If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. And for those of you who have previously read my articles, you’ve heard me say it: With what the current regime in charge of the federal government trots out as information, how can we be expected to believe a word they say?
Well, one Associated Press (AP) reporter took that sentiment to heart, to the point that he got into it on Thursday with State Department spokesman Ned Price after he made claims of “Russian disinformation and the likelihood that Moscow might create, seek to create, a false flag operation to initiate military activity” with Ukraine.
For context, here’s the State Department’s claim, per Price:
Now, we can say, that the United States has information that Russia is planning to stage fabricated attacks by Ukrainian military or intelligence forces as a pretext for a further invasion of Ukraine.
One possible option the Russians are considering, and which we made public today, involves the production of a propaganda video - a video with graphic scenes of false explosions, depicting corpses, crisis actors pretending to be mourners and images of destroyed locations or military equipment, entirely fabricated by Russian intelligence.
The AP’s Matt Lee found the way with which Price was delivering the information to be insufficient, and rightfully so.
“What evidence do you have to support the idea that there is some propaganda film in the making?” Lee asked.
Price responded by saying something that really didn’t help his case.
“Matt, this is derived from information known to the U.S. government, intelligence information that we have declassified,” Price responded.
“Okay, well where is it?” Lee shot back. “Where is this information?”
“It is intelligence information that we have declassified,” Price said, repeating his previous answer.
“Well, where is it? Where is the declassified information?” Lee said, following up.
Price’s answer will leave you bewildered.
“I just delivered it,” Price said flippantly.
Lee retorted, “No, you made a series of allegations…”
“Would you like us to print out the topper,” Price interrupted, “because you will see a transcript of this briefing you can print out for yourself…”
“That’s not evidence, Ned,” Lee said, taking his turn to interrupt. “That’s you saying it. That’s not evidence. I’m sorry.”
Lee is 100 percent right. Just because someone says something, especially someone representing the federal government — of which declassified information should be readily available besides of a transcript of what they might say, doesn’t make it so.
Price may very well be correct in the State Department’s assessment of the situation between Russia and Ukraine. But like Lee asked, “Where’s the evidence?”
There was a lot more in the heated exchange between Price and Lee, with the former getting very defensive. For the full video, watch below:
When Pentagon spokesman John Kirby was asked about the possibility of "physical evidence" on the topic by Fox News' Bill Hemmer on Friday, he basically said that "this is something" the Russians "are thinking" of doing.
"Well I don't know that there's been a video produced yet, Bill, if that's what you mean," Kirby said, "but we certainly have intelligence that indicates that this is something that they're thinking about doing. I don't know that they've actually created it yet, but we know that they're thinking about doing it."
Pardon me, sir, but that's a pretty thin argument.