REPORT ON COUNTER-TERRORISM

From: Larry O Daniel
Subject: FW: What the Usama Bin Laden Raid did not accomplish
To: info@judicialwatch.org
Date: Sunday, September 16, 2012, 12:56 AM

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The first and undeniable fact about the raid is Usama Bin Laden is dead. He cannot verify details about his organization, his methods of operation, and his future plans. Secondly, Abu Ahmed al Kuwaiti, is likewise dead. This all important courier who ran in the circles of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, Mohammad al Qahtani, Hambali, and Hassan Ghul cannot provide interrogators details about his modus operandi, who else he delivered instructions to, and most importantly, exactly where they were known to reside. As a courier of this importance, he would know the timing of moves, where alternate residences were, and how and where shura instructions were to be sent and much more. His loss of intelligence would be akin to that of Bin Laden or Zawahiri. A third point is the war on terror is not over. In fact, it seems to be intensifying. One of the many articles written about this raid claimed it gave President Obama a symbolic victory to begin his Afghanistan withdrawal plan. However, the State Department in this year seemed to be increasing its warnings about countries with terror related activites.

One thing it did accomplish is to prove that enhanced interrogations work. Without them, al Kuwaiti would not have been found and Bin Laden may still be alive. Which comes to point four. The death of Bin Laden did not end the war on terror. It is thriving and apparently intensifying. Did Bin Laden order some of these things to be planned on? We will never know, unless someone else is captured who received his instructions. We can only guess at the meaning of the documents found in his compound. A US official told the London Telegraph for their article that finding Ghul was the key to finding al Kuwaiti, "Hassan Ghul was the linchpin" and Kuwaiti was the key to Bin Laden.

The Bin Laden raid did not accomplish the sought after goal of having a huge thinly disguised movie touting the Obama achievement. When the word leaked of the movie project on the Bin Laden raid, so did documents showing, without equivocation that Bin Laden was targted for assassination and the statements the raid was a "gutsy move" was nothing more that White House talking points that everyone had to adhere to. Those could be points five and six. The reason I started on this article was to find out if this was an assassination operation or no. My gut told me at the beginning it was. The first articles seemed to quell those feelings since they described "sieges" "fire fights" Bin Laden "resisting" "suicide vests" reaching for a weapon, etc. Then, the doubts started again. I received via Special Ops channels, doubts about the veracity of the press accounts. I read about a SEAL book being released which said Bin Laden was unarmed. I investigated. I found.

* "this was a kill operation" Reuters screamed over a year ago. Quoting an unnamed National Security official, it was proclaimed, there was no desire to capture Bin Laden alive in Pakistan.

* Nicholas Schmidle, quoting numerous unnamed administration officials throughout his August 2011 New Yorker article said " If all went to plan, the SEALS would shoot and kill him at close range and take the corpse back to Afghanistan."

* Describing the kill, Schmidle wrote, "put a red laser dot on Bin Laden's chest. He was unarmed and frozen." A special ops officer told him "there was never any question of detaining or capturing him. It wasn't a split second decision. No one wanted detainees."

* The new SEAL book described Bin Laden shot as he peeked out a door, unarmed, with weapons in his room that were unloaded. (A Counter Terror official told Schmidle Bin Laden was shot at and missed on the landing outside his room, unarmed)

* Mike Vickers, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, using White House approved talking points, asserted that in planning the thought process was "If I go for the McRaven option, what do I do with the body? Who do I notify afterwards." This is an obvious reference to a time related to Schmidle of John Brennan calling his former counter part in Saudi Arabia to enquire if they wanted Bin Laden's remains (or maybe to gloat about getting him).

* Vickers again in reply to a question from the movie personnel on July 14, " But the principal thing is that you get the body?" Vickers explained "a strong majority that we ought to do the raid... to get a body... if you kill the wrong person, any kind of miss, you're finished...(explaining what could happen in an air strike) "I did get him but I really didn't know it was him 100% and how can I prove it... how do I know if I really did get him, even if I have a high certainty I think I did."

* The Washington Post lamely explained resisting - Bin Laden was "retreating, a move regarded as resisting" according to a US official briefed on the operation.

* The July 14 transcript, obtained by Judicial Watch in a court battle, used White House approved talking points to prevent "inaccuracies" and not once described any thought of detaining or capturing Bin Laden or al Kuwaiti. Another unaccomplished mission - keeping alive the lies, deceptions, and misleading characterizations of the raid by the White House. Ironically, it was the effort by DOD "to shape the story to prevent any gross inaccuracies... using WH approved talkng points we used the night of the operation" that caused this unaccomplished mission to occur.The CNN quote "the team encountered resistance from Bin Laden" was false. Politico's quote Bin Laden was was "shot in the face" "during a fire fight after resisting capture" was grossly misleading. John Brennan's quote saying the SEAL team was prepared "to take Bin Laden alive, but he resisted" was likewise deceptive.

I know a little about snatch missions and what they mean. On June 26, 1969, in Hoa Tan District, Go Cong Province, my intelligence platoon, lead by my Kit Carson scouts, and tactically lead by a MATT team leader, captured a high profile District / Province Viet Cong leader, killed two more in a fire fight that at one point went hand to hand, and wounded a VC military guard. We barely missed by minutes two other priority targets and captured weapons (loaded) and documents we could interrogate our prisoner about. This raid broke the back of the VCI movement there and forced the remaining forces to Cambodia to try to operate in the District.

We found the wounded VC and at 2 AM I took him to the Province Hospital 15 km away with my body guard and one for him. He was in bad shape, but we had to try to save him. He arrived alive, but died on the operating table.These actions were taken in accordance with the rules of land warfare, special orders not to conduct assassination missions, under penalty of court martial, and secret addenda listing the priority of our tasks. Numbers 1-3 were recruit in place, cause to defect, and capture. Number 4 was to kill only if he resisted capture and there was no other way to wound or otherwise keep him alive. There had to be a real gun battle. The least viable alternative was to cause the heat on him to move away to another location or cause him to decide to retire from the insurgency. These options were called "neutralizations."

We specifically were not to do what the media reported Robert Kerrey did at Thanh Phong, leave a bunch of bodies piled like cordwood, cut throats of old unarmed men, or that of John Kerry in An Xuyen Province, where I went later, and a team mate on the operation related to me that Kerry and an unarmed VC disappeared out of sight. Kerry returned, but the wounded VC did not. I would have been court martialed in either case.I have publicly advocated that for both of them several years ago in a WND article and Phoenix New Times article.I stand by that assessment.

The reasons for the orders is obvious. Dead men do not talk and cannot explain what is not obvious in captured documents. Live men, in good interrogations, explain, clarify, and tell you things not in the captured files. We know now for sure that is true, even with hard to crack Al Qaeda high level captures.

This biggest potential intelligence coup was missed because, as Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser and Deputy Assistant to President Obama was quoted as saying, "They (SEALS) knew he (Obama) had staked his presidency on this (raid.)" Obama himself was quoted as saying to the SEALS "I had 50-50 confidence that Bin Laden was there." Was that the "lead from behind" president expressing why he waited so long to give the go ahead or a deliberately contrived statement to make his decision appear "gutsy?"

One approved talking point in the releases to Judicial watch was the decision was a "gutsy decision by the POTUS) (June 13 e mail setting up the July 14 meeting with Vickers. This echoed numerous administration officials, including John Brennan who observed Obama "then made what I believe was one of the gutsiest calls of any president in recent memory."
This ignores the FDR decision decision to shoot down Yamamoto. The operation required split second timing over vast unmarked open ocean navigating to arrive and make it appear the shoot down was coincidental, not deliberate. At stake was a top secret code that enabled the operation to take place in the first place. Or FDR's decision to invade Normandy, causing General Eisenhower to write a draft letter of resignation if the chancy mission failed. Given the weather, minimal, both staked a lot on the mission succeeding.

Left our was President Lyndon Johnson's authorizing multiple, continuous, clandestine operations into Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam, attempting to stem North Vietnam infiltration, and to gather vital, unobtainable any other way, intelligence. He really staked his presidency on the outcome, and lost indirectly through these missions.

Likewise, President Reagan made a gutsy call to rescue hostages in Grenada after the failed mission, and gutsy call by President Carter to rescue hostages in Iran. Reagan understood perfectly the risks and Carter made the call anyway, and lost.
President George W. Bush went into Iraq knowing what could ensue, and did from the current occupant of the White House. However, the decision was made, partly to retaliate for what Saddam Hussein and his terror graduates planned to unleash upon some of our allies. This included, downing an Israeli airliner, launching a chemical attack on our air base in Turkey supporting the operations in Afghanistan, and launching a WMD ricin attack in Great Britain. These are all acts of war by Saddam and had to be responded to. Bush likewise, suffered in silence, knowing the truth, and protecting even more vital secrets of the means and sources and cooperations involved in getting the information.

The 50-50 quote was not the view of Obama's advisers. Vickers told the producers that the range was 40 - 95 percent sure and snickered at the 40 percent declaring he was 80 percent sure himself. The counter terror critique personnel determined to make absolutely sure (on the night before the authorization was given and never clued in as to all the details) ranged from 40 to 60 percent sure. Schmiedle quoted a counter terror official as saying Leon Panetta, then CIA head, as asking point blank the confidence the planners had before asking Obama for his final decision. The range was 40 to 95 percent.

On what did they base their confidence? I call it the Tighe formula. You have people giving you information after questioning, enhanced by technical means (photos, eyewitnesses, ground observations, eye in the sky observations, intercepted communications) and all pointing to what an all source review of the available intelligence says in as unbiased a look as possible. General Tighe used to be the head of DIA and publicly stated why he had confidence in intelligence he used to urge a POW rescue mission to President Reagan at one point in time.

Then there was the compound. We knew al Quwaiti was there. It somewhat resembled the compund Bin Laden built for himself in the Sudan. It had all the earmarkings of how he was suspected to operate. John Brennan was quoted as saying in an AP article "What we see in this compound is different than any we've seen before. I was confident we had a bsis to take action." The compound was referred to in another unnamed source quote "Officially, this was a kill or capture mission since the US doesn't kill unarmed people. But, it was clear from the beginning, that whoever was behind those walls had no intention of surrendering."

Someone even went to the trouble of leaking information about a CIA safe house and gave enough details about it to all but give it's address away. They found it in the aftermath of the disclosure about a CIA asset, acknowledged by Panetta and captured by the Pakistani government. In that acknowledgement, Pannetta verified a member of the asset's team entered the compound, thereby giving a left handed verification to a printed story that one of the asset's team members entered the compound with an electronic device, unspecified, but suspected as a listening device to be left behind or recording device to transmit.

How much confidence did the President want? They all but had the size of the underwear Bin Laden wore (satellite photos had been measured to ensure he was well over six foot tall) but then, the observers said no trash was ever taken out of the compound. An authographed photo? They had the photo resembling him without the autograph. He was observed and called the pacer, from the CIA safehouse.

Gutsy? Richard Miniter wrote of many decisions either called off or postponed. It was nine months from verification of the location, to neutralization of the occupants. Many NSC planning meetings were called, with no decision to go. The airstrike option was canceled because of the ensuing "earthquake" noise it would make and destroy the deniability the White House wanted, if something went wrong, and which the raid seemingly produced. Brennan told Schmidle about August, Obama was "excited" but not "prepared to order military action... The president's advisers began an interrogation of the data, to see if ... you're going to disprove the theory Bin Laden was there." That lead to the extraordinary bring in the critiquers of the planners at the last minute, without the full benefit of months of being in the loop, to see if it should be called off.

The military planners were called in to start, details were given in extraordinary completeness as to how it worked, in January. They moved into the unmarked office on the first floor of the CIA printing plant building, according to a leak to Schmidle, and blacked out as "secret" by censors in their release to Judicial Watch, in February. Unless they moved, this was "the vault." One by one Obama shelved alternatives in these planning sessions, and lost a month of valuable time due to the requirement of having an operation that required maximum new moon darkness. The March 29 rejection of a B2 airstrike pushed a launch to May 3 at the earliest. January through April had already been scrubbed as possible because the team, although preparing since January, had not had the required rehearsals both on the ground and in the air, awaiting the decision to advance to that stage. Obama sleeping on his decision from the last NSC meeting, causing Vickers to comment to the movie producers that he halfway wondered if the decision would be postponed again, did knock two days of launch out due to the time difference and reported cloud cover over the route. Time waits for no one and forces decisions one may not really want to make. A counter terror official told Schmidle that Neptune's Spear was chosen because "the covert nature allowed the White House to hide it's involvement if necessary."

The mission was never covert. Did not meet the requirements of deniability. At best, it was a highly classified thinly disguised clandestine operation, that provided little plausible deniability if something went wrong.

The family of Aaron Vaughn, a SEAL killed in action from Team Six, is right to be worried about leaks. The White House made available and disclosed the name to unauhtorized personnel, the makers of their political movie. Sources and methods were released immediately after the raid. To exploit a "gutsy" decision or rub it in the face of the Pakistanis, is irrelevant. A well trained Counter Intelligence official from anywhere can now have assurance of the planning cycle of SEALS and the decision making process of the current occupant of the White House. Overseas assets are on the alert that to trust the CIA is a dangerous and potentially fatal mistake. The briefing given by Vickers verified much of the previously printed planning cycle. We do not know yet, how detailed that release to them was. Have to wait for the movie.

I know the fear they have. I was targeted for kill or capture in Vietnam, as were all other Phoenix operatives, some by name and photograph. The suspect SEALS are uneasy about hazy, potentially illegal rules of engagement given them. Assurances by lawyers, ring hollow as recent throw the troops under the bus incidents prove. Did resisting mean anything different from the printed description of a naked Bin Laden surrendering with his hands up, or was the printed retreating, though unarmed is "resisting." CBS asked MG Charles Dunlap who gave a less than reassuring that it was not "unreasonable" to shoot someone sticking his head out the door. It was not "unreasonable" to kill a wounded Bin Laden, although unarmed, if it was to keep him from reaching for a weapon or igniting a suicide vest. (Who expected Bin Laden to sleep with a suicide vest on after being undisturbed for almost seven years in this fortress?) It was "understandable" in terms of the orders the SEALS had, he said.

I am sure the SEALS believed the orders and rules they were given by the lawyers briefing them. I did when I watched from the hilltop at the CIA training center in Vung Tau those days in March, 1969 watching training exercises designed to prepare us for the operations we were expected to execute. Several scenarios went far beyond anything I remembered in my rules of land warfare briefings I had ad nauseum prior to deployment to Vietnam. They went far beyond what I was taught in infantry school.
John J McCarthy Jr. believed when he was picked to head up Project Cherry, in 1967, and was told the Khmer Serai people he was training were being used to overthrow and assassinate Prince Norodom Sihanouk, if all went according to plans. The Agency forgot to tell him his mission was unauthorized and went contrary to Presidential Directives of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. The Agency forgot to tell him two of his Khmer Serai Team members were agents for Sihanouk, China, Russia, and the Agency all at the same time. He was framed by the Agency for the murder of Inchin Hai Lam, spent 22 months in
Leavenworth, and is hounded b them to this day because he refused to fall on his sword to protect the integrity of the Agency.
COL Robert Rheault was a believer also. On his team, designed to continue the work of Cherry, by this time authorized at last, was one of the two agents known to work for our enemies in Project Cherry. The CIA forgot to tell him that. This agent, Thai Khac Chuyen, lead several teams of Special Forces and Vietnamese mixed military operatives, into ambushes and captures, some with cruel endings. They gave him a wink and nod approval to take Chuyen to sleep with the fishes. Then, they very publicly withdrew that approval after they knew Chuyen was swimming with the fishes. The Special Forces efforts were dismantled shortly after the very public arrest of the SF operatives and very real threat to court martial them. CIA was left standing after their betrayal.

I likewise believed the Agency that they were 100% behind the rules they devised for us to follow in information sharing in Phoenix. That is until one day I woke up to my District Senior Adviser and District Chief questioning me about a kill that had taken place in our district by forces not under any of our commands. The Agency never took credit, never explained, and I had to work to rebuild trust with these bosses and counterparts of mine. I learned never to fully trust them again. That was verified when I met McCarthy after returning from Vietnam and investigating his case for the past 42 years.

The Vaughns are correct in their appraisal and have reason to fear. Usama Bin Laden is dead, but the war on terror continues, and the very dead Bin Laden cannot tell us what he set in motion or details on how to derail them. This is what the mission unaccomplished article is all about.

Larry J O'Daniel is a former CPT MI, USAR, trained as a Phoenix operative, cross trained in Electronic Warfare, infantry, intelligence, and Cover and Deception. He has continued his work after Vietnam to help troops in CENTCOM Iraq jump start an information sharing program in November, 2004 and in other projects at home. He is the author of two books on Vietnam and just completed the manuscript about a "fictional" lieutenant who went to Vietnam as a Phoenix operative from all places, Phoenix, AZ and what lessons he learned from that experience.

 

 


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