9/11 ten years later: they’re still trying to kill us

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**Posted by Phineas

With the tenth anniversary of the September 11th atrocities coming tomorrow, there’s reasonable fear that Al Qaeda could attempt an attack in New York or elsewhere in the US for their own “celebrations.”

But don’t think they or other jihadist groups have been quiet in the meantime, just waiting for an anniversary to strike us. Far from it, for they see it as their religious duty to attack us. As this chart from the Heritage Foundation shows, there have been at least 40 domestic terror plotsan average of four per year— foiled since September 11th, 2001:

(Click here for a larger vesion.)

Never forget, and always be on guard. They’re still trying to kill us.

via The Jawa Report

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Call the Wahmbulance: Think Progress lies, claim Bush “taking credit” for killing OBL

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Yes, ladies and gents. Bush hatred is still alive and well.  They won’t let it rest.  Even on the eve eve of a very solemn date in our nation’s history.

Just two days before the 10th anniversary of 9-11, the USA Today has published an interview they recently did with our former President in which he talked about his memories of 9-11, and made no apologies for the counterterrorism decisions he and his administration made in its aftermath.   Here are excerpts and their context (bolded emphasis added by me): 

DALLAS – A decade after the terrorist attacks that defined his presidency, George W. Bush said he doesn’t regret any decisions he made after 9/11, including the war with Iraq and the use of controversial interrogation techniques that some considered torture.

Asked if he believes those polices — including the USA Patriot Act, which widened government access to Americans’ communications and records — prevented another attack, he said, “Yes, I do.”

[…]

Bush said the events that led to the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May began during his administration.

“The work that was done by intelligence communities during my presidency was part of putting together the puzzle that enabled us to see the full picture of how bin Laden was communicating and eventually where he was hiding,” he said. “It began the day after 9/11.”

Of course, to the morons and chronic liars at “Think Progress” and other infamously dishonest liberal blogs, Bush’s comments giving credit to the intelligence community  for beginning to put the pieces of the puzzle together during his administration thanks, in part, to counterterrorism tactics he authorized that would later help lead to the termination of Public Enemy Number One equates to Bush “giving himself a pat on the back” for the taking out of OBL.  Here’s the shamelessly false headline at TP:  Bush Credits ‘The Work That Was Done’ During ‘My Presidency’ For Osama Bin Laden’s Death.    They quoted the same part of the USA Today piece that I did.  The Think Progress response to Bush’s remarks starts out like this:

The reality, of course, is that Bush’s attempts to capture or kill bin Laden were huge failures. While it’s been well documented that the Bush administration missed an opportunity to get bin Laden in Tora Bora in 2001, Bush himself subsequently stated publicly that he wasn’t spending much time thinking about getting him. “I truly am not that concerned about him. I am deeply concerned about Iraq,” Bush said in 2002, “I really just don’t spend that much time on him, to be honest with you.” Bush told reporters in 2006 that hunting the al Qaeda leader was “not a top priority use of American resources.”

They go on a bit more into outer space from that, insinuating that the painstaking research and intelligence gathered during Bush’s tenure played no role whatsoever in the tracking down and eventual killing of OBL on Obama’s watch.   How do they come to this brilliant conclusion? Why, because their savior Rambama  supposedly ordered a “renewed focus” on finding OBL shortly after taking office.  Again, from TP:

Soon after he took office, President Obama steered the U.S. on a course to end the war in Iraq and put resources back into finding bin Laden. “Shortly after I got into office,” Obama said in an interview after bin Laden’s death, “I brought [then-CIA director] Leon Panetta privately into the Oval Office and I said to him, ‘We need to redouble our efforts in hunting bin Laden down. And I want us to start putting more resources, more focus, and more urgency into that mission.’”

Think Progress and other liberals rags are certainly entitled to their own opinions, but they are NOT entitled to their own “facts” – especially not over an issue as important and “controversial” as the aggressive interrogation techniques used during the Bush administration, techniques that they drew and quartered both Bush and our intelligence agencies over, techniques that directly led to our Navy Seals taking out OBL.  As was reported not long after it happened (bolded emphasis added by me):

Oh, how sweet it is:

WASHINGTON – Officials say CIA interrogators in secret overseas prisons developed the first strands of information that ultimately led to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Current and former U.S. officials say that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, provided the nom de guerre of one of bin Laden’s most trusted aides. The CIA got similar information from Mohammed’s successor, Abu Faraj al-Libi. Both were subjected to harsh interrogation tactics inside CIA prisons in Poland and Romania.

There’s conflicting information on where KSM and al-Libi gave up the information. The AP insinuates above that the information on the courier came as a result of enhanced interrogation tactics used on them by the CIA in Poland and Romania. ABC News’ Brian Ross, however, reports that the info was learned via EITs used on the two of them at Gitmo:

And the trail that ultimately led U.S. forces to Bin Laden may have begun with another 9/11 plotter who is now in U.S. custody, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad.

Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, central to both the 9/11 plot and the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl, was captured by U.S. forces and taken to Guantanamo. In 2007, U.S. officials who were interrogating Guantanamo detainees finally learned the real name of a former Khalid Sheikh Muhammad protégé who had become an important confidante of Abu Faraj al Libi. Al Libi was captured in 2005 and also taken to Guantanamo.

Guantanamo detainees identified the courier who had worked with both KSM and Al Libi as someone who was probably trusted by Bin Laden. Al Libi had actually lived in Abbottabad in 2003, according to his detainee file.

In 2007, U.S. officials learned the courier’s real name. In 2009, they located his region of operation and began tracking him.

Not only that, but here was Bush’s official statement, issued shortly after he learned of OBL’s demise :

Former President George W. Bush congratulated President Obama and the members of the military after learning that the U.S. has successfully killed Usama bin Laden.

“This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001,” Bush said in a statement. “The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message:  No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.”

Wow, now that really sounds like arrogant self-backpatting, doesn’t it? /sarc

And the proof of all proof that Bush-era counterterrorism measures helped lead to OBL’s eventual death came once it became clear just how desperately the Obama administration wanted to quickly “move on” from the debate on whether or not the “controversial” tactics did in fact aid those efforts.  To them the debate was, of course, a “distraction“:

The chain of clues that led to the Abbottabad compound where Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. special forces early Monday began with human intelligence. Senior administration officials have said key members of bin Laden’s inner-circle were flagged by post-9/11 detainees under interrogation, and that has raised an inescapable question: Did the chain begin with information gleaned from “enhanced interrogation” or waterboarding, the Bush-era technique President Obama and CIA chief Leon Panetta have decried as torture?

The White House insists that not only is the answer unknowable, but ultimately moot. “It’s impossible to know whether information obtained by [Enhanced Interrogation Techniques] could have been obtained by other forms of interrogation,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor tells TIME. “I think this is a distraction from the broader picture, which is that this achievement was the result of years of painstaking work by our intelligence community that drew from multiple sources.”

[…]

The Obama administration is steering clear of anything declarative. Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters Tuesday that he simply doesn’t know whether EITs could have yielded vital intelligence. “There was a mosaic of sources that lead to the identification of the people,” he said. And the White House is prepared to press the “mosaic” case aggressively.

“Multiple detainees have given us insights into networks of people who might have been close to Bin Laden. And beyond detainee reporting, solid information derived from other sources over many years ultimately helped solve an incredibly complex puzzle,” Vietor says. “The bottom line is this: If we had some kind of smoking gun intelligence from waterboarding in 2003, we would have taken out Osama bin Laden in 2003. So this argument just doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

Gee, that whole “distraction” argument sounds familiar.  It usually comes up whenever our Dear Leader is facing a question and/or an issue he doesn’t want to talk about.

Facts are fascinating things, aren’t they?  Too bad liberals find them inconvenient to their “Obama is a savior, Bush was a fascist dictator” narrative, isn’t it?

And, I find it terribly amusing that 3 years into Obama’s administration,  diehard liberals – including Obama himself –  are still blaming the failing economy on what was “inherited” from President Bush, yet when it comes to the finding and killing of Osama bin Laden, the exact opposite is “truth” to them:  Nothing, no intelligence gathered, no information eventually gleaned after the use of “controversial” techniques, “secret prisons”, etc during the Bush era was used under the Obama administration.  In other words, Obama did not “inherit” the intelligence information gathered during Bush’s tenure that helped pave the path to OBL’s death.

I’ve discovered, and not recently, that there really is only one thing consistent about liberals: The issue of being consistently inconsistent – and untruthful.  Case in point …

9/11 ten years later: F-16 pilots were ready to ram Flight 93

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**Posted by Phineas

All I can say is… wow:

As remarkable as it seems now, there were no armed aircraft standing by and no system in place to scramble them over Washington. Before that morning, all eyes were looking outward, still scanning the old Cold War threat paths for planes and missiles coming over the polar ice cap.

“There was no perceived threat at the time, especially one coming from the homeland like that,” says Col. George Degnon, vice commander of the 113th Wing at Andrews. “It was a little bit of a helpless feeling, but we did everything humanly possible to get the aircraft armed and in the air. It was amazing to see people react.”

Things are different today, ­Degnon says. At least two “hot-cocked” planes are ready at all times, their pilots never more than yards from the cockpit.

A third plane hit the Pentagon, and almost at once came word that a fourth plane could be on the way, maybe more. The jets would be armed within an hour, but somebody had to fly now, weapons or no weapons.

“Lucky, you’re coming with me,” barked Col. Marc Sasseville.

They were gearing up in the pre-flight life-support area when Sasseville, struggling into his flight suit, met her eye.

“I’m going to go for the cockpit,” Sasseville said.

She replied without hesitating.

“I’ll take the tail.”

It was a plan. And a pact.

I’ll point out that “Lucky” was Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney, one of America’s first female combat pilots. She was later part of the fighter escort that guarded Air Force One when Bush returned to Washington. This article is one of the first interviews she’s given since that day.

Historian Victor Davis Hanson has often written of the selfless valor and determination of the free citizen-soldier of a republic, as opposed to the slaves of kings and dictators; the pact made by Col. Sasseville and Lt. Penney on September 11th, 2001, is yet another example

No more commentary is necessary. Just read the whole thing.

via The Jawa Report

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Missed opportunities: tapping the Taliban’s lines before 9/11

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**Posted by Phineas

Here’s a bombshell from late last week that was lost in all the brouhaha over the debt agreement and S&P’s downgrade of US debt. In the last years of the Clinton administration and the early months of Bush’s, we had a golden chance to tap Afghanistan’s cell-phone networks, probably including their communications with their al Qaeda guests, because we would have built it for them:

Vanity Fair contributing editor David Rose reveals for the first time that in 1999 the Taliban had granted license to an American company, Afghan Wireless Communications, to construct a cell-phone, and, Internet system in Afghanistan. Had the secret deal, named Operation Foxden, been completed, the U.S. would have had complete access to al-Qaeda and Taliban calls and e-mails in a matter of months. “The capability we would have had would have been very good,” a former N.S.A. official tells Rose. “Had this network been built with the technology that existed in 2000, it would have been a priceless intelligence asset.” But, as Rose reports, “at the critical moment, the Clinton administration put the project on hold, while rival U.S. agencies—the F.B.I., the N.S.A., and the C.I.A.—bickered over who should control it.” This “was one tool we could have put in Afghanistan that could have made a difference,” says a former C.I.A. official. “Why didn’t we put it in?

Click through for the rather “colorful” answer.

The upshot is that a businessman who both had excellent relations with the Taliban and was an FBI source had secured a contract to build a wireless network for Afghanistan, and with the components added by US intelligence, we would have had unparalleled access to their cellular and satellite calls, with the operations run out of Fort Meade. Sweet, right? With this kind of access, we might well have leaned about 9/11 in time to stop it.

So what went wrong?

As the article makes clear, the program fell victim to both inter- and intra-agency bureaucratic chest-thumping, including an effort to squeeze out the British (Some British investors were involved, and they presumably had MI-6 backing.) because everyone was fighting over who would control it.

On top of that, the Clinton administration had issued an executive order prohibiting Americans from doing business in Afghanistan, a development that affected the FBI “asset” who had signed the contract. I find it mind-boggling that, as far as I can tell, Clinton a) apparently had no idea of a major intelligence operation against our avowed enemies and that b) no one went to him to argue or could convince him that a quiet exception needed to be made in this case.

Seriously. Did no one tell the President of the United States? 

This reminds me of the various bureaucratic frictions so amply documented in the 9/11 commission’s report, including the infamous Gorelick wall against intelligence sharing. Hidebound bureaucracy was one of our weakest links leading up to 9/11, and this news is another big example.

via Eli Lake

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

In response to Bush’s 9/11 reax, teens show more maturity than liberals

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It amazes me to this day how liberals still moan and groan about President Bush’s immediate reaction to learning the Twin Towers had been attacked. Bush has said more than once that the reason he kept his cool was because he didn’t want to jump up and scare the kids in the Florida classroom he was visiting. Liberals like this idiot have insisted for years that his reaction was not befitting of a CIC who had just found out his nation had come under attack. Some of the kids who were in the classroom that day believed otherwise:

“The president he just sat there, and his face — he just went dead,” says Jaimie, who was among the second graders in the classroom where President Bush learned of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Jamie’s one of the kids featured in Nickelodeon’s Linda Ellerbee news special, “What Happened?: The story of September 11, 2001,” which debuts Sept. 1.

But, that president, George W. Bush, gets a few days jump on Jamie to defend his apparent facial blankness, on National Geographic Channel’s “George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview,” premiering Aug. 28. It was, he says in that special, a conscious decision to project calmness.

The two shows are among a slew of programs across the TV landscape that will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Towers and Pentagon. Ellerbee and Peter Schnall, producer of the Bush interview, came to Summer TV Press Tour 2011 to talk about their specials.

Bush’s reaction in the classroom on that day, when news of a second plane hitting the World Trade Center was whispered in his ear, was caught on videotape has been sometimes used to ridicule him. Jamie’s reaction to Bush’s expression is just one of the comments made by kids on the Nick special, including Sarah, whose sister was a passenger on hijacked United Airlines Flight 93, and another girl who says she heard 9/11 never happened.

Time Magazine did a story back in May on the children who were in the classroom with Bush on that fateful day and here’s what they had to say now:

Seven-year-olds can’t understand what Islamic terrorism is all about. But they know when an adult’s face is telling them something is wrong — and none of the students sitting in Sandra Kay Daniels’ class at Emma E. Booker Elementary School that morning can forget the devastating change in Bush’s expression when White House chief of staff Andrew Card whispered the terrible news of the al-Qaeda attack. Lazaro Dubrocq’s heart started racing because he assumed they were all in trouble — with no less than the Commander in Chief — but he wasn’t sure why. “In a heartbeat, he leaned back and he looked flabbergasted, shocked, horrified,” recalls Dubrocq, now 17. “I was baffled. I mean, did we read something wrong? Was he mad or disappointed in us?”

[…]

Similar fears started running through Mariah Williams’ head. “I don’t remember the story we were reading — was it about pigs?” says Williams, 16. “But I’ll always remember watching his face turn red. He got really serious all of a sudden. But I was clueless. I was just 7. I’m just glad he didn’t get up and leave, because then I would have been more scared and confused.” Chantal Guerrero, 16, agrees. Even today, she’s grateful that Bush regained his composure and stayed with the students until The Pet Goat was finished. “I think the President was trying to keep us from finding out,” says Guerrero, “so we all wouldn’t freak out.”

[…]

One thing the students would like to tell Bush’s critics — like liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, whose 2004 documentary Fahrenheit 911 disparaged Bush for lingering almost 10 minutes with the students after getting word that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center — is that they think the President did the right thing. “I think he was trying to keep everybody calm, starting with us,” says Guerrero. Dubrocq agrees: “I think he was trying to protect us.” Booker Principal Gwendolyn Tose-Rigell, who died in 2007, later insisted, “I don’t think anyone could have handled it better. What would it have served if [Bush] had jumped out of his chair and ran out of the room?”

Indeed.

I think he made the right call then, and again and again in the months after the attacks of September 11. Even most on the left agreed, at least in the immediate aftermath of the horrific terror attacks on our soil that Bush performed admirably. But time has seen that opinion on the left wither. Even today they still talk about Bush’s alleged failure to “act decisively” in the ten minutes after he’d learned we’d been attacked, even though there is virtually no dispute that he indeed did just that in the weeks and months that followed as a shocked America looked for vengeance and retribution.

It says alot – and none of it good – about today’s liberals that the kids who were in that classroom, now teenagers, can show more poise and maturity about this issue than many on the left. Then again, there are so many issues out there where the left displays similar juvenile behavior (like anything pertaining to race, for example), so I shouldn’t really be too surprised …

Meet Rambama – the Obama SEAL Team 6 action figure doll

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This is NOT the story I wanted to start out my morning reading:

Navy SEALs have become national heroes since news broke that they took down Osama bin Laden, so it’s fitting that the newest action figure from a Connecticut company is a fierce-looking President Barack Obama as a SEAL.

The minute Obama said late on the night of May 1 that the U.S. had found and killed bin Laden, Emil Vicale knew which his action figure company’s would make next — Rambama.

On Wednesday morning, Hero Builders released the Obama SEAL Team 6 action figure — a muscular President in fatigues armed with an M1-A4.

Vicale, who owns the custom action figure company in Oxford, said the speech was a pivotal moment in the Obama presidency.

It was also a parallel to the speech that inspired the company in the first place almost 10 years earlier.

On Sept. 14, 2001, Vicale listened to then-President George Bush’s bullhorn speech from Ground Zero and was inspired to create Hero Builders.

As Bush stood there, with an arm around the shoulder of a New York City firefighter, Vicale saw what he thought was the first moment that Bush fit into his shoes as president.

“I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you and the people who knocked these building down will hear all of soon,” Bush said as New Yorkers chanted “U.S.A.”

Nothing about this doll fits the man who inspired it (make sure to take a look at the picture at the link above).  For one thing, as we all know President Obama doesn’t have a particular fondness for guns, firearms – or, well, anything you’d use for self-defense outside of pepper spray.   True, he did give the authorization to take out OBL – which some in the administration have tried to ridiculously paint as ‘just as courageous’ as the SEAL team that actually did the deed, but the ‘risks’ he took by making that decision did not involve putting his life on the line.  So, please, let’s keep things in perspective.  Secondly, this doll makes him look like a fierce, devoted war hero of sorts when in reality he’s staunchly anti-war.   Thirdly, it shows Obama bulked up – in fatigues.  The only thing bulked up about our celebrity President is his massive ego.  And the only thing fatigued are the growing number of Americans who are fed up with this administration’s agenda.

That said, God bless Mr. Vicale for his obvious patriotism. He might be more than a little off with the creation of the Obaam SEAL Team 6 doll, but you can’t deny that his heart is in the right place.

Thiessen: US EITs were used to ‘elicit cooperation’ rather than gain intelligence

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In light of all the back and forth that has taken place in the aftermath of the bin Laden termination, specifically the renewed debate on the effectiveness of aggressive interrogations, Bush-era administration official and counterterrorism expert Marc Thiessen explains in a great column in the Washington Post what the enhanced interrogation techniques used by US intelligence agencies were actually designed to do (bolded emphasis added by me):

Already, critics are desperately trying to play down the CIA interrogation program’s role in the bin Laden operation. Many are pointing to an Associated Press report that KSM “did not discuss al-Kuwaiti while being subjected to the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, former officials said. He acknowledged knowing him many months later under standard interrogation, they said, leaving it once again up for debate as to whether the harsh technique was a valuable tool or an unnecessarily violent tactic.”

This statement demonstrates ignorance of how CIA interrogations worked. Interrogators would never have asked about the names of couriers during waterboarding. As I explain in my book, “Courting Disaster,” enhanced techniques were not used to gain intelligence; they were used to elicit cooperation. According to former CIA director Mike Hayden, as enhanced techniques were applied, CIA interrogators would ask detainees questions to which the interrogators already know the answers — allowing them to judge whether the detainees had reached a level of compliance. “They are designed to create a state of cooperation, not to get specific truthful answers to a specific question,” Hayden said.

Once interrogators determined a terrorist had become cooperative, the techniques stopped and traditional, non-coercive methods of questioning were used. Moreover, the use of enhanced techniques wasn’t needed for two-thirds of the detainees in CIA custody.  Just the experience of being brought into CIA custody — the “capture shock,” arrival at a sterile location, the isolation, the fact that they did not know where they were and that no one else knew they were there — was enough to persuade most of them to cooperate.

Thanks to President Obama, this program, which helped lead us to bin Laden, is no longer part of America’s counterterrorism arsenal. Indeed, outside of the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, there have been no reported U.S. detentions of high-value terrorists since Obama took office. Earlier this year, Umar Patek, the highest-ranking terrorist captured alive at this point in the Obama administration, was taken into custody by Pakistani authorities. Patek had traveled from Southeast Asia to Abbottabad — the same place where bin Laden was hiding. Coincidence? What was Patek doing in Abbottabad? With whom did he meet and what did they discuss? He should be in CIA custody answering such questions.

Absolutely, but that’s something this administration will never admit.  President Bush took a lot of bashing during his 8 years in office over his reluctance to admit mistakes, but President Obama – unsurprisingly – has pretty much gotten a pass on that same reluctance.  Bush eventually admitted he made mistakes with respect to post-war Iraq, wishing there were things he had done differently, lamenting the fact that there were people in his inner circle who he should have listened to but didn’t. 

On the other hand, grave, deadly mistakes in judgment by our celebrity President date back for years, most notably in 2008 over his outright refusal as the Democrat nominee for President to admit that the surge in Iraq – which he strongly opposed as a junior Senator from Illinois – had resulted in less violence in Iraq, which greatly aided in paving the way for civil, structural, and political progress.  This, too, is yet another example of this President’s absolute shameless hypocrisy and self-serving posturing and grandstanding.  He and his administration have been taking credit for the progress made in Iraq over the last few years when more or less all they have done is presided over the natural course of events that have taken place as a result of the success of the surge that President Bush authorized and put into place – a surge Bush once opposed but came around to support, and eventually implement.  This is what effective, mature leaders do.  They learn from their mistakes, try to make up for them, and move forward –  hoping for the best outcome.

Sadly, our current President is not that kind of leader – not that we didn’t know this well before he was elected to the WH, of course.  No doubt President Obama will finish out his first term – and if elected again, his second – without ever admitting that the most significant, high value, much-sought-after enemy termination in modern US history, if ever, came in part as a direct result of the use of aggressive counterterrorism techniques in secured overseas facilities – both of which he strongly condemned on both ideological and so-called “principled” grounds going back to his time in the Illinois state senate.  Yet, as recent history has shown us, while he openly denounces Bush’s wartime and counterterrorism policies, Obama surely has not minded reaping the rewards that have come of them.   What does this tell us about the character of the “leader of the free world”?  Quite a bit – none of it good.

In light of all this, it makes sense that President Bush decided against accepting President Obama’s invitation to join him today at Ground Zero, especially if this news story is accurate (hat tip):

WASHINGTON – George W. Bush won’t be at Ground Zero with President Obama Thursday in part because he feels his team is getting short shrift in the decade-long manhunt for Osama Bin Laden.

“[Bush] viewed this as an Obama victory lap,” a highly-placed source told the Daily News Wednesday.

Bush’s visit to the rubble after the 9/11 attacks was the emotional high point of his presidency, but associates say the invitation to return with his successor was a non-starter.

“He doesn’t feel personally snubbed and appreciates the invitation, but Obama’s claiming all the credit and a lot of other people deserve some of it,” the source added.

“Obama gave no credit whatsoever to the intelligence infrastructure the Bush administration set up that is being hailed from the left and right as setting in motion the operation that got Bin Laden. It rubbed Bush the wrong way.”

Bush spokesman David Sherzer said Bush “appreciated the invite, but has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight.”

Associates familiar with his thinking say Bush does not believe Obama or his handlers wanted to exploit his presence. But the tag-team idea “was for the benefit of Obama, and Obama withheld credit from people Bush believes deserved it,” a source said.

Can’t say as I blame W.  He’s been a post-presidential class act all the way.  The guy who took his place, on the other hand, well, unfortunately – that’s a different matter altogether.

White House: Debate over EITs a “distraction from the broader picture”

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Obama’s favorite word rears its ugly head once again:

The chain of clues that led to the Abbottabad compound where Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. special forces early Monday began with human intelligence. Senior administration officials have said key members of bin Laden’s inner-circle were flagged by post-9/11 detainees under interrogation, and that has raised an inescapable question: Did the chain begin with information gleaned from “enhanced interrogation” or waterboarding, the Bush-era technique President Obama and CIA chief Leon Panetta have decried as torture?

The White House insists that not only is the answer unknowable, but ultimately moot. “It’s impossible to know whether information obtained by [Enhanced Interrogation Techniques] could have been obtained by other forms of interrogation,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor tells TIME. “I think this is a distraction from the broader picture, which is that this achievement was the result of years of painstaking work by our intelligence community that drew from multiple sources.”

[…]

The Obama administration is steering clear of anything declarative. Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters Tuesday that he simply doesn’t know whether EITs could have yielded vital intelligence. “There was a mosaic of sources that lead to the identification of the people,” he said. And the White House is prepared to press the “mosaic” case aggressively.

“Multiple detainees have given us insights into networks of people who might have been close to Bin Laden. And beyond detainee reporting, solid information derived from other sources over many years ultimately helped solve an incredibly complex puzzle,” Vietor says. “The bottom line is this: If we had some kind of smoking gun intelligence from waterboarding in 2003, we would have taken out Osama bin Laden in 2003. So this argument just doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

What a deceitful load of crap! That argument is not that the code name for the courier who eventually led the US to bin Laden came as a direct result of KSM’s 2003 waterboarding. What people are saying is that over time – which various news reports bear out – while KSM was in US custody in either an evil “secret prison” or the “unconstitutional” Gitmo, that the information was gleaned over a period of time, possibly under threat of another waterboarding, and most assuredly it came after one of a series of rounds of very aggressive interrogating – and not just of KSM but Abu Faraj al Libi as well.

The Obama administration, including their “spokesmen”, want people to believe that Islamofascist thugs at all levels will give up crucial information merely when “standard” interrogation techniques are used. I take that back – that’s what they’re hoping people believe as they’d prefer nothing more than for the American people to be in the dark on any number of issues because that would mean that the administration would be questioned less. The undisputable fact is that Islamic fanatics live to DIE for their “cause.” Being a martyr is the name of the game. Yeah, they want to take out as many “infidels” as possible, but they don’t mind if they go out with them, because not only do they think it will it bring “honor” to their Islamic families, but also because they believe virgins are awaiting them in Allah’s “heaven.”

Nope, these guys don’t give up information easily, which is the main reason EITs were authorized for use. The Obama administration will forever refuse to admit their gross error in judgement on the issue of President Bush’s more “controversial” counterterrorism policies, and they have good reason to. Obama’s approval ratings, prior to the OBL kill, were tanking. As a result of the news of OBL’s demise, Obama’s ratings have risen 9 points. The administration understandably wants to ride that wave into Campaign 2012 as opposed to being “distracted” by the fact that the very victory that they can credit with the surge in approval ratings was enabled, in part, thanks to the Bush doctrine policies they and their fellow liberals swore up and down were absolutely, positively not conducive to obtaining valuable, actionable intelligence.

To modify a quote from someone pretty famous, if the Obama administration is counting on conservatives to be passive in this debate, they’ve counted wrong. Very wrong.

Blame Bush: Tactics vilified by liberals paved the way for eventual OBL kill

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Oh, how sweet it is:

WASHINGTON – Officials say CIA interrogators in secret overseas prisons developed the first strands of information that ultimately led to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Current and former U.S. officials say that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, provided the nom de guerre of one of bin Laden’s most trusted aides. The CIA got similar information from Mohammed’s successor, Abu Faraj al-Libi. Both were subjected to harsh interrogation tactics inside CIA prisons in Poland and Romania.

There’s conflicting information on where KSM and al-Libi gave up the information. The AP insinuates above that the information on the courier came as a result of enhanced interrogation tactics used on them by the CIA in Poland and Romania. ABC News’ Brian Ross, however, reports that the info was learned via EITs used on the two of them at Gitmo:

And the trail that ultimately led U.S. forces to Bin Laden may have begun with another 9/11 plotter who is now in U.S. custody, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad.

Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, central to both the 9/11 plot and the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl, was captured by U.S. forces and taken to Guantanamo. In 2007, U.S. officials who were interrogating Guantanamo detainees finally learned the real name of a former Khalid Sheikh Muhammad protégé who had become an important confidante of Abu Faraj al Libi. Al Libi was captured in 2005 and also taken to Guantanamo.

Guantanamo detainees identified the courier who had worked with both KSM and Al Libi as someone who was probably trusted by Bin Laden. Al Libi had actually lived in Abbottabad in 2003, according to his detainee file.

In 2007, U.S. officials learned the courier’s real name. In 2009, they located his region of operation and began tracking him.

AllahPundit tries to piece everything together:

One U.S. official, speaking to the LA Times, noted drily, “That took years and these guys don’t give it up all willingly.” So much for the canard that enhanced interrogation never, under any circumstances, yields useful information. I’m trying to get the timeline straight, though. Apparently, sometime between 2002 and 2007, KSM and/or al-Libi revealed the courier’s pseudonym to the CIA while at a secret prison; then, four years ago, the CIA finally figured out the courier’s real name, which was the first big break in tracking him to Bin Laden’s door. The NYT, however, says that the CIA got the courier’s pseudonym from detainees at Gitmo. Maybe they corroborated the info gleaned from KSM and al-Libi at the black sites, or vice versa? Bear in mind too that al-Libi wasn’t one of the three high-value detainees who were waterboarded. He coughed up the courier’s name after some sort of lesser enhanced interrogation, and not until we have a precise timeline on KSM will we know exactly when in the process he gave them the name. Dick Cheney phoned into Fox this afternoon to talk about the role of EIT in this and said, while he assumes that it helped, he’ll have to wait for more details to know for sure.

I think it’s pretty clear that years of effective policy, hard work, tireless devotion and dedication, and in some cases ultimate sacrifice, led us to this great moment.  Extremely useful information was extracted from high value detainees using some of the very “controversial techniques” the left wanted – and eventually had – outlawed.   Had the left had their way early on, would we have known about OBL’s trusted courier?  Maybe, but it probably would have taken a lot longer.

Mark Hemingway pours it on the Bush-hating left with more information about the extraordinairy team involved in the termination of OBL:

It’s been reported that bin Laden was killed by SEAL Team Six, officially known as Naval Special Warfare Development Group or DevGru. Marc Ambinder has a good report that fills in some of the particulars:

DevGru belongs to the Joint Special Operations Command, an extraordinary and unusual collection of classified standing task forces and special-missions units. They report to the president and operate worldwide based on the legal (or extra-legal) premises of classified presidential directives. Though the general public knows about the special SEALs and their brothers in Delta Force, most JSOC missions never leak. We only hear about JSOC when something goes bad (a British aid worker is accidentally killed) or when something really big happens (a merchant marine captain is rescued at sea), and even then, the military remains especially sensitive about their existence. Several dozen JSOC operatives have died in Pakistan over the past several years. Their names are released by the Defense Department in the usual manner, but with a cover story — generally, they were killed in training accidents in eastern Afghanistan. That’s the code.

Under Bush, JSOC was routinely smeared by the left and placed at the center of many Bush/Cheney conspiracy theories. Specifically, New Yorker reporter Seymour Hersh alleged it was Dick Cheney’s personal assassination squad:

[…]

Now that a Democratic President has employed JSOC to take out Osama bin Laden, will the fever swamps of the Left continue to assert that it’s just a Bush/Cheney plot to run around unjustifiably killing people?

My co-blogger was correct to point out earlier that Pakistan had some explaining to do.  But I’d like to add the left to the list of people who have some explaining to do, considering the were  desperate to see Bush/Cheney do the perp walk for alleged “war crimes” committed while in office, specifically as it related not just to Abu Ghraib, but also as it related to President Bush’s authorization of EITs (including waterboarding) as well his reviled Gitmo/”secret prisons” policy.  As you’ll remember,  useful idiots both home and abroad who think breaking bread with ruthless dictators will make them see the light believed these wartime counterterrorism tactics were “unconstitutional” and “blatant attempts by the Executive Branch to seize unlimited power.”  Then-Senator Obama was one such liberal who believed that President Bush stepped way over the line with EITs – and made it clear very early on in his Presidency that the Bush way of interrogation, used by the CIA, was no longer to be used

I should also point out that this is not the first time that it has been confirmed that aggressive interrogation techniques aided the US and our allies in the global war on terror.  Former national intelligence director Adm. Dennis C. Blair admitted as much in the first few months of Obama’s presidency, as reported by the NYT at the time:

WASHINGTON – President Obama’s national intelligence director told colleagues in a private memo last week that the harsh interrogation techniques banned by the White House did produce significant information that helped the nation in its struggle with terrorists.

“High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa’ida organization that was attacking this country,” Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the intelligence director, wrote in a memo to his staff last Thursday.

Admiral Blair sent his memo on the same day the administration publicly released secret Bush administration legal memos authorizing the use of interrogation methods that the Obama White House has deemed to be illegal torture. Among other things, the Bush administration memos revealed that two captured Qaeda operatives were subjected to a form of near-drowning known as waterboarding a total of 266 times.

Admiral Blair’s assessment that the interrogation methods did produce important information was deleted from a condensed version of his memo released to the media last Thursday. Also deleted was a line in which he empathized with his predecessors who originally approved some of the harsh tactics after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“I like to think I would not have approved those methods in the past,” he wrote, “but I do not fault those who made the decisions at that time, and I will absolutely defend those who carried out the interrogations within the orders they were given.”

Not that we didn’t know that already, considering the fact that the waterboarding of KSM led to the thwarting of the 2nd LA Library Tower plot, as reported back in 2005 by the LA Times.

I’d really like to see a press conference and/or primetime interview in which Obama participates and is asked questions about the enhanced interrogation techniques used to find out the name of OBL’s courier, highly valuable information which eventually led to the killing of OBL after his refusal to surrender.  As I pointed out earlier, then-Senator Obama and other liberals were highly critical of these methods of gaining information from high level admitted terrorists , suggesting that there were “other, more principled methods” that could have been used to  produce the same information.  They were also “outraged” that the CIA would have so-called “black sites” and that President Bush had the audacity to authorize the Gitmo prison facility.  I won’t hold my breath on President Obama getting questioned on this much – if at all, though, because the MSM – in concert with left wing pundits – are too busy basking in the afterglow of the Obama victory of snagging and eliminating OBL. 

However, I wouldn’t put it past debate moderators next year to bring up the issue at the debates as a way of bringing it back to the attention of the American people that OBL was killed on Obama’s watch.  At the same time, I hope whoever the GOP candidate is will be well-informed enough to point out – in the midst of congratulating President Obama – that some of the very counterterrorism policies used to glean this information are policies that would not have been in place had Democrats like President Obama, and 2004 Democrat nominee for President John Kerry, had their way.

We shall see.

Update – 6:40 PM:  Here’s more, slightly differing info, on how the CIA learned about the courier:

In a secret CIA prison in Eastern Europe years ago, al-Qaida’s No. 3 leader, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, gave authorities the nicknames of several of bin Laden’s couriers, four former U.S. intelligence officials said. Those names were among thousands of leads the CIA was pursuing.

One man became a particular interest for the agency when another detainee, Abu Faraj al-Libi, told interrogators that when he was promoted to succeed Mohammed as al-Qaida’s operational leader he received the word through a courier. Only bin Laden would have given al-Libi that promotion, CIA officials believed.

If they could find that courier, they’d find bin Laden.

The revelation that intelligence gleaned from the CIA’s so-called black sites helped kill bin Laden was seen as vindication for many intelligence officials who have been repeatedly investigated and criticized for their involvement in a program that involved the harshest interrogation methods in U.S. history.

“We got beat up for it, but those efforts led to this great day,” said Marty Martin, a retired CIA officer who for years led the hunt for bin Laden.

Mohammed did not reveal the names while being subjected to the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, former officials said. He identified them many months later under standard interrogation, they said, leaving it once again up for debate as to whether the harsh technique was a valuable tool or an unnecessarily violent tactic.

If that’s the case, I suspect that in the back of his mind he knew he would be subjected to far harsher ITs, including waterboarding, if he didn’t divulge the information.  And what of the “black sites”?   The ABC article is yet another that mentions the “black sites” as the places where KSM and other noted detainess were questioned.  These sites were so secretive, that I have serious doubts that just “standard” questioning was used.

More details will be forthcoming in the days and weeks to come, and some intrepid writer out there will put all the pieces together and make them all fit.  But it’s more than crystal clear to me that if the left had had its way when it came to interrogation techniques, “black sites”, and Gitmo, we might not be where we are today – celebrating the elimination of the head of Al-Qaeda.

As Drudge would say, stay tuned … developing …

Dear Pakistan: you have some explaining to do — Updated!

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**Posted by Phineas

Now that the cheering has mostly quieted from last night’s news that we finally nailed Osama bin Laden, serious questions are being asked about Pakistan’s role, if any, in sheltering America’s arch-enemy. Consider this excerpt from Philip Klein’s article on how the mission went down:

Last August, intelligence officials tracked the [two couriers] to their residence in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a relatively wealthy town 35 miles north of Islamabad where many retired military officers live.

“When we saw the compound where the brothers lived, we were shocked by what we saw,” a senior administration official said.

The compound was eight times larger than any other home in the area. It was surrounded by walls measuring 12 feet to 18 feet that were topped with barbed wire. There were additional inner walls that sectioned off parts of the compound and entry was restricted by two security gates. And the residents burned their trash instead of leaving it outside for pickup. There was a three-story house on the site, with a 7-foot privacy wall on the top floor.

While the two brothers, the couriers, had no known source of income, the compound was built in 2005 and valued at $1 million. That led intelligence officials to conclude that it must have been built to hold a high-value member of Al Qaeda.

Further intelligence gathering found that there was another family who lived on the compound which had a size and makeup that matched the bin Laden members who would have most likely been with Osama.

After exploring every angle for months, they concluded that all signs pointed to this being bin Laden’s residence.

Emphases added.

So, here we have the most wanted man in the world, living comfortably with some of his family in a specially built mansion in Abbottabad(1), just a few miles from the Pakistani capital. A town that is a brigade headquarters for a Pakistani Army division and also houses a military academy.

Yet, somehow, no one noticed bin Laden was there?

In The New Yorker, Dexter Filkins asks the question that’s on a lot of people’s minds, right now:

Now that Osama is dead, the most intriguing question is this: Did any Pakistani officials help hide him?

We’re entitled to ask. Ever since 9/11—indeed, even before—Pakistan’s military and intelligence services have played a high-stakes double game. They’ve supported American efforts to kill and capture Al Qaeda fighters, and they have been lavished with billions of American dollars in return. At the same time, elements of those same military and intelligence services, particularly those inside Inter-Service Intelligence, or the I.S.I., have provided support for America’s enemies, namely the Taliban and its lethal off-shoot, the Haqqani network. American officials are fully aware of the double-game, and to say it frustrates them would be an understatement. For a decade, Pakistan’s role has been one of the great unmovable paradoxes of America’s war.

Pakistan’s double-dealing has been a dirty, semi-open secret in this war since it started. Filkins rightly points out that several high-ranking Al Qaeda operatives have been caught in Pakistani cities with Pakistani assitance and that there is no hard evidence that the ISI or other Pakistani agency was sheltering them.

But it is at the same time true that Islamist elements are strong in the ISI and Pakistani military, that Pakistan nurtured the birth of the Taliban –Al Qaeda’s ally– and has a longstanding relationship with them. Pakistan has also fostered and supported jihadist terror groups that have struck India time and again. (And also the attempted bombing of Times Square.)

So it is fair to ask just what Pakistan knew about bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad, how long they knew it, and why they didn’t tell us. We give them a boatload of money, Al Qaeda and its allies have cost us a lot of blood and treasure, and we have a right to some straight answers — now.

PS: Here are a couple of more questions to chew over: Given Pakistan’s support for numerous murderous terror groups, why are they not on the list of state-sponsors of terrorism? Islamabad seems to be giving Tehran a run for its money in that department. And now that bin Laden has gone to meet his virgin goats, do we even need Pakistan anymore?

LINKS: Diana West already has her answer. Watt’s Up With That has aerial photos of Osama’s hiding place in Abbottabad. Verum Serum has video from inside the mansion after the battle. (Gore warning.)

NOTES:

(1) “Abbottabad?” Is there a “Costelloabad,” too?

UPDATE: Bill Roggio at Threat Matrix has a very good analysis of why Pakistan was complicit in protecting Osama bin Laden. You’ll want to rad the whole thing, but I want to quote the final section that offers a very strong clue: Osama’s demonstrated confidence that he was safe:

While it is next to impossible to know the calculations made by bin Laden to shelter in a Pakistani city, it isn’t a stretch to say that he was confident enough to live in Abbottabad for an extended period of time because he felt that he, and his family, would be safe. Since his ouster from Sudan in 1996, bin Laden has been wary about entrusting his personal security to states. Yet he had to believe that there was little to no risk in sheltering in a city with a heavy military presence in a compound that gave all indications it housed a very important person. Bin Laden or his handlers had to be confident that the mansion would not be disturbed by Pakistan’s military and intelligence services. And to be confident, they must have had assurances that bin Laden would not be touched by Pakistani security forces.

Remember that the next time Pakistan comes up for foreign aid.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)