Fact Check: Cameras Did NOT Shut Off Or Go Black During Biden Press Conference When He Was Asked About 'Hit List' In Afghanistan

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: Cameras Did NOT Shut Off Or Go Black During Biden Press Conference When He Was Asked About 'Hit List' In Afghanistan Stayed On

Did cameras shut off or go black during a President Joe Biden press conference when he was asked about a "hit list" of people in Afghanistan? No, that's not true: The cameras did not shut off during Biden's press conference. He was not asked if the suicide bombing in Afghanistan was a "predetermined attack" and if the U.S. gave the Taliban a "hit list."

According to a transcript of the press conference, Biden was asked about reports "that U.S. officials provided the Taliban with names of Americans and Afghan officials to evacuate." He answered the question on live television; a follow-up question about a "hit list" was not asked. Video from the press conference does not shut off or go black.

The claim appeared as a Facebook post (archived here) on September 1, 2021. It opens:

For you guys that won't find this out bc social media won't allow it..

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Sep 3 18:11:23 2021 UTC)

The image is of a man with his thumb up on what appears to be a Snapchat screen grab. The text over the picture reads:

For you guys that won't find this out bc social media won't allow it..
In a press conference about the bombing a reporter asked Biden if he thought it was a "predetermined" attack and he said "no we gave them a list of Americans and Afghans that are still there"
And then another reporter said "so you gave them a hit list?" And then the cameras shut off and it went black. Just thought I'd keep you guys updated with REAL news instead of what's gonna be taken off the internet forever
This happened literally 30 mins ago

Lead Stories conducted Google searches for "Biden predetermined" and "Biden hit list," and did not find any results related to the questions being asked or a camera shutting off or going black.

A video posted on YouTube by CNBC from the August 26, 2021, White House press conference shows a reporting asking a question about names being provided to the Taliban. Biden answers the question and the camera remains on the entire time; it does not shut off or go black.

At 20:50 in the video the president was asked the question regarding names that were given to the Taliban. The reporter does not call it a "hit list" and the camera remains on. Here is a transcript of the question and answer:

Q: Thank you, Mr. President. There are reports that U.S. officials provided the Taliban with names of Americans and Afghan officials to evacuate. Were you aware of that? Did that happen? And then, sir, did you personally reject a recommendation to hold, or to recapture Bagram Air Force Base?

THE PRESIDENT: Here's what I've done on the -- ask this -- I'll answer the last question, first.
On the tactical questions of how to conduct an evacuation or a war, I gather up all the major military personnel that are in Afghanistan -- the commanders, as well as the Pentagon. And I ask for their best military judgment: what would be the most efficient way to accomplish the mission.
They concluded -- the military -- that Bagram was not much value added, that it was much wiser to focus on Kabul. And so, I followed that recommendation.
With regard to -- there are certain circumstances where we've gotten information -- and quite frankly, sometimes from some of you -- saying, 'You know of such and such a group of people who are trying to get out and they're on a bus, they're moving ...' -- from other people -- 'and this is their location.'

And there have been occasions when our military has contacted their military counterparts in the Taliban and said, 'This ...' -- for example, 'This bus is coming through with X number of people on it, made up of the following group of people. We want you to let that bus or that group through.'
So, yes, there have been occasions like that.

And to the best of my knowledge, in those cases, the bulk of that has occurred -- they've been let through. But I can't tell you with any certitude that there's actually been a list of names. I don't -- there may have been, but I know of no circumstance. It doesn't mean it's not -- it didn't exist, that, 'Here's the names of 12 people; they're coming. Let them through.' It could very well have happened.

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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