Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee in support of a bill that would authorize President Obama to arm Ukraine with lethal military aid, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) used 6-year-old photos of invading Russian tanks, claiming they were taken recently, according to Gawker.
In prepared remarks to the committee, the conservative Oklahoma senator introduced the photos, saying, “These photographs were given to me by Lt Col Semen Semenchenko, the commander of Donbas Volunteer Assault Battalion and newly elected member of the parliament of Ukraine, during our meeting on 13 Nov last year.”
Inhofe added, “The first set of pictures show Russian troops in T-72 tanks, BTR armored personnel carriers, and BMP infantry fighting vehicles entering eastern Ukraine, waiving Russian flags. This is not simply supporting separatists – it is an invasion of the Ukraine by Russia.The second set of picture were taken by Ukrainian soldiers on the front line in eastern Ukraine.”
However, after Inhofe’s office released the photos to The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website that promoted them as an “exclusive,” they were quickly debunked online as being file photos of Russian tanks and soldiers dating back as far as 2008.
Commenters on Twitter mocked the Free Beacon over their “exclusive,” with one writing, “What a f’ing joke. WFB runs photos from Inhofe as proof Russia arming Ukraine. At least 1 from Russo-Georgian War.”
Another needled Inhofe, tweeting, “Pretty sure Inhofe just opened up his Documents\My Photos\Russia\Atrocities folder and pulled pics at random.”
The Free Beacon later amended their the report written by Adam Kredo, stating, “Following publication of this story, serious questions have been raised about the authenticity of some of the photographs provided by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.).”
Editors at the Beacon claimed they were in the process of “investigating further and will update as necessary.”
According to Inhofe’s office, they were given the photos last December and they “thoroughly checked our sources again prior to releasing the photos, and felt confident proceeding because the photos also match reporting. We are currently making calls to our sources.”
Some tweets below:
— Dion Nissenbaum (@DionNissenbaum) February 12, 2015
.@stcolumbia Pretty sure Inhofe just opened up his Documents\My Photos\Russia\Atrocities folder and pulled pics at random
— Graham Jenkins (@GrahamWJenkins) February 12, 2015
— Josh Keating (@joshuakeating) February 12, 2015
more images from Sen. Inhofe’s intelligence on Russia pic.twitter.com/1cnFKumj0n
— fight apathy or dont (@rowast) February 12, 2015