Losing is hard. Especially when you’ve been trying to win for a really, really long time and you start to see the whole thing slipping through your fingers. You probably saw this video yesterday of former Vice President Cheney’s rather comically ill-timed speech pushing to block the Iran Deal. In it there are some protestors who interrupt Cheney’s speech, hold up some signs, all pretty standard stuff. But in the video there’s a man who gets into a wild wrestling match with one of the protestors, flailing around his body, doing everything he can to tear her sign apart before finally sitting down.
According to numerous people who know this community well and know the players, the guy epically losing his shit is none other that Patrick Clawson, a top executive at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. While not formally affiliated with AIPAC, WINEP is widely and rightly seen as AIPAC’s think tank. Founded in 1985, like AIPAC, it has trended in a more right-leaning direction in the last two decades. Clawson is the Director of Research at the Institute as well as heading up their “Iran Security Initiative”. It is not too much to say that Clawson is an uber-Iran hawk and utter opponent of the current deal. He even got in trouble of few years back by appearing to suggest that Israel should create a “false flag” operation to provoke a war with Iran if we were having too hard a time getting one started ourselves.
So is it Clawson? Here’s the video.
Protesters interrupting Dick Cheney at AEI. Gets her sign ripped away. pic.twitter.com/4GwJR7aWPo
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) September 8, 2015
Bear in mind this is a 64-year-old man in a high-ranking position at one of the most prominent think tanks in Washington, DC and – if this is him – he’s totally losing his shit in a way that simply cannot not be tied to anything but the bundled-up frustration of seeing a war with Iran seemingly go down the drain. Also keep in mind, it’s the former Vice President. There’s security there. No need for think tank denizens to body slam the protestors or flail around wildly tearing up their signs. There are men in suits and earpieces there for that.
So is it him? Good question!
Everyone who knows him and who has seen the video either thinks it’s him or is certain it’s him. So of course we looked into whether we could confirm that it was. TPM’s Tierney Sneed contacted WINEP yesterday to talk to Clawson. She was told she’d need to go through the Institute’s communications person, Ian Byrne (not that out of the ordinary). So she put the question to Ian. But she heard nothing back.
This morning she finally got through to Ian who admitted that he had not in fact asked Clawson the question and refused to do so. He referred us to AEI since Cheney’s speech was in fact at AEI. Again, it’s an AEI event, so AEI scholars can tackle the protestors. They don’t need scholars from WINEP to do it.
In one last effort Tierney tried to email Clawson directly. No dice.
You almost get the sense that Clawson doesn’t want to discuss this.
So, can you identify the man in the video? Were you at the event? Are you Patrick Clawson? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, please contact us. We want to solve this mystery and hopefully calm the rattled nerves of D.C. Iran hawks before someone gets hurt.