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Why the Hurry? Obama's Loose Lips May Have Cost Us Valuable Intelligence
National Review ^ | 05/11/2011 | Jonah Goldberg

Posted on 05/11/2011 6:38:30 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

For a week, people have been asking, “Why won’t the president release Osama bin Laden’s photo?” That’s the wrong question. We should be asking, “Why was Barack Obama in such a hurry to tell us bin Laden was dead?”

The White House says the information in bin Laden’s compound is the equivalent of a “small college library,” potentially containing incalculably valuable and unique data on al-Qaeda operations, personnel, and methods.

“It’s going to be great even if only 10 percent of it is actionable,” a government official told Politico’s Mike Allen.

I’m no expert on such matters — though I’ve talked to several about this — but even a casual World War II buff can understand that the shelf life of actionable intelligence would be extended if we hadn’t told the whole world, and al-Qaeda in particular, that we had it.

It’s a bit like racing to the microphones to announce you’ve stolen the other team’s playbook before you’ve had a chance to use the information in the big game.

But that’s exactly what President Obama did. He raced to spill the beans. The man couldn’t even wait until morning. At just after 9:45 p.m., the White House communications director, Dan Pfeiffer, informed the media: “POTUS to address the nation tonight at 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time.”

The announcement came less than three hours after Obama had been informed that there was a “high probability” that bin Laden was dead and that the Navy SEAL helicopters had returned to Afghanistan.

In other words, it seems that the White House planned to crow as soon as possible. Why? Nobody I’ve talked to can think of a reason that doesn’t have to do with politics or hubris.

Yes, killing Osama bin Laden would have been a big secret that would have been hard to keep for long. Certainly, Pakistan would grow agitated if we simply said nothing about the incursion, though sweating the Janus-faced Pakistanis with silence for a couple of days might yield its own intelligence rewards. In other words, even waiting 24 hours might generate some interesting “chatter.” The Pakistanis working with al-Qaeda certainly would have been the first to spread the news that bin Laden was dead or captured.

But the real treasure trove is that “college library” of intelligence.

And while reports are pouring out from a gloating White House that’s leaking like the Titanic in its final hours, one can only assume our analysts have barely begun to exploit the data. Couldn’t they have at least tried to give the CIA a week, a day, even a few more hours to look at it all before letting Ayman al-Zawahiri and the rest of al-Qaeda know about it? Why give him the slightest head start to go even further underground?

Operation Neptune Spear was the culmination of years of patient intelligence-gathering. The CIA identified bin Laden’s compound nearly ten months ago, in August 2010, and monitored it by satellite and from a secret safe house in Abbottabad at a cost of tens of millions of dollars.

And even that was breakneck speed compared with the years our government spent hunting bin Laden. In 2002, the CIA heard about a possible courier codenamed Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. In 2004, it learned that he might have worked closely with bin Laden. It wasn’t until 2007 that it got al-Kuwaiti’s real name. It took two more years to track him down to a specific region.

That, of course, barely skims the surface of American patience and sacrifice. We’ve spent billions of dollars and lost numerous American and allied lives trying to defeat al-Qaeda. Those efforts have ripped apart our politics, from the debates over waterboarding and what some claim is torture to extraordinary rendition, black sites, and Guantanamo Bay. Some of those techniques and decisions seem to have led us to bin Laden’s door.

Surely one more week of harmlessly searching hard drives while the public was kept in the dark wouldn’t have been too great an additional burden. The White House would have still gotten their moment to preen and to ride their bump in the polls as far as they could. All they had to do is hold their tongues for a little while longer.

Obama says he won’t release bin Laden’s death photo for fear that American triumphalism might hurt American interests. Would that he had the same concern when it came to White House triumphalism.

— Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: cia; intel; intelligence; looselips

1 posted on 05/11/2011 6:38:35 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Everything Obama does is to advance his sorry bony a$$.


2 posted on 05/11/2011 6:42:59 AM PDT by alicewonders
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To: SeekAndFind

Good article. Makes a lot of sense.


3 posted on 05/11/2011 6:43:45 AM PDT by American Quilter (DEFUND OBAMACARE.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Rule 1: Always protect methods and sources
Rule 2: Never let them know what you know.
Rule 3: Only violate Rule 1 and Rule 2 in order to mix in some disinformation that you want them to believe.
Rule 4: Never confirm or deny, see Rules 1 & 2.
Rule 5: Never use official channels to when implementing Rule 3, feed disinformation through putative leaks, see rule 4.


4 posted on 05/11/2011 6:46:16 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (Somewhere in Kenya a village is missing its idiot)
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To: SeekAndFind

Isaiah 3 (New International Version, ©2011)

4 “I will make mere youths their officials;
children will rule over them.”


5 posted on 05/11/2011 6:47:43 AM PDT by Red Badger (Jesus said there is no marriage in Heaven. That's why they call it Heaven............)
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To: SeekAndFind
I’m no expert on such matters — though I’ve talked to several about this — but even a casual World War II buff can understand that the shelf life of actionable intelligence would be extended if we hadn’t told the whole world, and al-Qaeda in particular, that we had it.

Unless that was the point. There are quite a few enemy sympathizers in the Obama inner circle. Hussein himself the chief sympathizer.
6 posted on 05/11/2011 6:47:43 AM PDT by Tzfat
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To: SeekAndFind

Good article. Why the hurry? - To continue building momentum for obama’s reelection campaign. So far, it seems to be working.


7 posted on 05/11/2011 6:49:45 AM PDT by Girlene
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To: SeekAndFind

A small college library is how big?? What a stupid analogy. Why not just shut your mouth about anything that we gathered.


8 posted on 05/11/2011 6:50:46 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

I wonder if the photos will come out before the election?


9 posted on 05/11/2011 6:52:29 AM PDT by dragonblustar (If libs are inspired by a book that was dedicated to the Satan, their reward will be hell.)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

I wonder if the photos will come out before the election?


10 posted on 05/11/2011 6:52:54 AM PDT by dragonblustar (If libs are inspired by a book that was dedicated to Satan, their reward will be hell.)
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To: SeekAndFind

The mission was launched and carried out by Panetta, against CrapMan’s will. The rush by CrapMan to tell the world about it, once it had been successfully completed, was to give his fellow-ragheads a jump on changing tactics, plugging leads, etc. that would be available to the U.S. as soon as the info obtained in the mission was analyzed. If the mission had failed or fallen short in some significant way, CrapMan had a speech prepared in which he would have disowned ANY responsibility for it. And you can take that to the bank!


11 posted on 05/11/2011 6:54:12 AM PDT by Tucker39
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

“Rule 1: Always protect methods and sources”

The prudent use of intelligence requires intelligence, an attribute sorely lacking in this “Mom, look what I did!” bunch of bozos.


12 posted on 05/11/2011 6:57:27 AM PDT by DrC
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To: dragonblustar

I’m surprised Øbama hasn’t yet pulled out a hand puppet of the deceased Osama on the Øbama Tour.


13 posted on 05/11/2011 7:00:23 AM PDT by getmeouttaPalmBeachCounty_FL (***Only candidates whose voting record has financially supported our military)
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To: Tucker39

I think, if the mission failed, we would NEVER have known that it took place.

Years ago a mafioso type we knew told us about being questioned by the authorities. They wanted to know if he knew about a certain thing. His answer:

“If I knew... YOU wouldn’t”


14 posted on 05/11/2011 7:01:34 AM PDT by SMARTY (Conforming to non-conformity is conforming just the same.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Obama and his minions care 'squat' about America, which is why they did a 100 mph scramble to get out their "BIG ANNOUNCEMENT" the very 'second' the Seals left the compound.

Think of the elements involved:

- Divulging as "Breaking News" of one of the most successful 'covert' operations ever, before even getting their internal facts and story straight!

- Turning the 'lights on' the operation BEFORE any review of acquired intelligence (supposedly a "large amount").

- Not even a chance 'TO POUNCE' on any newly discovered/located enemies as a result of newly gathered intelligence.

A real leader who's main primary interest is defending this country, would have held on to this information for far longer than the ONE SECOND that these anti-American socialists tripped over each other in doing.

15 posted on 05/11/2011 7:02:03 AM PDT by The Bronze Titan
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To: SeekAndFind

The first rule of Intelligence Club: You Don’t Talk About Intelligence Club.


16 posted on 05/11/2011 7:07:51 AM PDT by Harley (Will Rogers never met Harry Reid.)
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To: SeekAndFind
The "death" of Osama conveniently wiped this out of the news cycle.


17 posted on 05/11/2011 7:08:09 AM PDT by COUNTrecount (Barry...above his poi grade.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I now know exactly which special unit went in, when they did it, how they got there, what they did there, and what they did with the body afterwards. I even know the timeline of events and intelligence which eventually led them to the compound.

I don’t know what Obama got in English 101.

We know much more about Osama than we will ever know about Obama.


18 posted on 05/11/2011 7:09:14 AM PDT by lacrew (Mr. Soetoro, we regret to inform you that your race card is over the credit limit.)
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To: alicewonders

I heard some pundit type on the radio the other day talking about how sobering it was for Obama to make the decision to get Osama. Sobering because it could be his “Bay of Pigs”. Not because of the men’s lives at risk, but because of how it might affect him. He was talking like this was a plus to Obama—where he finally graduated to President. It turned me off more from a man I was already completed turned off by.


19 posted on 05/11/2011 7:13:50 AM PDT by beaversmom
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To: SeekAndFind

if anyone still thinks 0bama does anything to help the US, i would be shocked


20 posted on 05/11/2011 7:21:28 AM PDT by sten (fighting tyranny never goes out of style)
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To: All

Have Your Say Every Day.

Free Republic Runs ONLY On Your Donations.
Make Yours NOW and End the FReepathon!

21 posted on 05/11/2011 7:41:12 AM PDT by paulycy (Islamo-Marxism is Evil.)
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