The mission to get Osama bin Laden

August 2, 2011

Bar none, the most riveting article you’ll read this week. The New Yorker’s Nicholas Schmidle interviewed principals involved in the raid to kill that porn-addicted medieval psychopath bin Laden –including members of SEAL Team 6– and put together an account of the mission from planning stages to aftermath that you won’t be able to put down. An excerpt:

The SEALs’ destination was a house in the small city of Abbottabad, which is about a hundred and twenty miles across the Pakistan border. Situated north of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, Abbottabad is in the foothills of the Pir Panjal Range, and is popular in the summertime with families seeking relief from the blistering heat farther south. Founded in 1853 by a British major named James Abbott, the city became the home of a prestigious military academy after the creation of Pakistan, in 1947. According to information gathered by the Central Intelligence Agency, bin Laden was holed up on the third floor of a house in a one-acre compound just off Kakul Road in Bilal Town, a middle-class neighborhood less than a mile from the entrance to the academy. If all went according to plan, the SEALs would drop from the helicopters into the compound, overpower bin Laden’s guards, shoot and kill him at close range, and then take the corpse back to Afghanistan.

In other words, no matter what was said publicly, this was a mission to kill, not capture. Fine by me. I figure anyone objecting to this is either a hopeless pacifist, someone who thinks this a law enforcement matter rather than a war, or a transnationalist who can’t stand the idea of nation-states actually defending themselves by any means more stern than a press conference, a memo of concern, and perhaps sniffing “unacceptable” if the terrorist atrocity is really bad.

(In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t have much regard for those types. None at all, actually.)

Anyway, on reading this, here are three things that jumped out at me:

  • After weeks of training, we were this close to having the mission turn into another Eagle Claw. Helicopters are darned difficult to control in restricted areas.
  • I want to meet the guy code-named “Ahmed,” the Pakistani-American who pretended to be a Pakistani cop to keep curious locals away while our guys were inside killing the world’s most wanted man. His assignment prior to this raid: a desk job.
  • As of the article’s writing, the President of the United States does not know who fired the kill shot(s). He didn’t ask, and the SEALs didn’t offer. Probably for security reasons. That secret may well go to the grave.

Anyway, after weeks of wondering if our government can do anything right, here’s something that shows they can, and do it superbly.

Enjoy.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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Obama won’t tell Holder to back off on his CIA witch hunt

May 6, 2011

Remember, these are the same people who got the initial leads to the courier who eventually lead us to bin Laden. And yet, as reported in this interview with Debra Burlingame, Obama has said that he will not tell Attorney General Eric Holder to end his investigation persecution of these CIA operatives — nor will he even talk to Holder about it:

Utterly disgraceful. “Thanks for leading us to bin Laden, guys. Here’s your reward: possible prosecution. Better start paying some lawyers a retainer. Hope you have enough savings.”

Granted, the position of the Attorney General is unique in the Cabinet: a president should never attempt to interfere in an ongoing case or use the Justice Department to go after foes or favor cronies. That’s the dread “politicization.’ President Bush’s last AG, Michael Mukasey, was very strict about that.

But these are investigations that should never have been undertaken in the first place. The interrogators in question had already been cleared of wrongdoing by career attorneys in the Justice Department. There was no reason to reopen the case, but Holder did anyway — and don’t tell me it wasn’t with Obama’s approval.

This case already stinks to Heaven-on-high of politicization meant to appease Obama’s anti-war, anti-CIA, and anti-American base. Dropping it would be doing no less than justice, something that’s been missing at the Department of Justice for nearly three years, now.

And think about the national security implications: After 9-11, we were desperate to get a lead on the people who had attacked us. DoJ lawyers at the time drew up guidelines for how prisoners could be interrogated, including the circumstances under which waterboarding was appropriate. The interrogators —who were trying to keep any more of us from being killed— acted in good faith under those guidelines. And they succeeded. To tell them that they are still vulnerable to criminal liability is to tell any future CIA (or other US official) that they, too, might be investigated and prosecuted at some future date, regardless of what they were told at the time. Just how effectively do you think they’ll do their job with that hanging over their heads?

These men and women should be given thanks, not the back of the hand.

ADDENDUM: No, I don’t think waterboarding is torture. Neither does Marc Thiessen, who wrote a great book on how Obama is courting disaster. But, even if it is torture, Charles Krauthammer writes that there are times when it is the lesser evil. And, to be honest, I’m still glad they did it. And yes, I’ve changed my thinking about whether waterboarding is torture. So there.

LINKS: Linda Chavez thinks the interrogators should be rewarded, not punished. Power Line is puzzled. Europe can’t resist its post-modern dementia and is starting to talk about “war crimes” in the assassination of bin Laden. And the UN, God love’em, wants details on the raid to make sure it was all legal. You can guess my opinion of the UN and its request.

EDIT: Updated to fix an errant link, 2/3/2013

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Our CIA Chief is a clown, too

February 11, 2011

I wonder if he and Clapper bring rubber chickens and squirting flowers to meetings? After seeing this reassuring bit of news last night, I wouldn’t be surprised:

CIA Director Leon Panetta caused confusion when he suggested Egypt’s president was poised to step down, reinforcing questions about the spy agency’s ability to track unrest in the region.

Amid furious speculation that Hosni Mubarak was preparing to announce his exit in the face of mass protests — which later proved to be wrong — Panetta appeared to endorse the media reports before a congressional committee.

Asked about news accounts that Mubarak about to relinquish power, Panetta said: “I got the same information you did, that there’s a strong likelihood that Mubarak may step down this evening.”

But a US official later had to explain that Panetta was merely referring to media reports and not privileged information from inside the Central Intelligence Agency.

Emphasis added, after I was done banging my head on the desk.

So, let me get this straight: the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the guy in charge of the main electronic and human intelligence apparatus of the world’s mightiest power, one that costs us billions per year, in the midst of a crisis says he has no better source of information than CNN? Really, Leon??

Hey, can I have his job? I can turn on a TV, too, and I bet my analysis will be more accurate.

And think about this: We’ve been Egypt and Mubarak’s patron for 30 years. They returned the promise ring to the Soviets so they could go out with us. They’ve worked with us against Iran, Iraq under Hussein, and al Qaeda. Our military and theirs has a close patron-client relationship.

So what must’ve Mubarak and the government there thought when their patron’s top spy publicly kicks the legs out from under the Egyptian by saying he has information that Hosni will be out by that evening? “News to me?? Is this an order from Washington?” And then to find out that Panetta’s source is nothing more than TV talking heads… Well, I imagine he said something like that famous Strother Martin line from Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid:

“Morons! I’ve got morons on my team!”

Morons. Clowns. Obama administration. There’s a difference?

PS: Just as I’m writing this, word comes that Mubarak is out in what looks like a military coup. As to what comes next… Maybe we should do like Panetta and just turn on the TV.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Ft. Hood shooter’s imam on assassination list

April 11, 2010

Imam Anwar al-Awlaki, the “spiritual adviser” of the Ft. Hood jihadi and a suspected facilitator of the 9-11 hijackers, has the first American citizen to be targeted for assassination by the CIA:

A Muslim cleric tied to the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner has become the first U.S. citizen added to a list of suspected terrorists the CIA is authorized to kill, a U.S. official said Tuesday.

Anwar al-Aulaqi, who resides in Yemen, was previously placed on a target list maintained by the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command and has survived at least one strike carried out by Yemeni forces with U.S. assistance against a gathering of suspected al-Qaeda operatives.

Because he is a U.S. citizen, adding Aulaqi to the CIA list required special approval from the White House, officials said. The move means that Aulaqi would be considered a legitimate target not only for a military strike carried out by U.S. and Yemeni forces, but also for lethal CIA operations.

“He’s in everybody’s sights,” said the U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the topic’s sensitivity.

Good. Awlaki may have US citizenship, but he’s sided with America’s enemies and provided aid and comfort to them. He’s a traitor who’s made his choice, so he can pay the price.

And while I’ve been heavy in my criticism of President Obama, he earns praise for this. Guys like al-Awlaki deserve to be treated as enemies in wartime, not as suspected criminals to be investigated and brought to trial. He should take the opportunity this presents to rectify his mistake in approving civilian trials for Khaild Sheikh Muhammad and other al-Qaeda plotters and instead return them to the military justice system, where captured enemies belong.

LINKS: More at Hot Air.


But of course: the CIA caused Sunday’s earthquake

April 5, 2010

It was inevitable as the Sun rising in the East or Dennis Kucinich seeing a UFO. Listen as YouTube user Seattle4Truth explains how the CIA distracted us from the criminal war we’re waging overseas – by using micro-nukes to trigger an earthquake.

I’m surprised this man isn’t in Congress.

(via The Jawa Report)


The Taliban must be sweating bullets, now

February 16, 2010

I’d waited to write on this until it was confirmed, and now it is: In a joint operation, the Pakistan Interservices Intelligence agency and the CIA captured the Taliban’s top military commander, a man second only to Mullah Omar himself:

Secret Joint Raid Captures Taliban’s Top Commander

By MARK MAZZETTI and DEXTER FILKINS

The Taliban’s top military commander was captured several days ago in Karachi, Pakistan, in a secret joint operation by Pakistani and American intelligence forces, according to American government officials.

The commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, is an Afghan described by American officials as the most significant Taliban figure to be detained since the American-led war in Afghanistan started more than eight years ago. He ranks second in influence only to Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban’s founder and a close associate of Osama bin Laden before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mullah Baradar has been in Pakistani custody for several days, with American and Pakistani intelligence officials both taking part in interrogations, according to the officials.

It was unclear whether he was talking, but the officials said his capture had provided a window into the Taliban and could lead to other senior officials. Most immediately, they hope he will provide the whereabouts of Mullah Omar, the one-eyed cleric who is the group’s spiritual leader.

Disclosure of Mullah Baradar’s capture came as American and Afghan forces were in the midst of a major offensive in southern Afghanistan.

His capture could cripple the Taliban’s military operations, at least in the short term, said Bruce O. Riedel, a former C.I.A. officer who last spring led the Obama administration’s Afghanistan and Pakistan policy review.

Details of the raid remain murky, but officials said that it had been carried out by Pakistan’s military spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, and that C.I.A. operatives had accompanied the Pakistanis.

Naturally the Pakistanis are denying the CIA was involved in the raid. I don’t blame them; not only is the issue of an American, especially CIA, presence sensitive in Pakistan, but the ISI has been playing a double game between the US and the jihadists, especially the Taliban, with whom they have a long and paternal relationship. Confirming that they had stabbed their clients in the back would only earn them more suicide bombs in the capital and the Urdu-speaking heartland than they’re already going to get.

And I have to give rare credit to the New York Times, which sat on the story at the administration’s request for several days, until rumors became rife in the region.  This preserved the value of the intelligence we were getting from this slime.  Good job, guys. Now, if only you’d see fit to be that concerned about national security during Republican administrations….

Regardless, this is a major coup for the US and its allies, and a body blow to the Taliban. This piece of walking garbage knows plans, names, locations… everything. It would be as if they had captured General McChrystal, our commander in the region. Baradar is close to Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden – want to bet they moved faster than they have since October, 2001, when the word got around?

And the capture takes place just as we’re launching a major offensive against the Taliban. Kind of like taking out Rommel at the start of the North Africa campaign.

This is truly good news, and congratulations to the Obama administration.

But, I have to ask, is it wrong of me to want to waterboard this escapee from a 7th century lunatic asylum? I mean, think of all the evil these schmucks have done since taking over Afghanistan – a few pours is the least any of their leaders deserve.

Oh, okay. It’d be wrong, but it would still feel good.

LINKS: More at Hot Air, which links to a Newsweek profile of Baradar ; Legal Insurrection, which wonders about the interrogation; Power Line, which wonders why we didn’t get him a lawyer; The Jawa Report; Sister Toldjah; Threat Matrix, which wonders why Pakistan gave up Mullah Baradar; and Hot Air, again, asking how it was done.


Dear Ron Paul: please go away

January 21, 2010

You’re not a conservative, you’re not a libertarian, you’re a kook. A crank. There are so many bats in your belfry it looks like a vampire convention. Do the Right and the Republicans a favor and go join some minor party that passes out tinfoil hats at their conventions.

Congressman Paul’s latest loony tune:

“There’s been a coup, have you heard? It’s the CIA coup. The CIA runs everything, they run the military. They’re the ones who are over there lobbing missiles and bombs on countries. … And of course the CIA is every bit as secretive as the Federal Reserve. … And yet think of the harm they have done since they were established after World War II. They are a government unto themselves. They’re in businesses, in drug businesses, they take out dictators … We need to take out the CIA.”

Maybe Ron Paul and Lyndon Larouche should run on a National Nutcase unity ticket.

LINKS: More at Hot Air.