Entries in Navy Seals (9)


New Book Alleges Obama Kept Postponing Raid on Bin Laden

Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A New York Times best-selling author alleges in a new book that President Obama didn't order the raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011 until after he'd called off the operation three times earlier in the year.

Richard Miniter says in Leading From Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him that it was at the behest of special adviser Valerie Jarrett that Obama called off Navy SEAL operations in January, February and March of last year to get the al Qaeda leader who was holed up in his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

The information regarding the postponements came from an unidentified source with Special Operations Command, Miniter claims.

Responding to Miniter's charges, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday, "That is an utter fabrication.  It's seems pretty clear that Mr. Miniter doesn't know what he's talking about."

According to Earnest, "Ms. Jarrett, like the vast majority of the president's senior staff, was not read in on the operation on the mission against Osama bin Laden."

Miniter's new book is set to be released on Aug. 21.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Biden: Obama Ordered Rescue of American Because of Her Failing Health

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Vice President Joe Biden said American aid worker Jessica Buchanan’s failing health was the reason President Obama authorized Tuesday night’s rescue operation in Somalia.

“They said it was the time, the opportunity.  Jessica’s health was, was in a word, ‘failing,’ and they concluded they should go at this time and the president gave a go,” Biden told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America Wednesday.

The vice president wouldn’t go into details, but said “it’s safe to say” that the mission went without a hitch.

“One of the things we know from before with the [Osama] bin Laden raid is the operational details are better not to be laid out and I’ll let the Pentagon decide to do that,” Biden said.

“I’ve been in country, in Afghanistan, in Iraq with these guys, these Special Operations Forces, they are absolutely the most incredible…it just takes your breath away, their capacity, and their bravery, and their incredible timing.  These guys are amazing, and women, are amazing,” he added.

As ABC News reported, the Navy SEALs parachuted into a Somalian compound to rescue both Buchanan and her Danish co-worker Poul Hagen Thisted.

Biden said he monitored the rescue operation from the situation room Tuesday night, calling it a “good moment.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Calls American Hostage's Dad After Rescue in Somalia

The White House/Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Following the rescue of an American woman who was held captive in Somalia since October, President Obama called the 32-year-old's father to tell him of the news.

Jessica Buchanan, from Bedford, Va., was rescued Tuesday night, along with 60-year-old  Poul Hagen Thisted of Denmark, by a team of Navy SEALs.  The two hostages were working for the Danish Refugee Group’s Danish Demining Group (DDG) and were abducted on Oct. 25 by Somali criminals while on their way to the airport in Galcayo.

Obama made the phone call to John Buchanan shortly after he wrapped up his State of the Union address Tuesday night.  The president made no mention of the successful raid during his speech, but keen observers noted an interesting exchange with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as he entered the House Chamber.

Obama pointed to Panetta and said, “Leon. Good job tonight. Good job tonight.”

In a statement released by the White House early Wednesday morning, Obama said he had authorized the rescue mission on Monday.

“Thanks to the extraordinary courage and capabilities of our Special Operations Forces, yesterday Jessica Buchanan was rescued and she is on her way home.  As Commander-in-Chief, I could not be prouder of the troops who carried out this mission, and the dedicated professionals who supported their efforts,” the president said.

Obama added, “The United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will spare no effort to secure the safety of our citizens and to bring their captors to justice.  This is yet another message to the world that the United States of America will stand strongly against any threats to our people.”

Panetta also released a statement on Wednesday, saying he was pleased that neither Buchanan or Thisted were harmed during the operation.

“This mission demonstrates our military’s commitment to the safety of our fellow citizens wherever they may be around the world,” he said.

Panetta described the rescue as, “a team effort and required close coordination, especially between the Department of Defense and our colleagues in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. ”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama to '60 Minutes': Confident of Bin Laden Raid, Worried for SEALs

The White House/Pete Souza(NEW YORK) -- President Obama admits that he “did not lose sleep” over the chance that the high-risk mission he ordered last week could mean the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

However, he also acknowledged in a pre-recorded interview with Steve Kroft that aired Sunday evening on CBS’ 60 Minutes that his chief concern above all others was “can we still get the guys out” if the Navy SEAL raid on the suspected bin Laden hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan went sideways.

Fortunately for the president and the nation, the SEALs got their target -- the most wanted terrorist in the world since orchestrating the attacks against the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001 that killed nearly 3,000 people.

Still, the possibility of failure was also on Obama’s mind.

He told Kroft, “You think about Black Hawk Down.  You think about what happened with the Iranian rescue.  And I am very sympathetic to the situation for other presidents where you make a decision, you're making your best call, your best shot, and something goes wrong.”

He called the 40 minutes of the actual operation “the longest 40 minutes of my life, with the possible exception of when [daughter] Sasha got meningitis."

Asked by Kroft about those who questioned if bin Laden was actually eliminated, Obama asserted “There is no doubt that we killed Osama bin Laden,” then repeated his earlier assertion that photographic evidence demanded by skeptics would only serve to inflame bin Laden loyalists in the Islamic world.

One question that won’t go away anytime soon is if bin Laden was shielded by sympathetic Pakistanis, given that he lived in the million dollar-compound for as long as six years, just a short drive from the capital of Islamabad and very near the country’s top military academy.

The president declared his belief that “some sort of support network” existed in Pakistan for bin Laden to remain undetected by U.S. intelligence but there was no way of knowing now if people inside the Pakistani government were complicit.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Eric Holder: Killing Bin Laden Was 'An Act of National Self-Defense'

Chris Hondros/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration isn't going to apologize for killing an unarmed terrorist, especially one who killed nearly 3,000 unarmed people on Sept. 11, 2001.

Attorney General Eric Holder made it crystal clear Wednesday during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that killing Osama bin Laden "was justified as an act of national self-defense."

It was revealed after Sunday's raid by the Navy SEALs at the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan that bin Laden was not armed when they found him in a room with one of his wives.  However, after the woman lunged at the SEALs, the decision was made to shoot her and then kill bin Laden.

Holder explained to lawmakers that the al Qaeda leader "was by my estimation and the estimation of the Justice Department a lawful military target and the operation was conducted in a way that was consistent with our law, with our values."

The attorney general backtracked a bit during his testimony when he first said that Special Forces should have allowed bin Laden to surrender if that's what he intended to do.  However, Holder later remarked there would have been a "good basis" for SEALs to take down bin Laden even if the fugitive made some indication that he wanted to surrender.

This explanation probably won't satisfy some scholars of international law who contend that using lethal force against a military target outside a declared combat zone is illegal.  This opinion also applies to the CIA sending predator drones into Pakistan to kill al Qaeda and Taliban operatives, since Islamabad contends it's a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama Heading to Ground Zero on Thursday

Chris Hondros/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will go to New York City Thursday to visit the site of the World Trade Center, where nearly 3,000 people died almost 10 years ago in a terrorist attack believed to have been plotted by Osama bin Laden.

According to the White House, while there, the president will meet with the families of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and mark the death of bin Laden, who was killed by Navy SEALS in a compound in Pakistan on Sunday.

Speaking at a bipartisan dinner in the East Room of the White House Monday night, President Obama called for the unity felt in the wake of the killing of bin Laden to be extended to the upcoming debates on Capitol Hill.

"I know that unity that we felt on 9/11 has frayed a little bit over the years, and I have no illusions about the difficulty of the debates that we’ll have to be engaged in in the weeks and months to come.  But I also know there have been several moments like this during the course of this year that have brought us together as an American family,” he said.

“Last night was one of those moments," he said referring to the announcement of bin Laden's death.  "And so tonight it is my fervent hope that we can harness some of that unity and some of that pride to confront the many challenges that we still face.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Chief Counterterrorism Adviser: No 'Specific Threats' on US Yet

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- There have been no "specific threats" made against America in the nearly 48 hours since an elite team of Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden, President Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser told ABC News Tuesday morning.

“We’re working very closely with Department of Homeland Security, FBI and others so that we understand here at the White House what those measures are as well as what threats might be out there but right now I think we feel pretty confident that we are at the right posture,” John Brennan said.

Brennan said it is “inconceivable” that bin Laden did not have some sort of support system inside Pakistan -- considering he was hiding about 1,000 feet away from a military academy -- and the administration is investigating if members of the Pakistani government gave him any help.

“At this time, what we’re doing is pursuing the leads and engaging with the Pakistanis and it’s too early to tell what type of support system he had,” Brennan said.

They hope to find out more about that support system in the evidence the SEALs took from the compound.

Brennan also backed up the news that the White House is considering releasing a photo of bin Laden’s corpse as early as Tuesday.

“We are looking at releasing additional information, details about the raid as well as any other types of material, possibly including photos," Brennan said.

“Any types of material related to the raid, we need to make sure that we make the right decisions.   What we don’t want to do is to compromise potential future operations by releasing certain things so we’re looking at all of this and making the right decisions,” he added.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bin Laden Operation Ended with Coded Message 'Geronimo-E KIA'

The White House/Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- The first indication for President Obama that Osama bin Laden had been killed came when a Navy SEAL sent back a coded message to Washington that said simply, "Geronimo-E KIA."

Geronimo was the code name for the operation that sent two teams of 12 SEALs by Blackhawk helicopters to a walled compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan, on Sunday to kill or capture the most wanted man in the world.  Anxious White House officials weren't positive that they would find bin Laden in the fortress-like complex and worried that he might leave while the SEALs were en route.

The first encouraging word came at the beginning of the raid, when the SEALS recognized the man who had eluded a U.S. manhunt for a decade.  They sent back the message, "Geronimo."

After a 40-minute search of the compound, punctuated by firefights, bin Laden was dead, and the cryptic "Geronimo-E KIA" code sent relief through the White House.  "E" stood for "enemy" and "KIA" for "killed in action."  Bin Laden was shot twice, once in the head and once in the chest, a senior administration official told ABC News.

The SEALS words, however, were not sufficient proof that the mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks was finally dead.  As the evidence piled up -- verbal ID, face recognition analysis and DNA matches -- the White House debate continued.  Obama ended the discussion with a terse, "We got him."

White House senior officials on Monday were still sorting through the details of the dramatic U.S. raid on bin Laden in Pakistan.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Candidate Obama: We'll Take Action Without Pakistan, If Necessary

ABC News (file)(WASHINGTON) -- On August 1, 2007, a young Democratic presidential candidate -- criticized by Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., for being naïve on foreign policy matters -- surprised many of his supporters by pledging to conduct military operations in Pakistan with or without that country's permission.

"I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges," Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said of the man who was then president of Pakistan, "but let me make this clear: There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."

Clinton, then leading in the polls, was then attacking Obama for having said he'd be willing to meet with the leaders of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela without preconditions in his first year in office.‬

At the time, Obama's speech, delivered at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., seemed an attempt by the young senator to ramp up his campaign to the next phase, where he hoped to be seen as a president who would pursue a muscular foreign policy and protect the United States from terrorist attack.

He proposed in his speech a more aggressive stance with that nuclear nation, making the "hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional, and I would make our conditions clear: Pakistan must make substantial progress in closing down the training camps, evicting foreign fighters and preventing the Taliban from using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks in Afghanistan."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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