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President Obama Tells Vanity Fair He Was Prepared to Have Bin Laden Tried In Federal Court

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Pete Souza/The White House



If Osama bin Laden had surrendered to the Navy SEALs, President Obama was prepared to put the al Qaeda leader on trial in a federal court, the president told journalist Mark Bowden in a November story in VANITY FAIR based on an adaptation from Bowden’s pending book THE FINISH.



“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 ,” the president told Bowden. “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.”



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The information comes along with some new details about the planning for the raid, including that Michael Morell, the head of the C.I.A.’s bin Laden team – who had been part of the wrong CIA analysis concluding that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction – thought the it was an iffier proposition that bin Laden was in the Abbotabad compound.



“I’m telling you, the case for W.M.D. wasn’t just stronger—it was much stronger,” Morell said.



Bowden also reveals another option for killing “The Pacer” – the tall man who walked inside the compound, suspected to be bin Laden — that was taken quite seriously. Suggested by Joint Chiefs Vice-Chairman General James “Hoss” Cartwright, the plan was to “wait for the tall man in the prayer cap to go for his daily walk and take a shot at him with a small missile fired from a drone. It would require great precision, but the drones had delivered that in the past.” Unlike the air option involving dropping bombs, this one would leave “no dead wives and children, no collateral damage at all,” Bowden writes. “But it was strictly a one-shot deal. If the drone missed, The Pacer and his entourage would vanish.”



Defense Secretary Bob Gates supported this plan, but was convinced he was wrong, Bowden writes, by Pentagon deputies Michael Vickers and Michele Flournoy, who’d been impressed by Admiral Bill McRaven, commander of Joint Special Operations Command, and did not share Cartwright’s faith in the drone.



Ultimately, Gates changed his mind, meaning that — per Bowden — every one of the president’s top advisers backed the plan for the SEAL assault except for Cartwright and National Counterterrorism Center director Michael Leiter, who favored the drone strike, and Vice President Joe Biden, who didn’t think the intelligence was hard enough to act yet.



And ultimately it doesn’t sound as though anyone went into that mission seriously thinking he would be captured and not killed.



Bowden’s is, per usual, a compelling and well-reported story, you can read a preview of it HERE.



Our June 2011 story on the president’s decision to give the “go” order can be read HERE.



-Jake Tapper


Added: Oct-3-2012 Occurred On: Oct-3-2012
By: BekasKhan
In:
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Tags: 9/11 Mining industry Terrorism, Afghanistan, Taliban USA, War Pakistan terrorist Punjabi ISI CIA Musad
Location: Afghanistan (load item map)
Views: 1441 | Comments: 27 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 1
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  • thankfully two rounds saved us a lot of time and money

    Posted Oct-4-2012 By 

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  • Obama was willing to try OBL, a non US citizen in an American court, yet he had an American citizen whacked in Yemen with no trial or due process.

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  • Comment of user 'DirtyUncleBerty' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • OBL got the trial he deserved. I'm glad the last thing he saw were American Navy SEALs kicking down his door and administering justice in the form of two 5.56 NATO rounds.


    ABC's Jake Tapper is one of the last of the MSM's remaining real journalists.

    Posted Oct-4-2012 By 

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  • What a frigging joke! Osama bin Laden wasn't even on the FBIs wanted list, for the 9/11 attacks, because, as the FBI stated, they didn't have enough evidence. Obama is nothing more than a big BULLSHITTER! Two big thumbs down, for that asshole!

    Posted Oct-4-2012 By 

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  • Boo hoo, he wanted him dead the whole time, who the fuck cares.

    Posted Oct-4-2012 By 

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  • Obama was ready? I'm still waiting for Nidal Hasan to go to trial. Hmm, when did the Ft. Hood shooting happen; 2009? What progress has been made on that? They're still arguing over whether he should stand trial shaven or unshaven.

    Posted Oct-4-2012 By 

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    • @knowyourlimit ....who cares when the trial occurs so long as he is locked into a tiny cell.

      Posted Oct-4-2012 By 

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    • @knowyourlimit They're afraid of what Hasan will say and what will come out in court. Hasan was tied to the Muslim Imam who was an American citizen who fled to Yemen. Obongo had that guy whacked probably to keep him from testifying.

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  • Bin Laden would have died of old age before the trial ever started. They still have a bunch of innocent guys in Guantanamo that they don't know what to do with, because a trial will prove them innocent and show how badly America has botched the whole operation.

    Posted Oct-4-2012 By 

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  • Bin Laden is a figment of the US government's imagination

    Posted Oct-4-2012 By 

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  • the bigger question where is he now and where is the proof ?

    Posted Oct-4-2012 By 

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  • These Psychopaths don't know when to quit!

    Posted Oct-4-2012 By 

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  • dont vanity fair photoshop

    Posted Oct-4-2012 By 

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  • If he was brought into a U.S. court and offered due process according to U.S. law, the case would have been instantly thrown out, he would have been released and immune to further prosecution. To not do so would set legal precedents that would destroy US civil rights as we know them.

    His Miranda rights would have been violated, and the search and arrest without a warrant would have been enough to get the case tossed.

    This one of many reasons why we don't try war criminals in federal court.

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    • @SlimeyLimey He would have never seen a court .As so many would be sidelined as to how much money was taken out of there and the how and why ,Bush would and is the one to have gained so much

      Posted Oct-4-2012 By 

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  • Bin Ladin on trial - that would have been great! Remember Saddam hanging or Quaddafi being murdered - good times, right? And a special bonus: no nutjob conspiracy theories to deal with!!

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  • I am afraid of what he might have had to say , But with Bush and the other Bush , they always seemed a bit cozy with the middle East and The Dark water from Black water that did expose alot of shit are taxes paid for , Rape to woman in our service , and money money money , and let s not forget the oil and the pipeline that the bush water was so into

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