Psaki gets snarky in response to question about ‘evidence’ supporting WH claims about ISIS leader raid

President Joe Biden’s administration announced Wednesday a successful military raid in Syria that took out the top Islamic State group leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi, who was also known as Hajji Abdullah and was the successor to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who had been killed in a 2019 raid.

During a press gaggle on Thursday, a reporter demanded “evidence” backing up a claim that the ISIS leader had blown himself and his family up at the start of the raid, and perhaps unsurprisingly, White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded with snarkiness to a legitimate question, the Washington Examiner reported.

Islamic State group leader reportedly killed in raid

First, unnamed “senior administration officials” conducted a background press call with reporters to discuss the U.S. military raid in Syria and provide some details on what had occurred.

According to those officials, U.S. troops were helicoptered in and landed near a residential building that Abdullah used as his headquarters. The Americans quickly worked to safely evacuate innocent civilians living in that building that were allegedly being used by the terrorist leader as human shields.

However, prior to the troops entering the building, Abdullah is alleged to have detonated explosives that took out the entire third floor of the building where he and his wife and children all lived. After that explosion, the troops purportedly engaged and killed one of Abdullah’s chief lieutenants who had barricaded himself in a second-floor room, killing him and his wife but safely rescuing their children before being extracted without casualties after about two hours on the ground.

Do you believe the White House or ISIS propaganda?

During a press gaggle aboard Air Force One later on Thursday, Psaki fielded several questions about the Syria raid, including one from a reporter asking if any “evidence” in support of the administration’s claims would be released to the public, “Because there may be people that are skeptical of the events that took place and what happened to the civilians.”

“Skeptical of the U.S. military’s assessment when they went and took out an ISIS terror- — the leader of ISIS?” an incredulous Psaki replied. “That they are not providing accurate information  — and ISIS is providing accurate information?”

The reporter fired back, “Well, not ISIS, but, I mean, the U.S. has not always been straightforward about what happens with civilians,” and added, “And, I mean, that is a fact.”

That quip was justifiable, given the Biden administration’s initial dishonesty with regard to an airstrike in Afghanistan in 2021 that had purportedly killed a top ISIS terrorist but in reality had killed 10 civilians, including an allied aid worker, members of his family, and their children, according to Business Insider.

But Psaki ultimately demurred on the topic, citing how little time had elapsed since the event and that after-action assessments remained ongoing, and deferred all additional questions to the Defense Department.

Admin claims to welcome “tough questions and good-faith scrutiny”

The story doesn’t end there, though, as the first question during Friday’s briefing dealt with the snarky response from Psaki — as well as State Department spokesman Ned Price with regard to unsupported claims about Russian “false flag” attacks — and the press secretary was asked, “Do you really believe that journalists are repeating Russian and Islamic State propaganda in pursuing those questions, first of all?”

Perhaps chastened from Thursday’s blowback, Psaki replied, “Let me just start by saying that we welcome tough questions and good-faith scrutiny, otherwise I wouldn’t come out here,” before going on to ask for more time for assessments to be completed, at which point the requested “evidence” to bolster the White House’s claims would be publicly released, if appropriate.

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