The Washington Post‘s Dana Milbank caused quite a stir with his description of the ugliness at a Heritage Foundation panel on #Benghazi, at which a Muslim woman named Saba Ahmed was greeted with hostility by the panel. Since then, Media Matters has posted video of the exchange, which has media types crying foul at Milbanks’ description. The questioner, though, has her own history of political performance art, appearing at Occupy rallies, and on a conservative talk show to play along with a racist caricature of an “Imam.”
Milbank’s article immediately placed conservatives on the defensive, with its description of a hostile crowd and panel “taunting” the soft-spoken Saba Ahmed. The video that has emerged since has been dubbed a “disaster” for Milbank by the likes of Politico‘s Dylan Byers, but while it doesn’t hew precisely to Milbank’s description, the energy in the room does seem pretty ugly, and as Milbank told Byers, ” the reaction in the crowd – the long, standing ovation, the cheers for Gabriel, the fingers pointed at Ahmed, the war whoops — was intense, and a bit scary. The video captures some but not all of that.”
Heritage will be releasing the full four-hour video shortly, but in the meantime, there is video of Saba Ahmed, who ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2011, speaking at an Occupy Portland rally in 2012, where she spoke out against the war in Afghanistan:
According to Ahmed, she switched parties the day after her unsuccessful run for Congress concluded, and is now a Republican. At least, that’s what she told Muslim-panicky talk show host Tom Trento and his producer, in character as Trentovision’s in-house “Imam” (full episode here):
The conservative rear-guard action on this, aside from trumpeting Byers’ assessment, will be to pose Ahmed as some sort of false flag operator who is out to make conservatives look hostile toward Muslims, but if the above interview is any indication, all she has to do to accomplish that is to be a Muslim woman.