Scores of pages of al Qaeda documents seized in last year’s U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden were released Thursday. They comprise 175 pages in the original Arabic of letters and drafts from bin Laden and other key al Qaeda figures, including the American Adam Gadahn and Abu Yahya al-Libi. – The Osama bin Laden documents
REPUBLICAN SCRAMBLING BEGAN the moment the reelection ad for Pres. Obama, narrated by former Pres. Bill Clinton, surfaced, but has now reached epic levels with Republicans using former attorney general Michael Mukasey’s Breitbartesque Wall Street Journal op-ed from April 30th. That Sean Hannity is using the propaganda is predictable, but that Mukasey would stoop to these levels by assuming one C.I.A. memorandum tells the story is pretty remarkable and close to professional irresponsibility.
Consider the events surrounding the operation. A recently disclosed memorandum from then-CIA Director Leon Panetta shows that the president’s celebrated derring-do in authorizing the operation included a responsibility-escape clause: “The timing, operational decision making and control are in Admiral McRaven’s hands. The approval is provided on the risk profile presented to the President. Any additional risks are to be brought back to the President for his consideration. The direction is to go in and get bin Laden and if he is not there, to get out.”
Which is to say, if the mission went wrong, the fault would be Adm. McRaven’s, not the president’s.
This is the exact same case made by a Breitbart column I cited.
Mukasey went on:
Moreover, the president does not seem to have addressed at all the possibility of seizing material with intelligence value—which may explain his disclosure immediately following the event not only that bin Laden was killed, but also that a valuable trove of intelligence had been seized, including even the location of al Qaeda safe-houses. That disclosure infuriated the intelligence community because it squandered the opportunity to exploit the intelligence that was the subject of the boast.
Again, Mukasey assumes this from one singular memo? Unfortunately, as the CNN story from the top of this column reveals, which came on May 3rd, he was not only wrong, but made a fool of himself by deciding to play politics himself when he also didn’t know the full extent of what was retrieved.
The Christian Science Monitor also reported on the bin Laden papers.
People can argue about whether a political ad on the OBL operation and its success is “spiking the football,” but what cannot be denied is that if Republicans were in Obama’s position they’d ram it down Democratic throats. What also cannot be argued is that Pres. Obama took huge risks in going into Pakistan without permission, something Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden criticized him for suggesting when they were all running for president in ’08.
Mitt Romney can cite Jimmy Carter in a clearly prepared line that scores with his base, but there’s still no evidence whatsoever that he’d have proceeded with the raid inside Pakistan.
“It’s not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.” – Mitt Romney, 2008 campaign
You can argue Romney’s 2008 statement doesn’t preclude a daring call to send SEAL Team Six into Pakistan unannounced, but it does seem to judge national security issues on economic terms alone, not considering the blood the mission might have “cost” is equally important.
I say this also because of his statement on Chen Guangcheng, with Romney popping off when he obviously didn’t have enough facts, because few did. His injudicious politicizing of national security matters as a presidential candidate, both in 2008 and today, reveals a lack of caution and also shows he’s trying to act like he knows what he’s talking about instead of being confident enough to say, “I’m not in the position to have enough classified intelligence to make the decision from here, but the murderer responsible for 9/11 needs to be brought to justice.”
Mayor Giuliani didn’t hesitate to utilize 9/11, George W. Bush pictured 9/11 in 2004 reelect ads, and just this week Mitt Romney had lunch at Engine 24/ladder 5 firehouse that lost 11 men on that day.
This closes the case on political opportunism.
Considering Romney was nowhere in leadership on 9/11, but Pres. Obama took a lot of risks and performed his commander in chief duties with expertise on OBL, the case is closed when comparing the two as well. Romney would be wise not to try to insert himself on this front, but being a Republican he can’t help himself.
From Mukasey to Romney, Republicans are tripping over themselves to try to beat Obama at the national security game, which they owned from Vietnam until the disastrous Iraq war. That Obama is offering a solid chance for Democrats to out tough Republicans, I’d say leaning too far on the hawk side, must be infuriating to the right, but they need to get over themselves, because right now they’re making fools of themselves.