neither Hammadi nor Alwan killed a single person in the United States or were they able to get any shipments of weapons back to Iraq. The Iraqi refugee ban also didn't happen, according to CNN.
Conway tried to use this case as support for the refugee ban, but this is clearly a success story rather than a basis for fear-mongering. Although the initial screening failed and let Hammadi and Alwan into the United States, the safeguard of national intelligence agencies caught them before they caused any more harm to American citizens. Since then, the vetting process has only continued to improve, Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Peter Boogaard said in a statement to ABC.
"[The U.S. government] continually improves and expands its procedures for vetting immigrants, refugees and visa applicants, and today [the] vetting process considers a far broader range of information than it did in past years," Boogaard said. "These checks are vital to advancing the U.S. government's twin goal of protecting the world's most vulnerable persons while ensuring U.S. national security and public safety."
Unfortunately, Conway was trying to erase the first goal in support of the second, but the American people let her know pretty quickly that's not how they roll.
Everyone from Chelsea Clinton to the ACLU is jumping on the bandwagon to give Conway the roast of a lifetime, and she deserves it. There's partisan spin and then there's intentional public manipulation, and Conway has clearly shown that she's not above the latter. It's a good thing she's not any better at it, because otherwise it might actually start to work. Conway tweeted Friday morning that "honest mistakes abound," but it's difficult to say whether her story was really a mistake.