AP not quite ready to blame al-Qaida for 9/11?

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
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More than a decade after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Associated Press doesn’t seem prepared to definitely pin the blame on al-Qaida, at least in print.

In an article published late Monday night about a mock movie poster warning that al-Qaida wants to return to New York City, the AP wouldn’t definitively state al-Qaida was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. “Al-Qaida has been blamed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which destroyed the World Trade Center and killed thousands of people,” the article reads.

Asked to respond to the “has been blamed” formulation, AP director of Media Relations Paul Colford told The Daily Caller in an email: “We don’t doubt that AQ was behind 9/11.”

Yet a search on Lexis-Nexis found numerous similar word choices in AP stories suggesting that it is not a fact that al-Qaida was responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks.

Though conspiracy theorists have suggested that other entities may have been behind 9/11, even al-Qaida has mocked such theories. Shortly after the 10th anniversary in 2011, al-Qaida responded — in an editorial in al-Qaida’s English language “Inspire” magazine — to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s suggestion that the United States itself may have been responsible:

“Why would Iran ascribe to such a ridiculous belief that stands in the face of all logic and evidence?” al-Qaida asked. “For them, al-Qaida was a competitor for the hearts and minds of the disenfranchised Muslims around the world … [Al-Qaida] succeeded in what Iran couldn’t. Therefore it was necessary for the Iranians to discredit 9/11 and what better way to do so? Conspiracy theories.”

By time of publication, the Associated Press did not return TheDC’s request for additional comment explaining why, if it has no doubt al-Qaida was behind 9/11, it reported only that the terror group “has been blamed” for the attacks in print — instead of declaring that it was “responsible” for 9/11.

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