Right Wing Nut House


How We Got Him

Filed under: Decision 2012, FrontPage.Com, Politics — Rick Moran @ 8:09 am

My latest is up at FrontPage.com where I examine in detail how our intelligence and military professionals carried out what should be considered one of the most daring raids since World War II.

A sample:

The story of how Osama bin Laden was killed begins in the secret prisons abroad and the Guantanamo Bay detention center where some detainees told interrogators of several couriers used by al-Qaeda to avoid electronic surveillance. One such courier piqued the interest of the CIA: a protege of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and a trusted assistant of al-Qaeda number 3 Abu Faraj al-Libbi (captured in 2005). Other detainees mentioned that bin Laden himself trusted this particular courier. However, all the CIA had on the target was his al-Qaeda nickname.

KSM, who had, by this time, been cooperating with his jailers, was confronted with the name of the courier and denied knowing him. The denial spurred the analysts to action and they began a worldwide search for the full name of the courier. Later that year, the CIA learned his full name, it is thought, through interrogations at one or more of the secret prisons the CIA maintained at the time.

It took two more years to focus on where the courier actually lived in Pakistan. No details have emerged as to how this part of the investigation was carried out, but it would imply both human assets and technical surveillance was involved.

Then, in 2009, intelligence began to zero in on where the courier and his brother operated. The fact that the courier was taking extraordinary precautions, strictly adhering to operational security, gave analysts hope that they were indeed on the right track.

The break came in August 2010, when the courier was spotted on an Islamabad street. It should be noted that there was nothing “lucky” about this break. The lead was the product of long hours of painstaking examination of the tiniest slivers of intelligence, agonizing over whether the nuggets of information were valuable, making intelligent judgments about where the information might fit into the overall picture they were developing, and finally being rewarded with a breakthrough.

Luck had nothing to do with it.

I don’t think Clinton would have given the go ahead on this mission. It’s 50-50 whether George Bush would have done it either. There was only a “60-80%” probability that bin Laden was even in the house. President Obama deserves all the accolades he’s getting for the success of this mission. It was ballsy, but a good gamble in retrospect. No doubt, the 15 years of chasing this fanatical murderer was a prod for Obama’s brave decision.

Perhaps it should be noted what he was risking. There was the risk to our men - presidents can tell themselves all they want that they will be steadfast when ordering men into high risk situations but it couldn’t have been easy given the probability of American casualties and perhaps even civilian deaths as well.

Then there was the high stakes involved in our relationship with Pakistan. If a regiment of Pakistan soldiers had showed up, were the SEALs authorized to start shooting? A collapse in US-Pakistan relations engendered by a failure of the mission and possible civilian casualties would have left our forces in Afghanistan high and dry.

Certainly failure would have been an embarrassing personal defeat leading to even more unflattering comparisons with Jimmy Carter. And then there was the prestige of the US to consider in ordering the attack.

I have no doubt Obama weighed all of these factors before giving the “go” code. The fact that he went ahead shows a willingness to protect America and American interests - something many conservatives, including myself, have criticized him in the past for not doing.

Is he taking too much credit for the success? Of course he is. And so would a Republican president. Recall Reagan’s “You can run, but you can’t hide” crack after bombing Libya. As long as he didn’t criticize Bush for not getting OBL - and he hasn’t yet - I find it perfectly appropriate that his aides are spinning events like crazy to shine the brightest possible light on the president. Those pious folks who wish to banish politics from such moments, are deluded. Anything a president does becomes political sooner or later. If the mission had ended in failure, the right would have pounced like a hungry Leopard. Since it was a success, Obama gets to bask in the reflected glory of the magnificent job performed by our military and intelligence professionals.

That’s life. That’s politics.

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