WorldNetDaily today recounts the revealing e-mail exchange between our own Trunk and Gregory Sullivan of the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs prior to the publication of Trunk’s article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune establishing Arafat’s responsibility for the 1973 murder of U.S. diplomats in Sudan and the 1985 Achille Lauro hijacking in which a wheelchair-bound American was murdered. The snippiness of Sullivan’s e-mail is worth noting, but I want to comment on its highly misleading content.
Sullivan purports to correct two factual errors in Trunk’s account. First, regarding the Achille Lauro, Sullivan states that the Palestine Liberation Front, not the PLO, conducted the hijacking and the murder of American Leon Klinghoffer. But, as today’s WorldNetDaily article notes, the PLO’s own website affirms that the Palestine Liberation Front is, to this day, embodied within the umbrella of Arafat’s PLO.
Sullivan’s other argument is that Black September was responsible for killing the American diplomats and that, although Black September was “part of the Fatah movement, the linkage between Arafat [head of Fatah] and this group has never been established.” This claim seems difficult to sustain given a 1973 CIA report, circulated by the State Department itself to 40 U.S. embassies and quoted in an earlier March 2002 WorldNetDaily piece. That report states that “for all intents and purposes, no significant distinction can now be made between BSO [Black September Organization] and Fatah.” Sullivan’s pronouncement must depend on what the meaning of “linkage” is.
But beyond the question of whether there was a link between Arafat and Black September, Sullivan overlooks strong evidence made available to him that Arafat approved, if not ordered, the slaying of our diplomats in Sudan. That evidence appears in the same 1973 CIA report quoted earlier. It states: “Fatah leader Yasser Arafat has now been described in recent intelligence reports as having given approval to the Khartoum operation prior to its inception.” These intelligence reports may well have been based on a telephone intercept of Arafat ordering the execution of the diplomats. As the two WorldNetDaily articles point out, former National Security Agency operative James Welsh says that he witnessed the intercept. WorldNetDaily stated in the March 2002 article that Sullivan had agreed to look at the underlying CIA and State Department documents.
The central point of Trunk’s Star-Tribune article was that “the State Department whitewashes the now thoroughly documented terrorist activities of Yasser Arafat and Fatah.” Sullivan’s e-mail to Trunk falls well within this sorry tradition.
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