The question is whether the Bush folks could have acted but didn't. Harken back to 2005 when Porter Goss was running the CIA... he was asked about bin Laden:
Mr Goss said it was unlikely Bin Laden would be brought to justice until "we strengthen all the links" in the chain in the US-led hunt for terror suspects..."We have to find a way to work in a conventional world in unconventional ways that are acceptable to the international community."No doubt he was talking about Pakistan. But wonder what he meant by 'weak links'? Michael Moore, Judge Napolitano or Rashard Mendenhall would probably see it another way but others more connected to reality would likely figure it had to do with certain deterrents of the nuclear variety in the hands of an Islamic state who've long played a double game.
Asked if he had a good idea where Bin Laden is, he said: "I have an excellent idea of where he is. What's the next question?"
Since we've now called their bluff a question arises--have those links been strengthened or have we upset the apple cart? Was that why Brennan referred to it as a 'gutsy call' when a chance to grab bin Laden is more an expected call? Is Obama throwing a terrorist Hail Mary (sorry for the religious and pigskin football references) in hopes of taking out AQ once and for all so we can all focus on domestic issues again?
PREVIOUS ADDRESSES-- The NY Times is reporting the following:
Two Pakistani officials with knowledge of the continuing Pakistani investigation say that Bin Laden’s Yemeni wife, one of three wives now in Pakistani custody since the raid on Monday, told investigators that before moving in 2005 to the mansion in Abbottabad where he was eventually killed, Bin Laden had lived with his family for nearly two and a half years in a small village, Chak Shah Mohammad, a little more than a mile southeast of the town of Haripur, on the main Abbottabad highway.In other words, before he lived in his cushy compound in the heart of Pakistani officer country he lived just down the road the two years previous. Somebody had to know this. Did Goss? Chances are he was just guessing and didn't know exactly where he was because if the Bush folks knew they would have probably tried a take down in 2007 or 08 (and nobody on the left would have believed it without pictures). But wait--they did try. Someone most likely tipped off UBL cough Pakistan because the bombers had to overfly their airspace cough, and nobody showed up. Kind of funny--the Pakistanis could have driven down the street and told bin Laden in person, it turns out. Not this time.
In retrospect, one of the officials said, this means that Bin Laden left Pakistan’s rugged tribal region sometime in 2003 and had been living in northern urban regions since then. American and Pakistani officials had thought for years that ever since Bin Laden disappeared from Tora Bora in Afghanistan, he had been hiding in the tribal regions straddling the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
Perhaps the bigger catch was the treasure trove since the US couldn't have interrogated a captured bin Laden with anything but reruns of the Love Boat, so the info is likely producing a thrill a minute for the exploitation team about now. And it's a good bet a lot of people are scrambling for cover too (and not just al Qaeda members).
Ironically, Hollywood Bob Woodward has some backstory on finding the magical courier and quotes a US official on where it all began:
“This is where you start the movie about the hunt for bin Laden,”Well again, go back to Goss' 2005 cryptic comment, did we know but couldn't act? How much did we know? Hell, Bill Clinton tried harder than anyone to catch him, maybe the movie should start there.
BTW, Woodward provides yet another contradiction as to what the participants were so closely watching in the Situation Room:
In the White House Situation Room on Sunday night, the president and his national security team watched a soundless video feed of the raid.Hmm, just the other day Leon Panetta said:
When bin Laden’s corpse was laid out, one of the Navy SEALs was asked to stretch out next to it to compare heights. The SEAL was 6 feet tall. The body was several inches taller.
"We had some observation of the approach there, but we did not have direct flow of information as to the actual conduct of the operation itself as they were going through the compound."And people wonder why we can't trust official statements. For the record the picture likely wasn't a fake--it's hard to manufacture those facial expressions--so they're probably trying to pretend they were watching reruns of the Love Boat due to some silly diplomatic or legal reason. Or maybe since most of them are liberals and believe in a law-enforcement approach to terrorism they're afraid of being harassed on the DC cocktail circuit.
Re Woodward's last book about Obama:
-- The CIA created, controls and pays for a clandestine 3,000-man paramilitary army of local Afghans, known as Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams. Woodward describes these teams as elite, well-trained units that conduct highly sensitive covert operations into Pakistan as part of a stepped-up campaign against al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban havens there.For the record Seymour Hersch and others didn't like the CPT thing. As to Woodward, he also scribbled that O was demanding an exit plan. Nothing wrong with that, but it goes back to the Hail Mary question. Time is running out before 2012, was that part of the gutsy move?
-- Obama has kept in place or expanded 14 intelligence orders, known as findings, issued by his predecessor, George W. Bush. The orders provide the legal basis for the CIA's worldwide covert operations.