In the days following the successful raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound that killed the terrorist leader, CIA Director Leon Panetta made the TV news channel rounds. He told the talking heads and their audiences that the administration had graphic, gruesome photographs of bin Laden’s corpse and that he was fairly certain the imagery would be released to prove he’d been killed.
"I just think it's important, they know we have it, to release it," Panetta said.
Nope, said President Obama in an interview with CBS News’ 60 Minutes. The man who couldn’t roll a bowling ball down the frickin Interstate or throw a baseball in the Pacific Ocean used a sports analogy in punking the Chief Spook. “We don’t trot this stuff out as trophies,” he said. “We don’t need to spike the football.”
Panetta doesn’t seem to be taking this sitting down, though. Perhaps you remember this famous photograph, purporting to show Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Hilary Clinton and Pentagon Brass watching a supposedly live video feed of the raid itself.
Yesterday, in an interview with PBS, Panetta told the network that there was no live video feed of the raid, after all.
“Once those teams went into the compound I can tell you that there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes where we really didn’t know just exactly what was going on. And there were some very tense moments as we were waiting for information.
“We had some observation of the approach there, but we did not have direct flow of information as to the actual conduct of the operation itself as they were going through the compound.” What, exactly, were Obama & Company watching in the photo above?
The more important question though is this: Why is Leon Panetta intentionally trying to embarrass the President of the United States?
The public disagreement over the release of photographs of the dead terrorist isn’t the first. In fact, Panetta has also copped to believing that “enhanced interrogation techniques” (that’s waterboarding) led intelligence services to information they used to locate bin Laden’s compound. If Senator Obama had gotten his way, President Obama would never have gotten the information he used to collect his trophy kill.
Extra Point: Still want that Pentagon post, Mr. CIA Director?