On May 2, 2011, forty U.S. Navy SEALS raided a Pakistani compound where Osama bin Laden was believed to be residing. They found there terrorist leader therein and gunned him down.
Obama Was a Longtime Critic of the Very Tactics that Allowed the U.S. to Find Bin Laden
A key development in the search for the elusive bin Laden had occurred in 2007, when two Guantanamo Bay detainees—Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Abu Faraj al-Libbi—were shipped to “extraordinary rendition” sites in Eastern Europe where they were waterboarded. As a direct result of the waterboarding, these men provided U.S. officials with the nom de guerre of one of bin Laden's most trusted personal couriers. The informants indicated that the courier in question might be living with, and protecting, the al Qaeda leader. Proceeding from that tip, U.S. intelligence officials painstakingly set out to locate the courier. In August 2010 they finally succeeded in tracing him to a house in a suburb about 35 miles north of Islamabad, Pakistan. Further surveillance suggested, though never conclusively proved, that bin Laden himself was also living there. His presence was ultimately confirmed on the night of his death.
It is highly significant that Obama had long been an outspoken critic of both the Guantanamo Bay detention center and enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding. Indeed, the administration had seriously entertained the idea of prosecuting Bush-era officials who had crafted legal opinions that authorized waterboarding.
Obama Called off Three Previously Planned Missions to Kill Bin Laden
Obama's supporters praised him for authorizing the Navy SEAL mission that resulted in bin Laden's death. Some critics, meanwhile, pointed out that it would be inconceivable for any president to have done otherwise. Then, author Richard Miniter, in his 2012 book Leading from Behind, reported that according to a Joint Special Operations Command source, Obama, at the urging of advisor Valerie Jarrett, had actually canceled the operation to kill bin Laden on three separate occasions before finally approving the May 2, 2011 mission.
Obama Says He Would Have Tried Bin Laden in Civilian Court if Captured Alive
On October 3, 2012, The Hillreported that according to Obama, bin Laden, had he been captured alive, would have been sent to a civilian U.S. court for a criminal trial. Obama was quoted as having said: “We worked through the legal and political issues that would have been involved, and Congress and the desire to send him to Guantánamo, and to not try him, and Article III…. I mean, we had worked through a whole bunch of those scenarios. But, frankly, my belief was if we had captured him, that I would be in a pretty strong position, politically, here, to argue that displaying due process and rule of law would be our best weapon against al Qaeda, in preventing him from appearing as a martyr.”
Obama Allegedly Played Cards During Bin Laden Raid
Reggie Love, who in 2011 served as President Obama's special assistant and personal aide -- commonly referred to as the "body man" entrusted with taking care of the president's most immediate needs -- later stated publicly that he and Obama had played cards during the bin Laden raid. Said Love: “Most people were like down in the Situation Room and [President Obama] was like, ‘I’m not going to be down there, I can’t watch this entire thing,’ We must have played 15 games of spades."
Obama Lied About Certain Details Regarding the Bin Laden Killing
In May 2015, the Pulitzer Prize winning, left-wing investigative journalist Seymour Hersh wrote a 10,000-word piece in the London Review of Books accusing President Obama of lying about the raid that killed bin Laden. Specifically, Hersh said that Obama, for purely political reasons, rushed to publicly announce the raid over the objections of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and other high-ranking officials. Wrote Hersh: "Obama’s speech was put together in a rush, the retired official said, and was viewed by his advisers as a political document, not a message that needed to be submitted for clearance to the national security bureaucracy. This series of self-serving and inaccurate statements would create chaos in the weeks following."
To emphasize how distressed Gates was by Obama's decision to take immediate credit for the bin Laden killing, Hersh quoted the following passage from Gates' book, Duty:
"That we killed him, I said, is all we needed to say. Everybody in that room agreed to keep mum on details. That commitment lasted about five hours. The initial leaks came from the White House and CIA. They just couldn’t wait to brag and to claim credit. The facts were often wrong… Nonetheless the information just kept pouring out. I was outraged and at one point, told the national security adviser, Tom Donilon, ‘Why doesn’t everybody just shut the fuck up?’ To no avail."
Added Hersh: "Gates wasn’t the only official who was distressed by Obama’s decision to speak without clearing his remarks in advance, the retired official said, ‘but he was the only one protesting. Obama didn’t just double-cross Gates, he double-crossed everyone."
Hersh also refuted the Obama administration's claim that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) had not been told of the raid in advance. "This is false," said Hersh, "as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account."