President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. Seated, from left, are: Brigadier General Marshall B. â€œBradâ€ Webb, Assistant Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command; Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Standing, from left, are: Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; National Security Advisor Tom Donilon; Chief of Staff Bill Daley; Tony Binken, National Security Advisor to the Vice President; Audrey Tomason Director for Counterterrorism; John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. (click for full-sized image)
Looking at the Times’s photograph (by Pete Souza) of the White House National Security team once again, I am struck by how much Barack Obama appears to be a passive outsider on the sidelines, while the group sitting and standing on the right side of the picture, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, seems to be in command and in charge.
It’s just an impression I got looking at the photograph, and it may not mean anything, but I then came upon what purports to be a leak from a knowledgeable insider.
This alleged witness claims that Barack Obama was taken in hand by his senior military and intelligence staff and steamrollered into permitting the mission to go ahead.
HC = Hillary Clinton
BD = Bill Daley
LP = Leon Panetta
CoC = Chain of Command/Commander in Chief
[There was a s]ignificant push to take [bin Laden] out months ago. Senior WH staff resisted. This was cause of much strain between HC and Obama/Jarrett. HC and LP were in constant communication over matter â€“ both attempted to convince administration to act. Administration feared failure and resulting negative impact on president. Intel disgusted over politics over national security. Staff resigned/left. Check timeline to corroborate.
Now Intel already leaking to media facts surrounding how info obtained. Namely from enhanced interrogation efforts via GITMO prisoners. Obama administration placed in corner on this. Some media aware of danger to president RE this and attempting protection. Others looking for further investigation. We are pushing for them to follow through and already meeting with some access.
Point of determination made FOR Obama not BY Obama. Will clarify as details become more clear. Very clear divide between Military and WH. Jarrett marginalized 100% on decision to take out OBL. She played no part. BD worked with LP and HC to form coalition to force CoC to engage.
IMPORTANT SPECIFIC: When 48 hour go order issued, CoC was told, not requested. Administration scrambled to abort. That order was overruled. This order did not originate from CoC. Repeat â€“ this order did not originate from CoC. He complied, but did not originate.
There is no way to know if there is any truth in all this. If so, I expect we will hear more along these lines.
If the report is false, I would say that it was dastardly and outrageous to fabricate such a thing libeling a president who has just made a courageous decision.
I was persuaded to pass it along because the source is right: anti-Obama Intel leaks are popping out all over, identifying the crucial roles played by enhanced interrogations and renditions in making the operation that killed Osama bin Laden possible. I would still file it in the “Interesting, But Not Known to Be True” category.