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Osama bin Laden dead: Yes, SEALs were in on the raid, but aides hail Obama's office bravery

a Chinook and Blackhawk helicopter in Afghanistan 4-11

According to another one of those White House briefings of reporters designed to suck up all available credit for good news, President Obama's homeland security advisor reveals that it was a really tense time in the air-conditioned White House as unidentified U.S. Navy SEALs closed in on the world's most wanted man after midnight a half a wohomeland security advisor john Brennan 5-2-11rld away.

"Minutes passed like days," says John Brennan, who bravely stood with press secretary Jay Carney before reporters and TV cameras today chronicling his boss' weekend heroics.

The heavily-armed commandos flying in a quartet of darkened Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters more than 100 miles into Pakistan were probably listening to their iPods and discussing the NFL draft.

"The concern was that bin Laden would oppose any type of capture operation," said Obama's Sherlock Holmes. So U.S. troops were prepared "for all contingencies."

In fact, this weekend was such a tense time in the White House that Obama only got in nine holes of golf. But he still managed to deliver his joke script to the White House Correspondents Assn. dinner Saturday evening.

Sunday was, Brennan revealed to his eager audience, "probably one of the most anxiety-filled periods of times in the lives of the people assembled here." Poor poor bureaucrats. Extra Tums all around. Did someone order dinner?

There may have been a little anxiety aboard those combat choppers. Who knows? We can't hear from them. And, as every day, anxiety in the kitchens, hearts and mind of thousands of military families who put up with the terrifying uncertainty of the dangerous deeds their loved ones have volunteered to secretly do for their country.Obama Button On Guantanamo During his 49 minute presentation Brennan did squeeze in one reference to the mission's "very brave personnel."

But the emphasis, with 2012 just around the calendrical corner, was on the boss' valor. "There was nothing that confirmed that bin Laden was at that compound," Brennan related as if such uncertainty is uncommon in war.

"And, therefore," Brennan continued, "when President Obama was faced with the opportunity to act upon this, the president had to evaluate the strength of that information and then made what I believe was one of the most gutsiest calls of any president in recent memory."

According to early reports of the incident, detailed here in The Ticket, 24 SEALs rappelled down ropes from hovering Chinooks in post-midnight darkness Monday Pakistan time with Osama security forces shooting at them. Brennan didn't have much time to go into all that today, the goal is to elevate the ex-state senator to at least a one-star commander-in-chief.

Here's something else that didn't get much recognition in all the street celebrations or all-hail-Obama briefings:

The trail to Monday morning's assault on Osama's Pakistan compound began during someone else's presidency. That previous president authorized enhanced interrogation techniques which convinced folks like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to give up, among many other things, the name of their top-secret courier, now deceased. His travels ultimately led the CIA back to Osama's six-year-old suburban home.


Rush Limbaugh on Osama bin Laden's death: 'Thank God for President Obama'

Donald Trump praises Obama on Osama bin Laden's death

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Denis Sinyakov / Reuters (A Chinook and Blackhawk helicopter in Afghanistan); Jewel Samad / AFP / Getty Images (Brennan); Photo illustration by Andrew Malcolm.

Comments () | Archives (272)

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Bravo - and I must say that I'm refreshingly surprised to see something like this from the LAT! Nice work.

The gallantry and the abilities of the SEALS shall, and should, go down in history.

As for the bravery of Obama.."puke-puke"..., how about them high gas prices, historical deficit, and record-breaking unemployment?

I'll be damn if I will let the fame of the SEALS be shared by Obama. BTW: The decision and the plans to capture or kill Osama were initiated on September, 12 2001.

When the clown in the white house gave his speech it was all about him. He did this, I did this and I made this decision. Hey obama you narcissistic idiotic the seals did it not you. All you did was listen to those briefing you on the intel. They made their recommendations and you knew if you said no the info would get out and you would look like clinton when he refused to get obama when the Sudanese had him. YOU DID NOTHING YOU PHONY. Get over it.

As I often heard President Bush say, sending troops into harm's way is the most difficult decision the President makes. The military operation that killed bin Laden and key al Qaeda operatives was risky and courageous.

I thank God for our military and for a President who ordered this covert operation in Pakistan--something his 2008 opponent said he would never do without the Pakistani government's support. And Mr. Malcolm, you should be thankful for that too.

I hope the shrill voices of partisanship will continue to be drowned out by the American voices of unity and patriotism on display throughout our nation--a feeling that should remind us all of the unity we felt in the days after 9/11. God Bless America.

Well, this may be the first day he has worked since he got into office. Are you sure they didn't move the sit room to the nearest golf course or put up a big picture of it in the background?

I'm sorry... I think this is just a little too convenient, but then again, I don't believe any of you in the MSM or the government any longer, so it shouldnt be a surprise!!!

Amazing. Obama is brilliant. The SEALs never could have pulled this off without Obama's leadership. All you Retardicans out there who think the U.S. military is competent ... poo on you. Obama is king of the wetsuit. Obama is like Jesus and can float on air. Obama can kill Osama just by thinking about him. Joe Biden is a serious genius too, just like Jerry Brown and Rod Blagojevich. They all have telekinetic powers, and make acorns float in the air even without union labor. Obama turned Hillary straight. Obama made Oprah thin. Obama is Charlie Sheen's rehab. Bill Clinton gives Obama head while Monica Lewinski watches. Obama is the love child of Bill Ayers and Tokyo Rose. Obama awarded John Kerry his medals in Viet Nam. Obama impeached President Nixon. Obama started the Black Panther Party. Obama went to outer space with Louis Farrakhan. Obama loves the Jews and thinks everyone should own one. Obama's college roommate was Karl Marx. Obama is THE ONE.

This article is like a breath of fresh air.

Tracy- you are the representation of the ignorance in America today. This is the first honest, truthful article from the LATimes in recent memory. America can be proud of it's military and intelligence, but be honest with yourself - this was not won by Obama or Panetta. If you believe that- you believe everything the liberal media puts in your face. I pray for you and for America- you both need it under the lame and incompetent leadership you follow.

I will give Obama his due...he was very couragious to deny his political base victory by not rescinding Bush's orders to pursue bin Laden or to shut down Gitmo or...

Maybe someday, these *sskissers in the media will realize that bravery is not ordering other people to risk their is risking yours to save others.

You're in the early lead for dumbest thing written about the this. Don't get too cocky though, there is still plenty of time for someone else to say something more outrageous.

I am not a fan of celebrity Obama at all. However, I am glad he didn't back away from pursuing Bin Laden once he took office. I can give him credit when due. However, the Obama is our saviorfest that is going on is insane. I don't understand why this people in the media and as a public glorify him so much. People NO POLITICIAN has your interest at heart. Least of all this one. Thanks LA times for finally being critical of this idiot. I didn't think they could get dumber than Bush but IT is in office.
P.S. now that Obama said the pledge at the end of his speech, can my child now say it in class with permission from the liberals savior????

This President wants to take all the glory, I...Me...My is all we hear. Yet the Seals who did all the work will never be revealed to the public. Obama should take a lesson from real professionals. The real unsung heroes!

The President needs to stop the I me my crap. The men who did the real work will never be revealed to the public. Take a lesson BO!

Everyone, the White House included, would agree that the SEAL + CIA team was the bravest in this operation by virtue of risking their lives. Still, not everyone can repel from helicopters under fire; there must be people making decisions, coordinating attacks, and considering diplomatic and security implications. This is equally important to the role of the commandos and Obama and his team did do a great job with that aspect. Even if statements regarding Obama's role are a bit hyperbolic, he still deserves respect for making a strong and decisive decision.

Obama made the call and he had to live with it, good or bad. Narcissist in Chief can look in the mirror all he wants, but at the end of the day, he still has to live with the dead on his watch. When will all of US see the pictures? No not of the fishbait messiah, but of POTUS meeting with the families of those who gave all? Death is different when you watch it on TV.

Maybe the experts in the White House should act like they've been there before!

What a stupid article. How can you compare the valor of a soldier to the job of a General, leader, decision maker? Does the writer believe that Patton and Macarthur and other Generals were cowards or less important because they were in war rooms or hotels while their soldiers were being shot an mamed?

Of course not, then why criticize the president and his staff? This type of C+ journalism is not worth commenting on and is illustrative of what is wrong with extreme ideology on both sides.

Shame on you

Wow. The libs are sensitive about this opinion piece!

The point is, that in all of the self-congratulatory speeches, the TRULY brave were barely mentioned. And, if there was anyone who had really staked his career on getting bin Laden, it was Bush, not Obama.

The FIRST quality of a TRUE leader is that they only accomplish things through the efforts of others. And it is the OTHERS that should honorably get the credit / kudos for any success.

Tooting one's horn is selfish and dishonorable.

Whether one leads will depend on the followers (if there are any left).

The Seals were "in on" the raid?

The Seals "WERE" the raid. Obama wasn't "in the raid."

Sheesh, just as I give Obama credit for doing the right thing, that doesn't mean the doofus gets a Silver Star for bravery under fire either.

This seems like it should be from the San Fran Paper, since the author is sure gay for Obama.

I saw the picture of Obama in the Situation Room with the military and other advisors, watching as it all went down.

The guy looked smaller than Pete Best at a Beatles reunion.

Very bad timing. The DEMS needed to wait until closer to the election. Now the terrorists (codeword for Muzzies) have plenty of time to strike, plus this even makes it more likely the "Arab Spring" will become the "MB Spring".

So is John Brennan going to nominate Obama for the Medal of Honor now? I mean with the extreme stress and all. I mean, how can one man play golf, practice his speeches, sneak a smoke and still have the mental capacity to command. Gosh darn, I may nominate him myself. I mean THE MAN can take all types of battle now.

I bet we see claims that Obama walked on water the day of the DECISION. I bet a national holiday will be proclaimed. Christ has returned, vote for Obama.

Obama is the bravest man who ever uttered the words, "it's a go." What it must have been like to put 24 highly capable and highly trained killing machines into harms way. I can only imagine the discomfort that he sustained sitting in a room listening to reports of how the attack was going.

When the helicopter stalled that must have really made them sweat but he dug deep and manged to stay brave and courageous. Never mind the guys that had bullets flying past their heads, I'm sure the professional operators not in a cubicle were unfazed by the danger and ever changing battle scene circumstances.

If ordering a commando raid is the height of bravery what was the D Day invasion? That would almost make Truman more than God like. How brave he was to order it, I'm glad we all sit around praising him over the actual men who carried it out. Real warriors don't look for the praise they just aim to accomplish their mission. It's political vampires that try and suck all the life out of situation that they had little to nothing to do with.

Congratulations to Obama...for finally being a big boy and doing the job he was hired to do. I refuse to worship and praise a man for simply doing his job. Instead, I will, with much respect and gratitude, sincerely thank the members of the intelligence and military communities who put their lives at risk to rid the world of this murderous coward. Obama indeed sat in an air-conditioned room, in his golf clothes, waiting anxiously while men braver than he will ever understand carried out his orders. Give credit where credit is due. These men will never ask for praise, will never be personally recognized...perhaps their commander-in-chief should take a good hard look at how real men handle themselves.

Mr. Malcolm, President Obama deserves no credit for the conduct of the operation other than he authorized its development and directed its execution given the very real possibility of failure. He risked his presidency, the credibility of the US intelligence community, the image of special forces operatives and most importantly, the lives of US personnel in order to achieve an objective more symbolic than to the US war on terror than any other. This article though correct in pointing out the political grandstanding of a few US political advisors is beneath your authorship.

Politicians from time eternal have always tried to take credit for any success...exaggerate their own importance and in doing so diminish the bravery of those who actually carried out the action.

No credit goes to any president. It goes to those who got the job done intellectually and physically. Clinton rejected being handed Bin Laden in the 1990's. Bush naively trusted foreigners to take out Bin Laden and, big surprise, he disappeared for nearly 10 years, although at least Bush approved beating intel out of terrorists. Obama did nothing except say yes to what the CIA and DoD wanted to do.

Unfortunately, America's worst enemy remains in the White House. Socialists and communists d/b/a Democrats are far more of a threat to America than Muslims because Democrats are traitors "fundamentally transforming" the America they hate from within.

Hopefully the Navy packed Bin Laden's body with c-4 before wrapping him in a sheet, tossing him into the ocean and detonating the scumbag to make it even harder for Muslims to find and worship what's left of him.

The information at the end is incorrect. The intelligence that led to the courier was gathered in an eastern European black site prison under conventional means. There has been actionable intelligence gathered by the use of torture, just not this piece.

For the people who lost loved ones on Sept 11 I'm glad he was killed and maybe they will feel some revenge/justice. I thank you for this flippant piece on the lead up to the attack and this character we have as president.

Why do I have this gnawing feeling that what was thrown overboard were the skeletal remains of a man who has been dead for at least 8 years and the photos that will be released either match the 8 year time frame or have been photoshopped in the past 8 days?

This was not about Obama! This was justice being served after long, arduous hours of collecting info that began with a tip way back in 2006. This is about the 3,000 innocent deaths being avenged. This is America showing her military might and keeping her word. This is about American troops and intel people that accomplished this feat of heroism. there is no such thing as office bravery, who would get killed if things went bad if they were in an office thousands of miles away?
If Obama was so competent, then why the 5 dollar gas, why the 30 percent unemployed and underemployed? Why are we in Lybia?

Check out the picture of the WH viewing the real-time action. Obama looks like the smallest person in the room.

Cowering in the corner. A real man.

Looks like water boarding worked. Thanks W!

Golfing before the raid. Only Barry the Weak could get away with that. Bush 43 and any other Repub would have been lambasted by the Lapdog Media. I can see the headlines on media matters or

"Bush uncaring, golfing before raid."

"Golf more important to Bush than troops."

Obama should definately have given the Seals more credit in his speech and the word I under such circumstances is rarely appropriate. If the Jihad crew kill him in retaliation for Bin Laden instead of targeting our amazing military personnel I guess we will have to say the buck truly does stop there. What exactly has Andrew Malcolm done to better our country and help our service men and women? Just another journalist/entertainer trying to gain attention for himself instead of presenting objective facts.

I have looked the photo of Obama sitting in the "Situation Room" several times and I just can't get past that he looks like a janitor that happen to be emptying the wastebaskets and took a seat to watch and everyone else in the room were to preoccupied to notice.

The guy looks totally out of place.

I find Mr. Obama's hollow bravado and claims for credit for getting Osama Bin Laden one of the most craven acts of a very unprincipled politician. It denigrates the men and women in the armed forces who do the dangerous work. They do not watch television from the basement of the White House and play golf on the weekend. But the irony is that the termination of Mr. Bin Laden took place because of the close integration of intelligence work by the CIA with the Special Ops forces. The development of this integration in Joint Special Operations Command was the result of General McChrystal who took over the command in 2004. He operated Special Ops very successfully and without scrutiny in Iraq until he took over command of Afghanistan. He was fired by the Campaigner in Chief after reporting that Mr. Obama did not know who he was, used their meeting as an opportunity for a photo-op and seemed uncomfortable in the presence of the military brass. This was enough to end his career. This was done in order to show that Mr. Obama was tough when it is obvious when you look at Mr. Obama that he is very insecure in this regard. Does anyone recall FDR taking credit for military operations during WWII or Lincoln claiming that he won the civil war? We have gone in 60 years from President Eisenhower, who led the DDay invasion, to Mr. Obama who takes false credit for the bravery of the soldiers who carried out this mission. This for the sole purpose to burnish his political image as a Commander in Chief and to get reelected in 2012. Not very admirable to say the least.

"most gutsiest"??? For cryin' out loud what kind of juveniles are we dealing with here?

The bigger story that didnt get reported this weekend was Sarah Palin In Washington DC going into the belly of the Beast, went to the MSNBC after dinner( Correspondents) party as well VanityFairs party and David Axelrods gathering for Down Syndrome and disabled children. The Liberal media was all GaGa over Sarah, wanted their picture taken with her, the crowd flocked to her, even Rachael Maddow brought her a diet Coke and was chatty with Sarah. Its funny how all these pundits and journalists shoot arrows and nasty hateful things about Sarah and then when they meet her they all want to be with her. Greta Van Sustren( Sarah was her guest) said it was really something to see, with all the movie stars and big names there, Sarah Palin was the big draw.

The amazing thing about this is that Gen. McChrystal who Obama forced to resign for speaking his mind is the one who set this all in motion when he became the commanding General of the Joint Special Operations Command in 2004.
I guess that the old saying IS true; "Even a blind hog will find an acorn every once in a while."

Remember folks, the Navy Seals did not know they were facing OBL until Obama pointed him out on the dark live video streamed to thousands of miles away. True story, I swear.

Who the hell is the LA Times kidding? Obama was probably cursing them for cutting off his golf time. Why in hell did Bush send them to that side of the world in the first place, right?

Absurd articles like this are a symptom of someone who puts ideology over country. Shameful and dishonest. Oh and enhanced interrogation didn't get this intel. It was standard interrogation, try to keep up.

I honestly can't believe it. This article has given me hope for the 4th estate. We must though, give credit where credit is due. Osama has been eliminated and I don't care on who's watch it happened on. Even a blind hog can find an acorn occasionally. Let us be happy and get about the work of repairing our country,together.

Yeah, because it was Bush who decided to go to Pakistan to find Osama. <--(This is sarcasm) I guess you all think Bush was trying to find a man in Pakistan by starting a war in Iraq, as if that was possible!

I cannot understand the Progressives and the hard core liberals. When someone does not read the same page with instructions that their commissar gave them, they resort to insults and labels. Is it because they cannot stick to the issue and have not ideological answers and thus the fits of tantrum are their only response? Can they not be civil and rational?
Those who cannot understand the nature of this article forget: 1- During his campaign Obama promised to close Guantanamo. 2- Barack Hussein Obama banned the harsh interrogation methods such as water boarding. 3- Obama wanted to give terrorist the benefit of Civilian law to terrorists who committed acts of war against the USA: benefits enjoyed by American citizens. It was G.W. Bush the one who set up all that apparatus geared to keep track of Usama and the captured Jihadists in custody. Now the arm chair warriors are the heroes of this operation. Obama only reluctantly continued what Bush started. Hence the clamoring from the extreme left. Obama's only credit is not to have vetoed the operation and decide to complete what Bush started. Remember that Obama was against and vowed to strike down the Patriot Act, closing of Gitmo and ending water boarding means that actually gave the US the necessary intel to track and neutralize Usama. Let's call the spade a spade. It is also remarkable that a left leaning newspaper like the LA Times had the gumption to see the vanity and arrogance of one they once supported unreservedly. I hope that his signals a return to higher journalistic standards.

Either someone with a touch of common sense high-jacked the LA Times website or someone's getting fired tomorrow!! I literally checked three times as I was reading this article that it was really the LA Times. Welcome to reality LAT!

@Neal J. King | May 02, 2011 at 06:54 PM
"It could have been like Carter's "helicopters in the desert" moment, and the analogy would have killed him in the media."

...while the SOG operators could have been killed - for real - in the H*ll hole called Pakistan.

This type of stupidity is the entire point of the article. Real people's lives were on the line while Obama and crew had, at most, their jobs on the line.

The two are nowhere near equivalent...

Obama? Bush? I think both should get credit for their leadership as it relates to this mission. However, the real credit, of course, goes to Seal Team Six. And the URL above is the bumper sticker of the Year! Thank you Seal Team Six.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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