Bin Laden May Ironically Be Obama's Albatross
Election '12: The president seems to think bragging about killing Osama bin Laden will help get him re-elected. But the question is increasingly becoming why the president hesitated on such a no-brainer decision.
Jack Keane, the Army vice chief of staff from 1999 to 2003, told Mike Huckabee on Fox News over the weekend that the U.S. government knew exactly where Osama bin Laden was nearly a year before President Obama gave the order to send in the Navy SEALs to his compound in Pakistan.
The retired general told Huckabee, "We had the target in the summer (of) 2010, and it took until the following May to execute the mission."
Keane was surprised at the delay "because, you know, the longer you spend on something like that, the greater likelihood is that the target will be compromised because of your surveillance, and then that target will flee."
Keane added, "I know for a fact that we had it that summer, maybe even sooner than that."
So why didn't Obama act sooner?
"My sources tell me the White House was trying to verify that the target was actually there as opposed to just relying on circumstantial evidence," Keane said. "They actually wanted a photo ... and that without that there was a lot of delay and procrastination about it, because they wanted verification."
He said those few officials who knew that bin Laden had been located "wanted to get after" him "because they realized that the target could be compromised and it took so long to actually find it. And you sort of had the sense that this was it, it was real, and let's go get it."
Keane knew this information because he was "close to somebody who had knowledge and he trusted me and had confidence in me" not to reveal it.
What Keane says may not be true. Yet a president who knew where the man who gave the order for the 9/11 attacks was, but did not act, would be guilty of serious misconduct, a near-impeachable offense.
The gaffe-inator, Vice President Joe Biden, in March claimed that if the bin Laden raid failed "this guy would be a one-term president" — a comment exposing that even the White House knows this presidency is a failure. You mean all that "hope and change" in job creation and health care policy wouldn't make up for botching the bin Laden raid, Joe?
As shown in a Time magazine-revealed memo from Leon Panetta, the defense secretary who during the bin Laden raid was CIA director, the White House was setting up Adm. William McRaven, the Special Operations commander, as scapegoat if the mission failed.
"The timing, operational decision making and control are in Adm. McRaven's hands," Panetta's memo stated. "Any additional risks are to be brought back to the president for his consideration."
That wording would have made it easy to accuse McRaven of botching the mission by undertaking an "additional risk" the president supposedly didn't OK.
No wonder former and current Navy SEALs have accused Obama of politicizing the bin Laden killing.
As Montana Republican state Sen. Ryan Zinke, a 23-year veteran of the SEALs, told Britain's Daily Mail, it was a "no-brainer" to order bin Laden's elimination.
"I think every president would have done the same," Zinke pointed out.
George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney would all clearly have given the order — except much sooner.
The ghost of bin Laden may end up haunting not the GOP challenger, as many Democrats seem to believe, but procrastinator-in-chief Barack Obama.