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Was it the courage of Leon Panetta?

Posted by Richard on May 5, 2011

The MSM have been waxing eloquent about the courage of President Obama in deciding to go ahead with the mission to get bin Laden, despite the risks. But was it Obama's courageous decision? An anonymous source inside the White House says it wasn't Obama, but CIA Director Leon Panetta who gave the go-ahead. And that the President wasn't even informed until the mission was already under way.

According to the source, Panetta, Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, David Petraeus, and others had been pushing for weeks, maybe months, for an attack on the Abottabad compound. Valerie Jarrett was adamantly opposed. And the President couldn't make up his mind. More than once, Obama seemed ready to agree and then, after Jarrett intervened, backed away. 

With Clinton and Chief of Staff Bill Daley pledging their full support, Panetta went ahead with planning and preparation for the mission, and eventually gave the order for the SEALs to go in. The President was only informed (and rushed back to the White House) after the operation had begun. 

Is the anonymous account true? It's certainly fascinating reading and full of rich detail. The account of the events, the depiction of who did what, who said what — it all seems quite plausible.

Anonymous' account goes a long way toward explaining the otherwise inexplicable incompetence with which the messaging and PR after the event have been handled, including the days of uncertainty about whether to release photos of the corpse (with Panetta publicly saying yes; I bet Jarrett was instrumental in persuading the President to say no). 

Even some mainstream reports have given Panetta the lead role in the affair and suggested that the President was reluctant or indecisive.

You never know with these anonymously sourced stories. But I'm inclined to believe this one could be true. And that's rather troubling in a number of ways.

(HT: David Aitken)

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One Response to “Was it the courage of Leon Panetta?”

  1. […] out that that’s a big “if,” and I wish someone would remember the information I posted about on May 5, 2011, just days after the successful raid. Numerous sources at the time said bin Laden’s location […]

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