Every time I listen to Barack Obama describe how he repelled down a rope from a stealth helicopter on a dark Pakistani night and took down Osama Bin Laden I am reminded of the movie “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.”
Seldom has a story been more dishonestly spun than the one surrounding the death of Osama Bin Laden.
Barack Obama is celebrating the deathday of Obama Bin Laden with a party from himself. I caught a post over at Weekly Standard in which Dan Halper notes that the smirking Obama once again suggests that Mitt Romney would not have made the decision to kill Bin Laden. Obama is quoted as saying:
“I’d just recommend that everybody take a look at people’s previous statements in terms of whether they thought it was appropriate to go into Pakistan and to take out bin Laden,” Obama said, obviously taking a shot at Romney. “I assume that people meant what they said when they said it. And that’s been at least my practice. I said that I would go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him–and I did. If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they would do something else, then I’d go ahead and let them explain it.”
But here’s the part that caught my eye:
“I’d just recommend that everybody take a look at people’s previous statements in terms of whether they thought it was appropriate to go into Pakistan and to take out bin Laden,”
As if going into Pakistan was his decision. Or his plan.
Going into Pakistan was George Bush’s decision, based on the advice of a CIA analyst named “John.”
While he was shepherding the hunt for bin Laden, John also was pushing to expand the Predator program, the agency’s use of unmanned airplanes to launch missiles at terrorists. The CIA largely confined those strikes to targets along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. But in late 2007 and early 2008, John said the CIA needed to carry out those attacks deeper inside Pakistan.
It was a risky move. Pakistan was an important but shaky ally. John’s analysts saw an increase in the number of Westerners training in Pakistani terrorist camps. John worried that those men would soon start showing up on U.S. soil.
“We’ve got to act,” John said, a former senior intelligence official recalls. “There’s no explaining inaction.”
John took the analysis to then CIA Director Michael Hayden, who agreed and took the recommendation to President George W. Bush. In the last months of the Bush administration, the CIA began striking deeper inside Pakistan.
Barack Obama adopted John’s and Bush’s plan. Then he co-opted it.
“John” persisted in the hunt for Bin Laden for a very long time. Then in 2007 a co-worker of John’s targeted “Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti.”
All the while, John’s team was working the list of bin Laden leads. In 2007, a female colleague whom the AP has also agreed not to identify decided to zero in on a man known as Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, a nom de guerre. Other terrorists had identified al-Kuwaiti as an important courier for al-Qaida’s upper echelon, and she believed that finding him might help lead to bin Laden.
“They had their teeth clenched on this and they weren’t going to let go,” McLaughlin said of John and his team. “This was an obsession.”
It took three years, but in August 2010, al-Kuwaiti turned up on a National Security Agency wiretap. The female analyst, who had studied journalism at a Big Ten university, tapped out a memo for John, “Closing in on Bin Laden Courier,” saying her team believed al-Kuwaiti was somewhere on the outskirts of Islamabad.
The intel used to find and kill Bin Laden came from a career CIA analyst- not from Barack Obama.
John and his team had guessed correctly, taking an intellectual risk based on incomplete information. It was a gamble that ended a decade of disappointment. Later, Champagne was uncorked back at the CIA, where those in the Counterterrorism Center who had targeted bin Laden for so long celebrated. John’s team reveled in the moment.
And it has been revealed that the decision to undertake the raid was not Obama’s decision either. That belonged to Admiral William McRaven.
It’s been almost a year since President Obama’s leadership and foreign policy bona fides were allegedly established by the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. A campaign film narrated by Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks tells of the president’s alleged solitary, agonizing decision.
With apologies to Vice President Biden, maybe President Obama doesn’t carry quite as big a stick as Joe would lead us to believe.
As reported by Big Peace, Time magazine has obtained a memo written by Leon Panetta, then-director of the Central Intelligence Agency and now-Secretary of Defense, that says “operational decision-making and control” was really in the hands of William McRaven, a three-star admiral and former Navy SEAL.
“The timing, operational decision-making and control are in Adm. McRaven’s hands,” the memo says. “The approval is provided on the risk profile presented to the president. Any additional risks are to be brought back to the president for his consideration. The direction is to go in and get bin Laden and, if he is not there, to get out.”
In other words, it was McRaven’s call to pull the trigger or not on the raid.
Now back to that Obama assertion:
President Obama’s campaign has highlighted a 2007 quote from Mitt Romney, who suggested that the fight against terrorism was bigger than bin Laden, and that it wasn’t important to “move heaven and earth” to catch him.
Curiously, back in 2009 Obama held pretty much the same position:
In a late Wednesday interview with CBS News, Obama signaled a more measured approach to catching the ever-elusive bin Laden, refusing to deliver any “dead or alive” ultimatums.
“I think that we have to so weaken his infrastructure that, whether he is technically alive or not, he is so pinned down that he cannot function,” Obama said.
“My preference obviously would be to capture or kill him. But if we have so tightened the noose that he’s in a cave somewhere and can’t even communicate with his operatives, then we will meet our goal of protecting America.”
It’s no stretch to assert that it was Barack Obama who in 2009 co-opted Romney’s 2007 position on the capture of Barack Obama. It is completely disingenuous for Obama to suggest otherwise because he was the beneficiary of the decisions made by George Bush and “John’s” detective work. You’d never know that by listening to Obama. Contrast the braggadocio of Obama
“I directed Leon Pannetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority”
“I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden”
“I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden”
“I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action and authorized an operation to get Usama bin Laden and bring him to justice”
“Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad Pakistan”
“I have made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam; bin Laden was not a Muslim leader”
to the quiet and classy reserve of George Bush describing the capture of Saddam Hussein:
The success of yesterday’s mission is a tribute to our men and women now serving in Iraq. The operation was based on the superb work of intelligence analysts who found the dictator’s footprints in a vast country. The operation was carried out with skill and precision by a brave fighting force. Our servicemen and women and our coalition allies have faced many dangers in the hunt for members of the fallen regime, and in their effort to bring hope and freedom to the Iraqi people. Their work continues, and so do the risks. Today, on behalf of the nation, I thank the members of our Armed Forces and I congratulate ‘em.
Barack Obama did not decide to take the war into Pakistan. Obama did not decide to send drones deeper into Pakistan. Obama did not find Bin Laden. Obama did not pull the trigger on the raid. What you could bet your life on is that had the mission failed McRaven would have been thrown under the bus and Obama would have said “You know, this was not our plan, per se.” What Obama did do was take credit for it all.
This morning on Fox News the CIA interrogator who over saw the CIA EIT program (and who personally briefed Nancy Pelosi) said that the interrogating Abu Zubaydah gave them a rather important piece of information- that Osama Bin Laden was communicating with the outside world through one person- the courier.
Barack Obama is full of sh*t. He is a miserable low life.
But we can’t leave without revisiting the only truth Ted Kennedy ever uttered: