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Panetta, Clinton and Gates "worked around" Obama on the bin Laden mission?

If this is true, it is a bombshell and will kill the luster on Obama’s new found Commander-in-Chief bona fides.

It comes from a site names "Socyberty" and is posted by someone named Ulsterman. It is from an anonymous source (a "Washington DC insider"). So all of this is suspect – stipulated. But when you read it, it all reads pretty authoritatively.

So, take it for what its worth, but it is, at least, a very interesting rumor:

Q: You stated that President Obama was “overruled” by military/intelligence officials regarding the decision to send in military specialists into the Osama Bin Laden compound. Was that accurate?

A: I was told – in these exact terms, “we overruled him.” (Obama) I have since followed up and received further details on exactly what that meant, as well as the specifics of how Leon Panetta worked around the president’s “persistent hesitation to act.” There appears NOT to have been an outright overruling of any specific position by President Obama, simply because there was no specific position from the president to do so. President Obama was, in this case, as in all others, working as an absentee president.

And, of course, it gets worse:

Q: What changed the president’s position and enabled the attack against Osama Bin Laden to proceed?

A: Nothing changed with the president’s opinion – he continued to avoid having one. Every time military and intelligence officials appeared to make progress in forming a position, Jarrett would intervene and the stalling would begin again. Hillary started the ball really rolling as far as pressuring Obama began, but it was Panetta and Petraeus who ultimately pushed Obama to finally act – sort of. Panetta was receiving significant reports from both his direct CIA sources, as well as Petraeus-originating Intel. Petraeus was threatening to act on his own via a bombing attack. Panetta reported back to the president that a bombing of the compound would result in successful killing of Osama Bin Laden, and little risk to American lives. Initially, as he had done before, the president indicated a willingness to act. But once again, Jarrett intervened, convincing the president that innocent Pakistani lives could be lost in such a bombing attack, and Obama would be left attempting to explain Panetta’s failed policy. Again Obama hesitated – this time openly delaying further meetings to discuss the issue with Panetta. A brief meeting was held at this time with other officials, including Secretary Gates and members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but Gates, like Panetta, was unable to push the president to act. It was at this time that Gates indicated to certain Pentagon officials that he may resign earlier than originally indicated – he was that frustrated. Both Panetta and Clinton convinced him to stay on and see the operation through.

So, according to this, all those “intense” meetings the White House said President Obama attended really were a lot of one side trying to get him to act and Valarie Jarrett convincing him not too.

How’d they eventually get a “go?”  That’s interesting as well (I’ve broken this into some paragraphs that aren’t in the original):

What happened from there is what was described by me as a “masterful manipulation” by Leon Panetta.  Panetta indicated to Obama that leaks regarding knowledge of Osama Bin Laden’s location were certain to get out sooner rather than later, and action must be taken by the administration or the public backlash to the president’s inaction would be “…significant to the point of political debilitation.”  It was at that time that Obama stated an on-ground campaign would be far more acceptable to him than a bombing raid.  This was intended as a stalling tactic, and it had originated from Jarrett.  Such a campaign would take both time, and present a far greater risk of failure.  The president had been instructed by Jarrett to inform Mr., Panetta that he would have sole discretion to act against the Osama Bin Laden compound. 

Jarrett believed this would further delay Panetta from acting, as the responsibility for failure would then fall almost entirely on him.  What Valerie Jarrett, and the president, did not know is that Leon Panetta had already initiated a program that reported to him –and only him, involving a covert on the ground attack against the compound.  Basically, the whole damn operation was already ready to go – including the specific team support Intel necessary to engage the enemy within hours of being given notice. 

Panetta then made plans to proceed with an on-ground assault. This information reached either Hillary Clinton or Robert Gates first (likely via military contacts directly associated with the impending mission) who then informed the other.  Those two then met with Panetta, who informed each of them he had been given the authority by the president to proceed with a mission if the opportunity presented itself.  Both Gates and Clinton warned Panetta of the implications of that authority – namely he was possibly being made into a scapegoat.  Panetta admitted that possibility, but felt the opportunity to get Bin Laden outweighed that risk.  During that meeting, Hillary Clinton was first to pledge her full support for Panetta, indicating she would defend him if necessary.  Similar support was then followed by Gates.  The following day, and with Panetta’s permission, Clinton met in private with Bill Daley and urged him to get the president’s full and open approval of the Panetta plan. 

Daley agreed such approval would be of great benefit to the action, and instructed Clinton to delay proceeding until he had secured that approval.  Daley contacted Clinton within hours of their meeting indicating Jarrett refused to allow the president to give that approval.  Daley then informed Clinton that he too would fully support Panetta in his actions, even if it meant disclosing the president’s indecision to the American public should that action fail to produce a successful conclusion.  Clinton took that message back to Panetta and the CIA director initiated the 48 hour engagement order.  At this point, the President of the United States was not informed of the engagement order – it did not originate from him, and for several hours after the order had been given and the special ops forces were preparing for action into Pakistan from their position in Afghanistan, Daley successfully kept Obama and Jarrett insulated from that order.

Again, I want to be clear – this is from a blog site I don’t know, written by someone using a handle and quoting an anonymous source.  But I also have to say that it hits me as very, very plausible.  It makes Gates, Panetta, Clinton and Daley look pretty good.  The president, on the other hand, doesn’t appear in a very good light and Jarrett comes off as a puppet master.  It also makes the not so subtle point that Obama seemed more concerned with the possible political effects of failure than actually taking the chance of getting OBL.

Anyway, this link takes you too the continuation of this information from the anonymous source from the anonymous blogger on a site I never heard of – but still, given his history, it sure seems believable, doesn’t it?



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40 Responses to Panetta, Clinton and Gates "worked around" Obama on the bin Laden mission?

  • “Ulsterman” has been getting scoops from his “white house insider” for months. I typically find them on
    I think they are well-written speculative fiction. They are a pitch perfect depiction of what a right winger with a “Obama as dithering empty suit” inclination imagines things are going down in the White House. Despite this, I find them very entertaining, if too good to be true.
    Still, it is a fine explanation for what is going on in that situation room picture. Not exactly a portrait of decisive and engaged leadership, is it?

    • Yeah, it hits me as too good to be true too, yet …

    • “Ulsterman” has been getting scoops from his “white house insider” for months.

      I’ve been reading his scoops for months now too. I find them tasty and tantalizing, but I’ve concluded they are fiction.

      It is true that the last batch of Wikileaks contained information that might have tipped Bin Laden that he had been compromised. I also have trouble imagining that Obama was eager to pull the trigger on that raid.

  • Certainly sounds like the President I’ve come to know (let’s see there’s an and phrase that’s supposed to go here, “and admire”, “and respect”, no, nope, I guess there’s not an and phrase in here after all).

  • If this is true, it would also imply that Obama is so reliable in his “give initial vague approval to avoid a fight, return to waffling before you can follow through” that this is a useful fact to manipulate him with. On the one hand, yeah, this is awfully strong on the “confirms my biases” scale… on the other hand it does fit with everything else that Obama seems to be. I mean, what’s the alternative, after decades of doing little more than running for the next office it suddenly turns out he’s a decisive and capable executive? I admit the sourcing for this may be thin but I’m not sure I find the alternative plausible. I’d already noticed that this decisive assault on Osama is utterly out of character for this White House before I read this story and had already been wondering about the back story.

    • Consider now the possibility of a “death” photo of UBL release.
      It has all the same procrastinating that were part of the original release.  I have to wonder if they think they can continue the “glow” by dragging it out with a promised “photo” that appears to always be “over the horizon” (like communism).  They did exactly that with the “birthers,” so why not do a repeat ?
      As for the sensitivities, doesn’t anybody think that killing him was insensitive enough.  After screwing with the narrative, they now even have it looking like the shot down a defenseless UBL … like a mad dog.  I don’t think the “he may have had a bomb under his clothes” story line is going to cut it.
      If they really want UBL to be forgotten, let him go.  Release the “death photo,” convincing those who can be convinced that UBL is dead, and close the bloody thing out.  Instead, they have made a political calculation that they can bask in the glow of a killing, like a KKK mob after a lynching, and somehow they can show they are “sensitive” by not releasing the bloody “photo.”  Oh, please.

  • I can recall scoffing at a cigar story about 3 months before it became public.
    Still, this IS awfully convenient.   If it just wasn’t so darned true to the character.

  • What president in his right mind, no matter how waffly, could pass up the opportunity to nail Osama? The only question here seems to have been “safely bomb the crap out of the compound, but lose the ability to prove Osama was there” or “risk an operation by commandos to definitely pop a cap in his ass and haul the body out”. Either way he should be DEAD. But it does fit the bill of someone who is totally risk-averse and not capable of putting his own career on the line for what should be a no-brainer for someone who wants to run a country.

    If this is true then yet again Clinton comes out looking like a decisive hard-ass who gets what she wants.

  • What president in his right mind, no matter how waffly, could pass up the opportunity to nail Osama?

    The US is engaged in a war in Afghanistan.  Travel to those troops and resupply of those troops by air requires Pakistani airspace or resupply by ground requires access to Afghanistan from Pakistan via the Khyber Pass.  Therefore pissing Pakistan off in an official capacity is a big risk to US forces in Afghanistan.  You know, like conducting a major military ground operation in their country without telling them might do.
    And I agree that this really sounds too good to be true.

    • Obama has written off further success in Afghanistan, so pissing off Pakistan becomes a more palatable option.

      • And anyway there are “official” ways around these inconveniences. “Yes sorry about that daring Navy Seals raid near your military school where apparently Osama has been hiding for quite a long time without you noticing, but our intel said that we had a very short window to take advantage of his location so we thought it better to take him out and clear it up with you later. After all, you DO want him dead as well, DON’T you and you HAVEN’T been hiding him, HAVE you?”

  • That guy has been writing his WH insider interviews for awhile now. They read as fake but accurate.

  • It would be interesting to learn a minority of Grima Wormtongues are responsible for the Democrats being such a useless mess.
    If its true, I want to know who her puppet master is.

  • I don’t know…this jibes with Libya, where Clinton told Sarkozy there were problems getting agreement. The final agreement on that was pretty much a non-decision, split the difference, and Libya is not a vital issue anyways.
    We also now are told Obama took 16 hours and “slept on” the decision to kill Osama.
    If you read ace, there is a dissection of “before we could open our mouths, Obama said “do it” description in the press. Sounds like they are rushing to get their version out.

  • I stand by a comment I posted a couple of days ago —
    “Obama couldn’t pick bin Laden out of a line up without a teleprompter and a score card.”
    Whether or not this story is true is one issue.
    Here’s the key question. Given everything we have learned about Obama over the past two years, which Obama is more plausible:
    a detached, dithering, indecisive Obama who outsourced all of the planning of this operation and focused solely on the political consequences of making the decision to carry out the raid
    a resolute, decisive, courageous Obama who was hands-on during the planning stage and made the decision to “take out” bin Laden because it was the right thing to do, politics be damned.

  • This is more out of someone’s “creative” mind than the “birther” fantasy.

  • I believe it so much…………..that’s why I disbelieve it.

    I need more proof than this. 

  • It  kind of explains while POTUS would be out golfing when the operation began. That’s what seems unbelievable to me. What kind of CinC would do that; it wasn’t like he hadn’t already golfed the previous 5 weekends.

  • Why no tell-all books yet?
    1) nothing to tell
    2) OMG, I can’t tell that!
    3) They are coming.

  • Like all “insider leaks”, it’s mere anecdote.
    That said, it fits what we DO KNOW so throughly.

  • Note how Panetta is being interviewed heavily now.
    He’s saying stuff that makes Bush look good.
    I bet he’s out soon enough.

  • Uh. What ya’ll said. Still, it is “Wag the Dog” scaryish because …
    That Panetta or Clinton or anyone else for that matter uses reverse psychology on Obama by saying he would be fried in the polling if word got out that he missed his shot on the artifact — that is scary and rings true — because polling is the one thing the O-ling is genuinely concerned about.

  • Ditto most other comments:

    1.  It sounds like something Captain Bullsh*t would do.  Or, more correctly, NOT do.

    2.  Anonymous sources?  PUH-leeze!  I want something firmer than this before I believe it.

    3.  Right there with Shark: “I believe it so much…………..that’s why I disbelieve it.”

    4.  MiniTru will NEVER look into this unless a pretty high-ranking official (Panetta, Hildabeast, Gates, etc.) publishes it in a book.  Even then, people will not want to believe it because, as DocD writes, what president WOULDN’T leap at the chance to get bin Fishfood?

    • Story out today that he took 16 hours to make what should have been a no-brainer decision. That plays right into this scenario.

      • Yeah, really, like waiting 16 hours would allow you to wrestle with the moral implications of something that was there from day 1 of your inauguration.
        I gather we’re supposed to respect that he took 16 hours?  Should we picture him out back of the White House in a secluded garden, a’la the biblical depiction of Jesus and the ‘Agony in the Garden’ after the last supper?
        I see him now, looking pensively towards the heavens, head back lit in a vague halo as he kneels, hands clasped tightly together and stares aloft “Oh heavenly Father, who am I to condemn this sinner…help me Father, help me know what to do”.
        A voice signs softly and sadly over the wind – “Don’t worry Barry, I knew you didn’t have it in you, so I already told Leon and Hillary how to deal with it”.

        • Not only did he know he might have to deal with this issue, he also told the CIA to make it a priority.

          • Shhhh – see that’s one of those gnawing consistent inconsistencies in stories about Dear Golfer.
            He was determined to get Bin Laden, but he hesitated for 16 hours to make a decision on an operation that he was MONTHS in planning.

            “Obama planned OBL raid for months
            May 2, 2011 4:39 PM
            The operation to raid the compound that housed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, began over seven months ago. Chip Reid reports on President Obama’s calculated victory in the war on the terror.”

            yeah – I’m even more impressed.

        • “Don’t worry Barry, I knew you didn’t have it in you, so I already told Leon and Hillary how to deal with it”.

          I love it!!  Perfectly said.

    • Healthy skepticism here…BUT…
      This would kind of explain Gates’ departure, would it not?

      • Especially after Libya, and in time for his book to affect 2012. If we get a book, you know this was true, or you know that Gates is a supremely loyal Democrat.

  • LOL!  You guys have ODS so bad you find this plausible?  Face it, Obama has buried the “he’s not a leader” and “Obama is weak and indecisive” meme the right has been trying to create, and now has to construct ridiculous anonymous “stories” and trump them as plausible to keep the effort going.  How pathetically disgusting and dishonest.  I also see you’re trying to keep up the “let’s be scared of Muslims” bit by calling the Muslim Brotherhood the equivalent of Bin Laden.
    History is rolling over you, and there’s nothing you can do about.  You’re lost in a different era, with a mindset from a different century, and reality is passing you by.

    • Nonsense. All Obama has is proving is that he is just another political hack taking credit for something he had no hand in. The efforts to find Bin Laden have been in place for ten years, long before Obama had any influence on them. All he had to do was make a yes or no decision, the correct answer to which any sane post adolescent American knew. Only someone possessing the ‘bigotry of low expectations’ would think this was an impressive act. Like  praising a sixteen year old for tying his own shoes, the praise is justified only if the sixteen year old is “developmentally disabled”.

      • Furthermore, the administration’s handling of this story is certainly nothing to brag about (although that does not seem to stop them from bragging). Perhaps we should start a pool on when the WH will get their story straight on just what exactly happened.

        Incidentally, I wouldn’t start characterizing other peoples’ sources as ridiculous if I were you. For someone who claims to have the educational and professional credentials you claim to have, your choices (and the plural is barely justified) have been comical.

    • “Obama has buried the “he’s not a leader” and “Obama is weak and indecisive” meme”
      Heh, that’s the point Scott, thank you, that’s all people like you need to turn him into a leader – you’ve outed yourself as a follower of celebrity.   You’ll accept whatever facile evidence presented and proclaim him to be as great a leader as Washington or Churchill.
      Explain to us how this makes him a leader Scott.  A trained collie dog sitting in the President’s office could have made this decision by pressing a yes/no button with his paw and the men who actually carried out the order would have been just as effective at their job and done it just as well.
      Come back in 5 weeks professor and we can discuss how nothing has changed with Bin Laden’s death, except it seemed to make a lot of people feel sorta good for an afternoon and spawned endless news analysis.
      I’m no more worried about the Muslim Brotherhood than I was Saturday, but I’m realistic about who they are, and what they intend to do – you, not so much.  You’re wrapped up in some psychobabble new world age of Aquarius thing while deluding yourself that it’s really a firm grasp on reality.
      Good of you to drop by though
      Oh, and you might want to check out your reading comprehension skills – in case you missed nearly ALL the comments on this thread – the general conclusion was it’s really really good fiction, but there’s no evidence that it’s grounded in truth.

    • Oh, SNAP, Erpy…!!!

      White House goes silent on bin Laden raid
      “Just days after one of the most heralded covert actions in U.S. history, the White House found itself struggling to tell the story of the dramatic raid and having to justify the legal basis for it.
      The conundrum mirrored problems that the Obama administration has had communicating its national security approach in the past. From the immediate aftermath of an attempted airliner bombing on Dec. 25, 2009, to the early management of the H1N1 flu crisis, the White House has repeatedly labored to prove its command of inflammatory facts during fast-moving events.
      This time, officials backed away from several of the most provocative elements disclosed in the first 24 hours. Bin Laden was not “killed in a firefight,” and he did not use his wife as a “human shield,” as originally claimed. White House officials volunteered the corrections, saying the errors were caused by haste as investigators debriefed the Navy SEALs thousands of miles away and officials attempted to brief reporters in real time.”

      Decisive…!?!?!?  Naw.

  • Asked why they had not checked out a building so close a major military facility the ISI said that the compound had actually been raided when the house was under construction in 2003 when the authorities believed an Al Qaeda operative Abu Faraj Al Libbi was there. On that occasion he escaped.

    From 2002 to 2005, Abu Faraj al-Libbi, was al Qaeda’s No. 3 man. He is now a resident of Club Gitmo.

  • f*cking morons