Headlines That Don’t Match The Article: AP On Al-Qaeda’s Strength

Here’s the AP headline,

“AP: Government Report Concludes Al Qaeda Now as Strong as in Summer of 2001”

Here’s the relevant part of the article, which is based on the interpretation of a report, by anonymous sources, that the AP hasn’t seen, and that we are therefore unable to peruse ourselves,

“Al Qaeda is “considerably operationally stronger than a year ago” and has “regrouped to an extent not seen since 2001,” the counterterrorism official said, paraphrasing the report’s conclusions. “They are showing greater and greater ability to plan attacks in Europe and the United States.”

The group also has created “the most robust training program since 2001, with an interest in using European operatives,” the official quoted the report as saying.”

Those quotes, which have obviously been cherrypicked and paraphrased by someone looking to embarrass the Bush administration, say that Al-Qaeda is stronger than they were a year ago and have, “regrouped to an extent not seen since 2001.”

Although it’s impossible to say how accurate that interpretation of the report actually is since it’s based on the paraphrased words of an anonymous source, it expressly DOES NOT say Al-Qaeda is as strong as they were in the summer of 2001. Technically, these statements could be true…

“Al Qaeda is “considerably operationally stronger than a year ago” and has “regrouped to an extent not seen since 2001”

…..if Al-Qaeda was at 30% or 40% of their summer of 2001 strength. So therefore, the headline is deliberately misleading and designed to give people a false impression about this report which is, quite frankly, so thinly sourced that the AP shouldn’t have published it in the first place given the controversial conclusion that it draws with its headline.

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