The case of Conor Powell

This past week FOX News aired Conor Powell’s report on Israel’s West Bank operation to apprehend Hamas operatives suspected of participation in the the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens. (I saw Powell’s report on Special Report with Bret Baier. It may have aired on other shows that day.)

IDF forces were unable to apprehend the operatives; they were killed in a shootout. The Washington Post reported on the incident here.

Powell reported that Hamas denied responsibility for the kidnapping, but that the kidnappers themselves were members of Hamas. Powell’s report left Hamas’s responsibility for the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teenagers an open question.

I asked Powell via Twitter whether he was aware of Hamas’s admission of responsibility for the kidnapping operation. The admission was widely reported last month, as in this Associated Press account:

A senior Hamas leader has said the group carried out the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens in the West Bank in June — the first time anyone from the Islamic militant group has said it was behind an attack that helped spark the current war in the Gaza Strip.

Saleh Arouri told a conference in Turkey on Wednesday that Hamas’s military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, carried out what he described as a “heroic operation” with the broader goal of sparking a new Palestinian uprising.

“It was an operation by your brothers from the al-Qassam Brigades,” he said, saying Hamas hoped to exchange the youths for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

Hamas has repeatedly praised the kidnappings, but Arouri, the group’s exiled West Bank leader, is the first member to claim responsibility.

I linked to the AP story in two Twitter messages to Powell, but Powell didn’t acknowledge the story in his responses to me. He wrote:

I never denied connection btwn kidnappers & hamas. But hamas boss Khalid Marshal & others have denied “planning” attack

I clearly say hamas leaders say they weren’t “behind” kidnapping. Video says hamas members did it. There is a distinction

As Powell notes, there is a distinction. That is why the admission of responsibility by a senior Hamas official was big news. It showed not only that Hamas itself was responsible for the kidnapping and murders, but strongly suggested that Hamas was looking for the war that Israel proceeded to deliver.

Powell reported regularly from Gaza during the war. I thought his work was incredibly lame, especially for a FOX News correspondent. Powell was FOX’s principal reporter from Gaza during the war; I complained about the shabby quality of his work on Power Line.

Powell’s responses to me raise the question whether he simply doesn’t know what he is talking about, or whether he is a knowing tool. Powell has not responded to my follow-up inquiry on Twitter. In either case, what is this guy doing on FOX News?

To borrow a phrase, we report, you decide.

RELATED: Matthew Continetti’s September Commentary column “Hamas’s useful idiots.”

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