Entries in Osama Bin Laden (71)


Biden: Failure of Bin Laden Raid Would Have Made Obama 'One-Term President'

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(NEW YORK) -- Vice President Joe Biden says President Obama put his job on the line when he authorized the covert raid into Pakistan last year to capture or kill Osama bin Laden.

“This guy’s got a backbone like a ramrod,” Biden told a crowd of campaign donors in Washington, D.C., Monday night.  “He said, ‘Go,’ knowing his presidency was on the line. Had he failed in that audacious mission, he would’ve been a one-term president.”

Biden’s comments come as he and the president’s re-election campaign strive to cast the president as a bold and decisive leader, contrasting claims by Republican opponents that he has been feckless on foreign policy and national security.

In a forthcoming Obama campaign documentary on the president’s first term, Biden and former President Bill Clinton both reflect on the bin Laden raid, hailing it as a “tough decision.”

Biden spoke about the president’s record during a campaign fundraiser at the Georgetown home of Sen. John Kerry, where 87 guests paid $10,000-per-couple to dine on New York strip steaks and white truffle mashed potatoes, according to a pool reporter on the scene.

Ratcheting up his rhetoric on the Republican presidential field, Biden called Obama “the real deal” and said his rivals on the campaign trail are out of touch.

“These guys don’t have a sense of the average folks out there,” he said of Republicans. “They don’t know what it means to be middle class.”

The Republican National Committee noted in an email Tuesday that Biden’s hobnobbing at the “ritzy fundraiser” with wealthy Democratic donors appears hypocritical in light of his claims.

The vice president will deliver his first official public campaign speech at a United Auto Workers office in Toledo, Ohio, on Thursday. He’s expected to focus on Obama’s support for the 2009 auto bailout, drawing contrasts with GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, who opposed the plan.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Biden: 'Osama bin Laden Dead, General Motors Alive'

Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images(FORT WORTH, Texas) -- Vice President Joe Biden told a crowd of re-election campaign donors in Ft. Worth, Texas, Tuesday that the best way to sum up President Obama’s first term in “shorthand” is with nine succinct words: “Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.”

The comment came at the end of a 40-minute speech during which Biden outlined the administration’s economic agenda and vision for a second term and rattled off a lengthy, sometimes-rambling litany of accomplishments since 2009, according to the print pool reporter in the room.

“So folks, the best way to sum up I think where we are today — when I was asked the other day, someone gave me this line. The best way to sum up the job that President Obama has done — and by the way, he committed we’d be out of Iraq. We are out of Iraq, completely out of Iraq,” he said. “But the best way to sum up the job the president has done if you need a real shorthand: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.”

The Obama campaign has made the killing of bin Laden a signature foreign policy and national security talking point and has increasingly sought to promote the resurgence of the American auto industry in the wake of an Obama-backed, government-funded bailout as a heroic move.

Tuesday marked the first time a campaign figure boiled down those two points to a “shorthand” phrase.

Biden ended his remarks with a nod to general election politics, insisting the coming campaign will require voters to weigh a clear, contrasting choice.

Obama “will be measured against a guy named Romney or Gingrich or whoever,” Biden said.  "For the first time, the Republicans are not hiding the ball....They are saying what they believe, God love them. They are not even pretending.”

“This is going to be one heck of a race,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Santorum Criticizes Obama for Losing Intel by Announcing Bin Laden Kill

Steve Pope/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama showed his weakness after the killing of Osama bin Laden by letting the news of the operation leak to the public, Rick Santorum told a group of Republican Jewish voters Wednesday morning.

The former Pennsylvania senator, speaking at a Republican Jewish Coalition conference in Washington, said the president was not, “able to keep a secret” for “more than 24 hours.”

While the Republican candidates for president have criticized Obama across the board, they have generally shown respect for his handling of the secret mission in Pakistan to take out bin Laden. Santorum made his remark as a way of saying that if the Obama administration wants to take credit for something, the public would know about it.

The insult was apparently a reference to the way that Obama announced the operation the night of May 1, in a quickly arranged speech at the White House. The night before, Obama was the center of attention at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, and he gave no hints about the plan.

Santorum made a similar accusation on WABC's "Sean Hannity Show" last week, claiming vital intelligence was likely lost when Obama announced the operation so quickly after it was over, giving Al Qaeda agents who might not have done so a chance to cover their digital tracks.

Santorum broadened his foreign policy criticism on Obama in the rest of his speech, predicting that by the “next Election Day,” concerns about the economy will take a back seat to national security. He accused Obama of turning “a blind eye” to radicals in the Middle East, ignoring the threat of radical Islam, going to Cairo and “inviting the," quote, "Islamic world to the table,” and making the United States more dependent on oil in the Middle East.

The vice president was a target, too. Santorum said that when college students ask for advice on their foreign policy views, he tells them, “Find out what Joe Biden thinks, and then take the opposite of it.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama Attends Basketball Game on USS Carl Vinson

File photo. Pete Souza/The White House(SAN DIEGO, CA) -- President Obama is attending the first annual Veterans Day "Carrier Classic" basketball game on the same aircraft carrier that buried Osama bin Laden at sea.

Obama will attend this evening's game between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Michigan State along with roughly 7,000 fans, mostly active military personnel.

The Carrier Classic will be played on the USS Carl Vinson, the Navy carrier that conducted the bin Laden burial at sea after he was killed by Navy SEALs in May in a raid ordered by the president. The game will be the first-ever college basketball game played on a flight deck.

The sponsor of the event, Quicken Loans, says "This event is more than two great basketball teams coming together to play in an incredible environment. It's a way to recognize and support the service of the members of the Armed Forces, the veterans and their families and all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hillary Clinton Defends Obama’s Handling of National Security

The White House/Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Now that Osama bin Laden, Moammar Gadhafi and Anwar al-Awlaki have meet their end under President Obama’s term in office, how does Hillary Clinton feel about Obama’s ability to handle national security issues, namely those “3 a.m. calls” she implied he wouldn’t be able to handle during the 2008 presidential primary campaign?

“President Obama has passed with flying colors every leadership challenge,” Clinton said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Asked about her accusation during their heated battle for the Democratic nomination that Obama wouldn’t be able to handle emergencies, the secretary of state, who by many accounts works well with the president, defended her boss.

“I think this president has demonstrated that, in a still very dangerous world, it’s important to have someone at the helm of our country who understands how to manage what is an incredibly complex world now,” she said.  “Yes, we have a lot of threats, but we also have opportunities, and I think President Obama has grasped that and has performed extraordinarily well.”

But though she praised Obama, she declined to wade back into politics.

“I’m out of politics, as you know, David [Gregory, host of Meet the Press].  I don’t comment on it.  But I think Americans are going to want to know that they have a steady, experienced, smart hand on the tiller of the ship of state, and there’s no doubt that that’s Barack Obama,” she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bin Laden Movie: Did the White House Go Too Far?

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- New York Rep. Peter King, the chairman of the House committee on Homeland Security, is calling for an investigation into reports that the Obama Administration has granted Sony Pictures high-level access for a film on the covert mission that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

King writes that he is concerned “regarding ongoing leaks of classified information regarding sensitive military operations” and warns that close cooperation on the Hollywood action-thriller could lead to further leaks that could undermine the success of future operations.

“Leaks of classified information regarding the bin Laden raid have already resulted, according to a June 15, 2011 article in the Washington Post, in the arrests of Pakistanis who were believed by local authorities to have assisted the CIA with the May 1st raid,” King, (R-New York), writes in a letter addressed to Defense Department Inspector General Gordon Heddell and CIA Inspector General David Buckley. “Further participation by JSOC and the Agency in making a film about the raid is bound to increase such leaks, and undermine these organizations’ hard-won reputations as “quiet professionals” -- reputations important for their continued operational success.  And, the success of these organizations is vital to our continued homeland security.”

The film is to be directed by Kathryn Bigelow, who won an Oscar for directing The Hurt Locker -- which won seven Oscars in 2010, including best picture.

“This film project is only in the script development phase, and DoD is providing assistance with script research, which is something we commonly do for established filmmakers," said Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan. "Until there is a script to review, and a request for equipment or other DoD support, there is no formal agreement for DoD support.

"When people working on articles, books, documentaries or movies that involve the Department of Defense request assistance, we do our best to accommodate them to make sure the facts are correct. We do not discuss classified information.”

The Bin Laden project is currently untitled but is expected to be released in October of 2012 -- just a month before the election.

Here is the full text of the letter sent to the inspectors general:

August 9, 2011

The Honorable Gordon S. Heddell
Inspector General
Department of Defense
400 Army Navy Drive
Arlington, VA  22202-4704

The Honorable David Buckley
Inspector General
Central Intelligence Agency
Washington, DC  20505

Dear Inspectors General Heddell and Buckley:

I write to express concern regarding ongoing leaks of classified information regarding sensitive military operations.  As reported in a New York Times column on August 6, 2011, Administration officials may have provided filmmakers with details of the raid that successfully killed Usama bin Laden (UBL).  According to that report, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc. and movie director Kathryn Bigelow received “top-level access to the most classified mission in history” to produce a movie about the raid, due for release in October 2012.  Reportedly, a Hollywood filmmaker also attended a CIA ceremony in honor of the team that carried out the raid.

The Administration’s first duty in declassifying material is to provide full reporting to Congress and the American people, in an effort to build public trust through transparency of government.  In contrast, this alleged collaboration belies a desire of transparency in favor of a cinematographic view of history.

Special Operations Command’s Admiral Eric Olson stated that the May 1st raid “was successful because nobody talked about it before, and if we want to preserve this capability nobody better talk about it after,” and that his operators’ “15 minutes of fame lasted about 14 minutes too long.  They want to get back in the shadows.”  Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen stated that “It is time to stop talking,” as “We have gotten to a point where we are close to jeopardizing the precision capability that we have, and we can’t afford to do that.  This fight isn’t over.”  Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates stated that “Too many people in too many places are talking too much about this operation, and when so much detail is available it makes that both more difficult and riskier” for such missions in the future.

Leaks of classified information regarding the bin Laden raid have already resulted, according to a June 15, 2011 article in the Washington Post, in the arrests of Pakistanis who were believed by local authorities to have assisted the CIA with the May 1st raid.  Further participation by JSOC and the Agency in making a film about the raid is bound to increase such leaks, and undermine these organizations’ hard-won reputations as “quiet professionals” − reputations important for their continued operational success.  And, the success of these organizations is vital to our continued homeland security.

Therefore, I request an investigation and classified briefing regarding this matter from the Defense Department’s and CIA’s Inspectors General, including but not limited to the following:

  • What consultations, if any, occurred between members of the Executive Office of the President, and Department of Defense and/or CIA officials, regarding the advisability of providing Hollywood executives with access to covert military operators and clandestine CIA officers to discuss the UBL raid?
  • Will a copy of this film be submitted to the military and CIA for pre-publication review, to determine if special operations tactics, techniques and procedures, or Agency intelligence sources and methods, would be revealed by its release?
  • How was the attendance of filmmakers at a meeting with special operators and Agency officers at CIA Headquarters balanced against those officers’ duties to maintain their covers?  How will cover concerns be addressed going forward?
  • What steps did the Administration take to ensure that no special operations tactics, techniques, and procedures were compromised during those meetings?  
  • To the extent possible to determine, how many human intelligence sources and how many Agency intelligence methods have been compromised due to leaks about the May 1st raid?  What effects have these compromises had on the CIA’s collection capabilities?  Will Agency participation in a film about the bin Laden raid add to or exacerbate the effects of these compromises?

If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Matthew McCabe, Senior Counsel for the Committee on Homeland Security, at (202) 226-8417.  Thank you for your time and consideration of this request.


Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Celebrates Intelligence Efforts in OBL Raid 

CIA dot gov(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama met Friday with 60 key CIA and intelligence officers involved in the Osama bin Laden mission, including analysts from the counterterrorism Center, the National Security Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency during a visit to the CIA.
In remarks after the private meeting, the President stood before the CIA memorial wall with 102 stars honoring each officer killed since the agency was founded in 1947 in the lobby of the original headquarters building in Langley, Va.
“I've returned just to say thank you, on behalf of all Americans and people around the world,” Obama said. “Part of the challenge of intelligence work is: by necessity, your work has to remain secret. I know that carries a heavy burden. You're often the first ones to get the blame when things go wrong, and you're always the last ones to get the credit when things go right.”
The president said that when the intelligence community does right their success ought to be celebrated. The killing of Osama bin Laden is one of those times.
“I wanted every single one of you to know, whether you work at the CIA or across the community, at every step of our effort to take out bin Laden, the work you did and the quality of the intelligence that you provided made the critical difference -- to me, to our team on those helicopters, to our nation.”
Roughly 1000 people from the intelligence agencies were in attendance including FBI Director Mueller, White House Counterterrorism Adviser John Brennan, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon and several four star generals. The president’s remarks were broadcast live to all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


White House Offers Legal Justification for Osama Bin Laden Killing

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- For the first time since the death of Osama bin Laden, the Obama administration has put forth its official legal justification for the lawfulness of the operation.

"Given bin Laden's unquestioned leadership position within al Qaeda and his clear continuing operational role there can be no question that he was the leader of an enemy force and a legitimate target in our armed conflict with al Qaeda," said Harold Koh, the State Department’s legal advisor, in a blog posted Thursday.

Koh called the killing justified under U.S. and international law out of self defense, and the fact that the U.S. needs to protect itself against further attacks.

Legal scholars and human rights activists had urged the Obama administration to reiterate its legal justification for the operation and address concerns that the action may have violated international rules of law.

Koh says that the al Qaeda leader was a lawful target under the Authorization of Military Force (AUMF) authorized by Congress in the days after September 11th. The AUMF authorizes the president to use military force against those that have "planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks."

He says that the manner in which the operation was conducted followed international law by "taking great pains both to distinguish between legitimate military objectives and civilians" while avoiding excessive injury to the latter.

Some have questioned whether the SEALS allowed bin Laden time to surrender. Koh says that the forces were prepared to capture bin Laden if he had "surrendered in a way that they could safely accept" in accordance with the laws of armed conflict which require the acceptance of a "genuine offer" of surrender, "clearly communicated by the surrendering party" under circumstances where it would be feasible for the forces to accept the offer of surrender.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rep. Ron Paul Predicts US Military Involvement in Pakistan

Jason Merritt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Congressman Ron Paul sees no way out of the war in Afghanistan.

In fact, the Texas Republican, who announced his candidacy for president last week, believes the U.S. is primed to send forces into Pakistan.

Appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe Wednesday, Paul, who has fervently opposed U.S. military involvement in both Iraq and Afghanistan, said, "I think that we are going to be in Pakistan.  I think that's the next occupation and I fear it.  I think it's ridiculous, and I think our foreign policy is such that we don't need to be doing this.”

Paul said the Obama administration telegraphed its future intentions with the successful raid to get Osama bin Laden, who was living undetected in Abbottabad, Pakistan for the past several years.

That mission and other actions, including sending unmanned drones to kill al Qaeda and Taliban members in Pakistan's northwestern region, are tantamount to creating civil war and violating our ally's national security, according to Paul, who has promised to withdraw all American forces out of Afghanistan if elected president.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Did Waterboarding Provide Tip That Led to Bin Laden?

CNN via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Top current and former government officials may have finally answered the question of whether intelligence gained from the use of waterboarding played a role in the discovery of Osama bin Laden's whereabouts.

It could all boil down to a war of words.

The controversy began on May 12 when Sen. John McCain, a former POW who was tortured at the hands of Vietnamese captors, took to the Senate floor to criticize those who claimed that intelligence gleaned from enhanced interrogation techniques used against high value detainees such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was used to find bin Laden.

McCain specifically criticized comments made by Michael Mukasey, a U.S. attorney general under the Bush administration, who had claimed in an op-ed on May 6 that the trail to bin Laden "began with a disclosure from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM)" made after he had been subject to waterboarding.  Mukasey said that KSM had revealed "the nickname of a trusted courier of bin Laden."

Mukasey's op-ed infuriated McCain.  In his speech, McCain said he had taken up the matter with CIA Director Leon Panetta, who had told him that KSM had not provided the name of the courier.

On Monday, as first reported by the Washington Post, excerpts from a letter from Panetta to McCain dated May 9 were released.  In the letter, Panetta reiterates what he has said publicly -- that bin Laden was found after 10 years of intensive intelligence from "multiple streams" and "painstaking collection and analysis."

In the letter, which was verified by a spokesperson at the CIA, Panetta says: "We first learned about the facilitator/courier's nom de guerre from a detainee not in CIA custody in 2002."  He said that some detainees who had been subject to enhanced interrogation techniques attempted to provide false information about the courier.

The statement leaves open the possibility that both Mukasey and Panetta are correct.  Panetta refers to the "full true name" of the courier, while Mukasey, in an appearance Monday at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, said KSM disclosed "the nickname" in the course of the questioning that took place after the enhanced interrogation techniques.

Mukasey said that while it wasn't the first time a detainee had mentioned the name, it only became significant "when it came out of [KSM'S] mouth."  And he indicated he believes the controversy is more than just a war of words regarding the courier's nickname or his true name.

"I'm not accusing anybody of being misleading and I'm certainly not here to play word games," he said.  "I know what I said to be true, and you can read into that [Panetta's] letter what you want to."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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