The Edmond Sun

Opinion

January 21, 2013

Book details successful bin Laden raid

EDMOND — “I am with the same one as before,” Ibrahim Saeed Ahmed said in a phone conversation in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in June 2010 that was tapped by the CIA. Ahmed was the al-Qaeda operative who served as Osama bin Laden’s courier. And as detailed in the recently published, “The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden” by Mark Bowden, that information allowed the CIA to locate the walled compound in that community in which bin Laden was living with three of his wives.

Abbottabad is an affluent suburb of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. “He can run, but he can’t hide,” President George W. Bush had said about Osama bin Laden after the al-Qaeda leader had taken credit for the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001 in a video that was distributed to his followers. But as Bowden details, bin Laden managed to escape from his base in Tora Bora in Afghanistan after the U.S. invaded that country, and he had successfully avoided capture since that time despite the fact that the U.S. State Department had promised a $25 million reward for anyone who could locate him.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd had written toward the end of the Bush presidency that bin Laden was the man who apparently could “both run and hide,” and Bowden theorizes that the Bush Administration’s focus on the war in Iraq did not leave much energy for the hunt for bin Laden.

But the pursuit of the al-Qaeda leader became a goal of the Obama Administration, and the author documents how the CIA pursued the clues that eventually led them to the compound in Abbottabad. The initial surveillance of that site revealed that it was home to Ahmed and his brother and their families as well as another family whose members included a tall man who occasionally was seen pacing in a partially covered garden adjacent to the structure in which he lived. While the two brothers occasionally left the compound the tall man never did.  

But confirmation that the individual was in fact the al-Qaeda leader would not take place until after the Navy Seals who raided the compound obtained a DNA sample from his bloody corpse. Efforts made to obtain more information regarding that family were not successful. Surveillance revealed that no trash was taken from the compound and that its refuse was burned on the grounds. The CIA contracted with a Pakistani physician to conduct free inoculations for childhood diseases for children in Abbottabad in an effort to obtain a DNA sample from the children in the compound. The author details how the doctor’s efforts were enthusiastically received by most parents in that community, and many children received inoculations as a result, but when he knocked on the gate of the site in question no one responded.

Bowden credits President Obama for his decision to authorize the raid on the compound despite the fact that several of his advisers were against it. The site was located a mile from a Pakistani military academy, and Vice President Biden worried that a raid could result in the Navy Seals having to fight members of the Pakistani military. Other high-ranking administration officials were hesitant because there was no proof that bin Laden was in the compound.

The author details that after the Navy Seals returned to the U.S. that President Obama addressed them and said that “Early on in the process I came to terms with the fact that there was always going to be a fifty-fifty case on the intelligence side. I made the decision I did because I had one hundred percent confidence in your ability. You are the finest small fighting force in the history of the world.”

WILLIAM F. O’BRIEN is an Oklahoma City attorney.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Is English getting dissed?

    Is the English language being massacred by the young, the linguistically untidy and anyone who uses the Internet? Absolutely.
    Is that anything new? Hardly.
    Many words and expressions in common parlance today would have raised the hackles of language scolds in the not-so-distant past. For evidence, let’s look at some examples from recent newspaper articles.

    July 31, 2014

  • 'Too big to fail' equals 'too eager to borrow'

    Four years ago this month, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, promising that the 848-page financial law would “put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” he said. But recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Detroit crowd that “the biggest banks are even bigger than they were when they got too big to fail in 2008.”
    Who’s right?

    July 30, 2014

  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at www.edmondsun.com show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

Poll

The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
Undecided
     View Results