Bin Laden was caught off guard by the Seals. He was unarmed. They shot him. They could have captured him. The government could have de-briefed him. He could have told how Al Qaeda works. He could have told how he eluded American forces in Afghanistan in late 2001, and how he evaded the searchers for almost a decade.
Dead men tell no tales.
Living men are not supposed to, either. But a Seal told the tale, and now he may be in big trouble. He made the Defense Department look bad.
Of course, Secretary Panetta did not say this: “It is crucial that nobody involved in any action tell the truth about it. That would ruin the official story.” Instead, he said this: “”Well, I think when somebody talks about the particulars of how those operations are conducted, it tells our enemies, essentially, how we operate and what we do to go after them.” Right.
Here is what is on bis mind: chatterboxes who will tell the truth in the future. This threatens the budget of the Defense Department. Congress might not be as compliant.
“I think when someone who signs an obligation that he will not reveal the secrets of this kind of operation, and then does that and doesn’t abide by the rules, that when he reveals that kind of information, it does indeed jeopardize operations and the lives of others that are involved in those operations.”
There was no jeopardizing of lies. There was jeopardizing of the story that Osama was shooting at the Seals, while hiding behind his wife. This was the account published in The Guardian on May 3, 2011.
The account of what happened in Osama bin Laden‘s final hideaway was succinct and clear when Barack Obama delivered it on Sunday, but it has become more confused in the days since, with conflicting and inaccurate accounts from the White House.
Bin Laden, according to a briefing on Monday, used his wife as a human shield and she was killed. By Tuesday, the White House reversed that: she had not been used as a human shield and she was not dead. The other point of discrepancy was the initial briefings that stated Bin Laden resisted and was killed in a “firefight”, which suggests he had been armed. The White House insisted he had resisted, without saying how, but said he had no gun.
Did the Obama administration deliberately suggest he had hidden behind his wife as part of an attempt to portray him as a cowardly figure? Did it want to suggest he was armed to avoid criticism that US forces shot dead an unarmed man? Was it just part of the fog of war, with a clear account only available when those engaged in the mission are fully debriefed?
The problem for the White House is that damage has already been done, with these discrepancies opening the way for, at the very least, future conspiracy theorists.
Obama, in his late-night statement to the White House, kept it short and simple, telling how a small team launched the operation at the compound. “After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”
Later on Sunday evening, senior US officials offered more details: “In addition to Osama bin Laden, three adult males were killed in the raid. We believe two were the couriers and the third was Bin Laden’s adult son. There were several women and children at the compound. One woman was killed when she was used as a shield by a male combatant. Two other women were injured.” No inconsistencies there.
The Pentagon briefed on Monday and one of the officials, who had been speaking on an anonymous basis, suggested for the first time that Bin Laden had used a woman as a human shield. “He and some other male combatants on the target appeared to use – certainly did use – women as shields,” the official said.
If the book is right, this was one lie after another.
All over the Web, the story was headlined: Bin Laden was unarmed, not armed, as the official story had it. The military brass was caught in a whopper. So, the Secretary of Defense is hopping mad.
When the Pentagon spins a story, it is supposed to stay spun. To unspin it, this supposedly reveals state secrets and strengthens our enemies.
“Our enemies = American voters.