First off, some basics. I have no doubt Osama bin Laden is dead as a doornail and that the Seal team did it. I also believe that the mission was to kill him on sight, period, along with anyone who got in the way. There is no way the U.S. wanted him back here on trial in NYC with a dozen ACLU lawyers defending him and ranting about warrants. I also believe there was virtually no resistance and what "firefight" there was was pretty much unidirectional. I also believe there was no concern for collateral damage which is why the lady doctor was killed in the--again--unidirectional "crossfire". The evidence for this is that only two weapons were found, a pistol and an AK-47, and only the AK-47 had been fired--once, apparently by one of the two men--one who was the famous courier--who were also killed.
Many heads are spinning, mine included, with the blizzard of changeling accounts from the administration issued by various spokespeople and finally POTUS himself. Hence the first question. If the White House was intimately involved in this operation, as we are led to believe by the Prez and others, why all the tangled accounts? One might think they were caught with their pants around their ankles. Actually, I believe that is exactly the case. I don't believe for a minute that this was a White House-directed operation. From the beginning, I just did not see this as an Obama-like operation; it is just out of character for our fledgeling president.
So, what is "the rest of the story?" Well, the honest answer is I don't really know. However, I recently received via email a detailed account of this operation over the printed "signature" of a retired Marine Colonel with the unlikely name of Adolf P. Sgambelluri, who really exists and who runs a private intelligence service based in Guam, called Investigations Agency International Corporation. It is quite a story which, I must admit, rings true for me although I am unable to authenticate it fully to my satisfaction. I checked the IAIC web site and could not find a reference to the report, which bothers me.
In summary, the account claims this was a CIA operation planned under the authority of Leon Panetta, supported by Hillary Clinton (SECSTATE), Robert Gates (SECDEF), Gen. David Petraeus and (Director of National Security-DNS) James Clapper throughout. The White House, in the person of Senior Presidential Advisor Valerie Jarrett, opposed this operation from the git-go. President Obama was only peripherally aware and was very much uninvolved until the operation was underway. The initial plan was to bomb the compound but was changed to a manned assault to minimize possible collateral damage since the occupants of the compound, other than bin Laden, were not known.
Our esteemed President, predictably, is parading around the country giving campaign speeches with OBL's body draped around his shoulders, taking, or at least implying, full credit for "getting the guy that previous administrations couldn't." Way to go, Rambo!
With respect to the Pakistani government's involvement, or lack of same, there is simply no credibility to the idea that they were completely unaware of this white-elephant fortified villa in the midst of a military community. They knew he was there and purposefully turned a blind eye, if in fact not proactively providing cover. However, since we need them, they will get nothing more than 40 lashes with a diplomatic wet noodle. Ah, the exigencies of international power politics.
There has been much speculation as to how much intelligence was obtained through CIA "enhanced" interrogation of al Qaeda-related captives at overseas detention centers. I suspect that certainly some intelligence was so obtained from the likes of "20th hijacker" Mohammed al-Khatani, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Zacarias Moussaoui, which aided in the identification of bin Laden's trusted courier, Abu Ahmad al Kuwaiti, which eventually led to bin Laden's villa at Abbottabad, Pakistan. How much intelligence and how useful is debatable, but certainly most of the key intelligence was obtained by the CIA, and from whom else would they have got it? However, I am not among those who would give George W. Bush the major credit. That belongs to the CIA under Obama appointee Leon Panetta, who incidently has proven to be a very effective DCI (Director of Central Intelligence).
The assassination of Osama bin Laden without a doubt is a good thing and brings some degree of closure to the 9/11 World Trade Center outrage. At the same time, it appears pretty certain that Osama was essentially irrelevent to the operations of today's decentralized al Qaeda. I get the picture of a disenchanted, sick old man sitting nearly alone in a huge fortified mausoleum, playing at plotting nostalgic 9/11-style terrorist attacks on the "Great Satan."
It's just too bad that the issue has to be confused by spin and obfuscation in an attempt to gain maximum political mileage from a very well executed CIA wet operation, with a major salute to the Navy Seal team who actually did the dirty deed. It's comforting to know that in that foggy world across the Potomac, we still can plan and pull off complex clandestine operations.
Of course, only by keeping the Obama White House largely in the dark.
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