Last month, when asked about the Chinese hypersonic delivery missile test, Marie Harf, State Department Spokesperson, had no idea.
Her response to the reporter’s question?
What is — that’s interesting. Hypersonic — I don’t know what that is.
Well, apparently, there’s so much more that Marie just does not know:
Via Stephen F. Hayes: The Weekly Standard — Rumors of al Qaeda’s Demise
….Last week, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf claimed that Ayman al Zawahiri is “the only one left” of “core al Qaeda.”
It’s an absurd claim. And the context makes it worse.
At a State Department briefing on January 23, reporters asked Harf about a new message from Zawahiri to his followers. Her initial response? “I haven’t seen it.” But moments later, after promising to “take a look or a listen,” she claimed to know enough about its contents to dismiss their significance, saying “this is not new rhetoric we’ve heard from Zawahiri.”
How can you offer assurances about the substance and meaning of a message if you have not heard it? You can’t.
This was the context for her claim that Zawahiri is the only core al Qaeda member still standing. “Look, this is not new rhetoric we’ve heard from Zawahiri. He’s—core al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, besides Zawahiri, has essentially the entire leadership been decimated by the U.S. counterterrorism efforts. He’s the only one left….
A day after the briefing, Thomas Joscelyn and Bill Roggio, the indispensable team from the Long War Journal, highlighted Harf’s claims and debunked them. The story might have ended there, but in a decision she probably now regrets, Harf responded. Here is the relevant section of her argument:
(And it sounds so much like Obama’s ridiculous claim that the current crop of al Qaeda are “merely” ‘junior varsity.’)
I was making the point that of the high-value core al-Qaeda leadership targets the United States has had in our sights, Zawahiri is the only senior AQ leader left from the group that planned 9/11—from core al-Qaeda as we’ve known it. Of course, al-Qaeda core does replace leaders that get taken off the battlefield, but they are replaced in general with younger, less experienced fighters who don’t have the same kind of operational background and who don’t have the same ability to plan external attacks. They are obviously still very dangerous—especially in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and when they partner with other local terrorist groups—but they are by any definition a shadow of what the group used to be….
And when you read my full statement there, it’s clear that I’m talking about the core al-Qaeda leadership being decimated, not the entire group. It defies logic to argue that I think Zawahiri is literally the only core AQ fighter left….
Hayes then asks an excellent question:
If Harf believes it defies logic to argue that she thinks Zawahiri is the only core al Qaeda fighter left, she might have done more to explain why she said that Zawahiri is the only core Al Qaeda fighter left….
This is so absurd, that I almost laughed out loud.
Except that this is really not funny at all:
Because it seems that our national security is in the hands of a bunch of incompetent idiots.