- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, promoted a debunked conspiracy theory Wednesday that purports Rep. Ilhan Omar attended a training camp for terrorists.

Mr. Giuliani, a former mayor of New York City, shared a post on Twitter that included a photo falsely captioned to say it shows Ms. Omar, Minnesota Democrat, at an al Qaeda camp.

The photo depicts a Black woman who resembles Ms. Omar, a former Somali refugee, brandishing a long gun while supposedly attending an al Qaeda camp in the congresswoman’s home country. It was posted earlier in the week by a Twitter user who claimed Ms. Omar is trying to stop the photo from spreading. Mr. Giuliani shared that tweet to his more than 700,000 followers on the social media service in an early morning tweet inquiring about the image.

“Can we get rest of this picture?” Mr. Giuliani asked in the tweet where he shared the post.

Both the original post containing the picture and Mr. Giuliani’s subsequent tweet eventually disappeared from Twitter later Wednesday after the latter was widely shared online.

A cursory search reveals the image shows a Somali militant, but most certainly not Ms. Omar. The image in the collection of photographs made available to publications by the Associated Press, which describes the photograph as being taken several years before the congresswoman was born.

The photo, according to the AP archive, shows a “woman recruit of the Somali Army check[ing] her automatic weapon at a military training campus at Halane, Mogadishu, on Feb. 25, 1978.” Ms. Omar, 37, was born more than four years later.

“I know how gullible some folks can be, but time traveling isn’t a super power I possess,” Ms. Omar reacted on Twitter prior to the tweets disappearing. “The question is: why does Twitter allow rampant hate speech and misinformation on their platform?”

The original tweet quoted by Mr. Giuliani was ultimately found in violation of the social network service’s rules, Twitter told The Washington Times later Wednesday. The tweet has been hidden by Twitter, which said the account holder would be unable to post again until the offending tweet was removed.

Mr. Giuliani did not immediately return a message requesting comment on his tweet, which had been shared on Twitter, or retweeted, more than 10,000 times before vanishing.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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