By Mark Memmott
Author Jerome Corsi, who was among the group that "Swift Boated" Sen. John Kerry during the 2004 presidential election and more recently penned The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality, has another eye-catching story at the conservative World Net Daily website.
The headline reads: "Shooter Advised Obama Transition; Fort Hood Triggerman Aided Team On Homeland Security Task Force."
And the story begins with this:
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the alleged shooter in yesterday's massacre at Fort Hood, played a homeland security advisory role in President Barack Obama's transition into the White House, according to a key university policy institute document.
Here's what NPR national security/intelligence correspondent Tom Gjelten tells us about Corsi's conclusion:
This claim is so exaggerated as to be without merit.
Nidal Hasan was one of 308 people whose names appear on a list of "participants" in a series of public roundtable meetings organized by the "Presidential Transition Task Force," a project of the Homeland Security Policy Institute (HSPI) at George Washington University. Hasan was not himself a member of the Task Force.
Frank Cilluffo, the HSPI director, says the participants' list, published as an appendix to the Task Force report, was no more than a tally of those people who RSVP'd to a notice of the roundtable meetings, which took place between June 2008 and February 2009. "Hasan joined as a member of the audience," Cilluffo says.
When Cilluffo saw a picture of Hasan, he remembered him making a public comment during one of the roundtable meetings. "I had to cut him off, because he was going on too long," Cilluffo says. He says he can not recall what Hasan was saying.
Corsi's report, by the way, does something of a U-turn about midway through. "While the GWU task force participants included several members of government, including representatives of the Department of Justice and the U.S Department of Homeland Security," he writes, "there is no indication in the document that the group played any formal role in the official Obama transition, other than to serve in a university-based advisory capacity."
And an "editor's note" attached to Corsi's story after its publication says "Hasan is being reported as a participant in the GWU Homeland Security Policy Institute's Presidential Transition Task Force, not as a member, noting the group was a university think-tank, not part of the Obama administration official transition team."
So, he begins with a sure-to-shock conclusion -- that Hasan played a "homeland security advisory role" in the transition. Then, at a point in the story that many readers won't reach or hear about, Corsi reverses course.