Obama’s White House Photographer Spreads Conspiracy Theory About Baghdadi Raid Photo
Pete Souza, the official White House photographer during the Obama administration, spread a conspiracy theory Sunday that President Donald Trump was not actually in the Situation Room when U.S. forces conducted a raid against Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Trump announced Sunday morning that al-Baghdadi committed suicide after U.S. Special Operations forces stormed his compound in a planned Saturday night raid. The White House released a photo showing Trump and other administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, watching the raid unfold from inside the Situation Room.
Souza, however, suggested in a tweet that the photo was staged and insisted that Trump wasn’t even at the White House when the raid took place. He incorrectly claimed that the raid “took place at 3:30 pm,” during which time Trump was golfing, and that the Situation Room photo was not taken until after 5 pm.
The raid, as reported, took place at 3:30PM Washington time. The photo, as shown in the camera IPTC data, was taken at "17:05:24". https://t.co/XV0MFfFiTt— Pete Souza (@PeteSouza) October 27, 2019
However, reporting about the raid around the time Souza sent his tweet indicated that the operation actually started just after 5 pm eastern time. Souza later corrected himself, but did not delete his original tweet, which has over 55,000 likes and 20,000 retweets.
The latest reporting from the NYT: the helicopters left Iraq at 5PM (Washington time), and they reported it was about a 70-minute flight to Syria. So actual raid had to happen some time after 6:10PM. https://t.co/rErbPLJlpD— Pete Souza (@PeteSouza) October 27, 2019
Souza later doubled down on his criticism of the photo, retweeting former Obama adviser David Axelrod, who claimed that the Situation Room picture was “posed.”
Which of these pictures looks real and which looks posed? pic.twitter.com/2xnYUAq3Dj— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) October 28, 2019