Are ‘Swift Boat’ Attacks on Obama Bogus?
One former Navy SEAL featured in the film demands dramatically, “Tell the president to stop leaking information to the enemy.”
Is there any merit to these serious accusations?
In fact, Obama and his national security team made every effort — successfully — to keep the intelligence about bin Laden a closely held secret for almost a year, from the time they first identified what they believed might be the al Qaeda leader’s hideout in the city of Abbottabad, Pakistan, in August 2010 until May 1, 2011, when the raid was launched to kill him.
The raid itself was conducted as a covert operation under the overall direction of then-CIA Director Leon Panetta.
I have written a book about the hunt for bin Laden during the course of which I was the only journalist granted access by the Pakistanis inside the compound in Abbottabad where bin Laden was killed. I also spoke on the record about the hunt for bin Laden with a variety of current White House, Pentagon and intelligence officials, as well as former Defense Department and CIA officials familiar with aspects of the story.
None of them divulged classified information about the bin Laden operation. Indeed, they went to great pains to avoid doing so.
What precipitated the operation going public was not Obama’s announcement of the raid but the crash of one of the Black Hawk choppers used in the raid, which turned what had hitherto been a covert operation into a very public event.
Pakistani journalists started arriving at bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound soon after the helicopter crashed and started filing stories about the mysterious helicopter and its oddly shaped tail rotor. An Abbottabad resident even tweeted about the unusual sound of helicopters flying over the city in the middle of the night.
It wasn’t much of a leap for reporters to ascertain that these helicopters had particular features that had prevented them from being detected by Pakistani radar.
Soon after the SEALs had raided the Abbottabad command, Pakistani officials on the ground were interrogating bin Laden’s wives and children at the compound who told them that bin Laden had just been killed. None of this was going to stay secret for long.