On January 3, 2020, Vice President Mike Pence tweeted this about General Suleimani:
The New York Times responded that the public record does not back him up.. The Los Angeles Times claims Pence falsely links Iranian general to 9/11 attacks. Both newspapers and the others echoing them are lying or just wrong.
The public record actually does back up the Vice President completely. All one need do is look at the 9/11 Commission report on page 241.
According to the LA Times:
[T]o link Suleimani — one of Iran’s highest-ranking officials — with direct involvement in 9/11 is flawed on many levels, said Osamah F. Khalil, an associate professor of history at Syracuse University. The first inaccuracy is the number of hijackers involved in the 9/11 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The correct number is 19, not 12. (A Pence spokeswoman, Katie Waldman, later wrote on Twitter that Pence had meant that “12 of the 19 transited through Afghanistan,” and that “10 of those 12 were assisted by Suleimani.”) Misagh Parsa, a sociology professor at Dartmouth College, said that either way, there was scant evidence to back up the claim. “Where is the evidence and who were these 10 people?” she asked.
Note that the LA Times relies on a “sociology professor” to debunk the Vice President. How about what the 9/11 Commission report actually says?
Here is page 240 of the Commission’s report:
Intelligence indicates the persistence of contacts between Iranian security officials and senior al Qaeda figures after Bin Ladin’s return to Afghanistan. Khallad has said that Iran made a concerted effort to strengthen relations with al Qaeda after the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole, but was rebuffed because Bin Ladin did not want to alienate his supporters in Saudi Arabia. Khallad and other detainees have described the willingness of Iranian officials to facilitate the travel of al Qaeda members through Iran, on their way to and from Afghanistan. For example, Iranian border inspectors would be told not to place telltale stamps in the passports of these travelers. Such arrangements were particularly beneficial to Saudi members of al Qaeda.
Our knowledge of the international travels of the al Qaeda operatives selected for the 9/11 operation remains fragmentary. But we now have evidence suggesting that 8 to 10 of the 14 Saudi “muscle” operatives traveled into or out of Iran between October 2000 and February 2001.
Now, here is the major portion from page 241:
In sum, there is strong evidence that Iran facilitated the transit of al Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, and that some of these were future 9/11 hijackers. There also is circumstantial evidence that senior Hezbol- lah operatives were closely tracking the travel of some of these future muscle hijackers into Iran in November 2000.
Now, what does Mike Pence accuse General Suleimani of doing? The Vice President says Suleimani “[a]ssisted in the clandestine travel to Afghanistan of 10 of the 12 terrorists who carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.”
Yes it is true the 9/11 Commission report stated, “We have found no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack,” but that is not what the Vice President claimed. He claimed, accurately, that the 9/11 attackers traveled through Iran on their way to Afghanistan with Suleimani’s assistance. That is 100% true.
As the Los Angeles Times correctly points out, the Vice President got the total number wrong. But he got everything else right.
The New York Times and Los Angeles Times and others claim the 9/11 Commission report never mention Suleimani. That is true. But that is irrelevant. There is no question that Suleimani would have been the one to give the orders. That was his position. It is what he does. It is wrong or flat out lying to pretend otherwise.
The media is so desperate to call BS on the Trump Administration that they are willing to lie to their readers in a game of gotcha.