The fact that we threw away a wonderful opportunity to put an end to Al Qaeda because Obama couldn’t wait to announce his death is what is so terribly sad.
Obama’s Rush to Announce the Death of bin Laden Will Prove Costly
Comments | Print friendly | Subscribe | Email Us
President Obama deserves a great deal of credit for authorizing SEAL Team 6 to take out Osama bin Laden. While some Americans have been outraged by his self-congratulatory pronouncements, most have been so delighted that bin Laden finally got what he deserved that they seem willing not to notice that instead of heaping praise on the men and women of our intelligence services and the military who are the real heroes of this story, Obama acts as if he did everything himself, everything that is except pull the trigger. One can forgive the President for self aggrandizement. Obama is a politician, and the death of bin Laden has given his approval rating a much needed boost in the polls.
What one cannot forgive Obama for is placing politics ahead of national security. In his rush to take credit for killing bin Laden, Obama prematurely released that fact that bin Laden was dead, and that is disgraceful. The data gathered at bin Laden’s residence has been described as a “treasure trove” and even “the mother lode” of intelligence. But as anyone who has worked in intelligence knows, all such data is time sensitive, and as soon as the enemy knows you have the data it becomes much less valuable, and in many instances even useless.
It has been reported that the computers and records taken from bin Laden’s compound are being pored over by an army of intelligence analysts who are working as quickly as possible to provide actionable intelligence “before the cockroaches scatter.” But the cockroaches started to scatter the moment bin Laden’s death was announced. In the past the news of the capture or death of a key Al Qaeda leader has been kept secret until any intelligence discovered at the scene has been acted upon.
The Pakistanis were not going to announce that the US military had landed at their West Point and killed the world’s most wanted man. They would have been too embarrassed as well they should be since they obviously knew he was there. While the members of bin Laden’s family and entourage who weren’t killed would have tried to get the word out, without phone or internet, it would have taken time. Time we could have used to kill or capture other key members of bin Laden’s terrorist network. Keeping bin Laden’s death a secret might have given us enough time to deal Al Qaeda a fatal blow.
While some of the intelligence gathered at bin Laden’s home will still undoubtedly be useful, so much more could have been achieved if the President hadn’t been in such a hurry to make political hay. When I mentioned this to a senior naval officer, he said, “It would have been great if we could have kept his death a secret till we rolled up his whole network, but there was no way that was going to happen, not with those fat mouths at the White House.” The fact that we threw away a wonderful opportunity to put an end to Al Qaeda because Obama couldn’t wait to announce his death is what is so terribly sad.