On March 14th 2011, President Obama began a series of 5 National Security Council meetings to develop options for capturing or killing Osama Bin Laden. 30 days and 4 NSC meetings later, it was time for Obama to make a decision. After going around the room seeking everyone's views, debating COAs (Courses of Action) and contingencies accross the board, Obama decided to proceed with the operation.
John Brennan, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, said it was one of the gutsiest decisions made by any president in recent history. Even Rush Limbaugh commended President Obama for his role in the death of Osama bin Laden during his radio program. There is no question that President Obama deserves accolades and respect for having the guts and the wisdom to pull the trigger.
Sorry Bush, Obama's decision got Osama, but thank you for the countless, unpopular decisions you made that gave him such an unprecedented opportunity. Thank you for having the courage and character to remain steadfast, even though it was obvious that your poll numbers would be severely impacted. All the policies you developed and strategies you implemented, against Obama's will, are still in place today and provided the years of intelligence necessary to locate the terrorist leader of the world, Osama Bin Laden.
Bush Policies Delivered Osama Bin Laden
- In 2001 Guantanamo detainees told interrogators about an important courier with the nom de guerre Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti who was close to bin Laden.
- In 2004, top al-Qaida operative Hassan Ghul was captured in Iraq. After intense interrogations he revealed that al-Kuwaiti was a courier, someone crucial to the terrorist organization. He also said that Faraj al-Libi, replaced Mohammed as al-Qaida's operational commander.
- In 2005 Al Libi was captured and also taken to Guantanamo.
- In 2007, U.S. officials who were interrogating Guantanamo detainees finally learned the real name of a former Khalid Sheikh Muhammad (KSM) protégé who had become an important confidante of Abu Faraj al Libi.
- In 2009 Guantanamo detainees identified the courier who had worked with both KSM and Al Libi as someone who was thought to be trusted by Bin Laden. After further Guantanamo interrogations, U.S. officials learned the courier's real name, Sheikh Abu Ahmed, but did not know his exact location. Guantanamo detainees also reveald that Ahmed was a mid-level operative who helped al-Qaida members and their families find safe havens and lived in Abottabod in 2003.
- In 2010 Ahmed finally made a misguided phone call that was monitored by US officials and lead to Osama's compound 35 miles north of Islamabad in the city of Abbottabad.
Obama's order to proceed with the operation to capture/kill Osama Bin Laden will be coined as one of the greatest Presidential decisions in America history. This unprecedented decision may appear to have aggrandized his Presidency, but in the long run, he will be evaluated for all of his decisions. Obama's decisions to vote and campaign against The Patriot Act, Guantanamo Bay and The Iraq War are decisions that may overshadow killing Osama.
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The New York Times: Timeline: The Intelligence Work Behind Bin Laden’s Death, May 2, 2011
The Washington Post: Al-Qaeda couriers provided trail that led to bin Laden, May 2, 2011
Nation Wires: Phone call by Kuwaiti courier led to bin Laden
CBS News: Osama Bin Laden: Navy SEALS Operation Details of Raid That Killed 9/11 Al Qaeda Leader, May 2, 2011