The Bin Laden operation in Abbottabad has been in planning since 2010: the compound caught the attention of intelligence because it had no internet or cell phone signal, which would be unusual for the size and wealth of the place.
In September 2010, the CIA presented Obama with a set of assessments that indicated bin Laden could be hiding in a compound in northwest Pakistan. Starting in mid-March, the president convened at least nine National Security Council meetings to discuss the intelligence suggesting that bin Laden was possibly hiding out virtually in plain sight.
You might find it interesting, because I do, that Osama has probably been in this location in Pakistan since 2005, when the compound was built. So last Friday, Obama gave the order to pursue Bin Laden. In the early hours of Sunday morning, the strike began.
Now take a look at George W. Bush’s pursuit of Bin Laden. From the article “Obama Succeeded Where Bush Failed: Osama Bin Laden Rhetoric And Reality” by Dan Froomkin:
- BUSH RANCH (AUGUST/2001): The unsuccessful attempts to engage Bush culminated in a briefing he got while vacationing on his Texas ranch. As investigative reporter Ron Suskind reported in his book, “The One Percent Doctrine,” an unnamed CIA operative flew to Crawford to call the president’s attention personally to the now-famous Aug. 6, 2001, memo titled Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S. “All right,” Suskind reported Bush saying after hearing out the operative. “You’ve covered your ass, now.”
- TORA BORA (DEC/2001): After the invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban government quickly fell and al Qaeda retreated into the hills. But in December 2001, when bin Laden was unquestionably within reach of U.S. troops in the mountains of Tora Bora, Bush didn’t pull the trigger.
- (2001 – 2004): Then for more than three years, Bush treated bin Laden a lot like the wizards in the Harry Potter books treat He Who Must Not Be Named (Dan Froomkin | WaPo): Since the beginning of 2003, in fact, Bush has mentioned bin Laden’s name on only 10 occasions. And on six of those occasions it was because he was asked a direct question. In addition, there were four times when Bush was asked about bin Laden directly but was able to answer without mentioning bin Laden’s name himself. Not once during that period has he talked about bin Laden at any length, or said anything substantive. During the same period, for comparison purposes, Bush has mentioned former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein on approximately 300 occasions.
- (SUMMER/2005): Bush started invoking bin Laden again — but this time, to win support for his Iraq policy, which was very much on the ropes. “Hear the words of Osama bin Laden,” Bush said, “‘This Third World War is raging’ in Iraq.”
- (2006): on the stump for his fellow Republicans, Bush was citing bin Laden extensively. The president cast bin Laden as the oracular leader of a global movement, and warned of the possibility of an Islamic caliphate ”stretching from Europe to North Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia” — an unsubstantiated fantasy with only one thing going for it: It served the political agendas of both men. Meanwhile, in an Oval Office session that same month, Bush told to a group of conservative columnists that focusing on bin Laden didn’t fit with his military plans. Putting “100,000 of our special forces stomping through Pakistan in order to find bin Laden is just simply not the strategy that will work,” he explained.
- (POST ELECTION/2008): Yet, in his attempts to persuade the voting public of the dangers it faced, Bush gave bin Laden exactly the attention he seemed to crave. After the 2008 presidential election, during which politicians from both parties publicly renounced him, Bush finally admitted some regret in an ABC News interview. “Do I wish we had brought Osama bin Laden to justice? Sure,” Bush said. “But he’s not leading a lot of parades these days.”
Read the whole thing.