(RoyalPatriot.com )- The National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, John Kirby, was taken aback by a linguistic jump that Today News Africa journalist Simon Ateba made. As a result, Ateba received a stern rebuke for his comments.
Kirby joined White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at the briefing held at the White House on Tuesday to assist in fielding questions about national security. Many questions were about the airstrike that took the life of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri over the weekend.
Ateba, notorious for interrupting Jen Psaki’s last day on the job, inquired about the victims of the deceased terrorist leader in Tanzania and Kenya. He then infuriated John Kirby with a provocative follow-up question in which he suggested that Kirby had said “that the lives of Kenyans and Tanzanians don’t matter”:
Ateba addressed Kirby by stating that al-Zawahiri killed more than 200 people in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. And right now, even though the U.S. compensated U.S. citizens who were victims of those bombings, the people in Kenya and Tanzania have received nothing. He then asked Kirby what message he had for them now that you’ve killed him?
Kirby said he’d say the same thing he told Doocy (another reporter) that this is not just a good day for the United States of America. It’s a good day for the world.
Ateba followed by saying that he wasn’t saying that the U.S did not compensate the families of the victims of those bombings, but what message did he have for them?
Kirby said he didn’t have compensation policies and reiterated that Zawahiri’s death is good for everybody worldwide. He was a killer. And it’s good that he’s no longer walking the face of the Earth. It also means that we must stay vigilant to this threat.
The exchange continued and got caustic-
MR. ATEBA: So are you saying that the lives of Kenyans and Tanzanians don’t really matter?
MR. KIRBY: Wow. I got to take issue with that. I did not say that. And I don’t even know where you came from on that one.
Of course, all lives matter.
MR. ATEBA: No, they’re upset. The —
MR. KIRBY: I didn’t say that — I didn’t say —
MR. ATEBA: — inaction right now.
MR. KIRBY: I didn’t say that, sir. And I really, really take exception to the — to the tone and the implication in that question. Of course, their lives matter. Every life matters, particularly a life taken so violently as by the hands of a terrorist.
If those lives didn’t matter, sir, we wouldn’t have taken the action that we took this weekend. And if those lives didn’t matter, sir, we wouldn’t be staying vigilant to the threat going forward, which we will do.