The U.S. national security team gathered in the White House Situation Room to monitor the progress of Operation Neptune Spear (White House photo, Pete Souza)

By Art Moore

November 9, 2017

The killing of America’s archenemy, Osama bin Laden, by a Navy SEAL team in 2011 was a campaign coup for Barack Obama, who hailed it during his reelection bid as proof that the U.S. had al-Qaida “on the run.”

The editors of the Weekly Standard, noting they don’t use the much-abused word “lie” lightly, declared “the administration of Barack Obama lied repeatedly and lied flagrantly.”But the 470,000 files recovered from the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound – released only this month by the CIA – tell a much different story, documenting al-Qaida’s global strength as well as its relationship with Iran prior to the Obama administration’s nuclear pact with the mullah-led regime.

The editors said Obama rightly hailed the mission as a success, not only because U.S. forces killed the man responsible the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans, but also because of the acquisition of the “single largest collection of senior terrorist materials ever.”

The problem was that the president and his administration “didn’t believe we were at war.”

Five days before his reelection in November 2012, Obama said in Green Bay, Wisconsin: “Thanks to the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in Iraq is over. The war in Afghanistan is winding down. Al-Qaida has been decimated. Osama bin Laden is dead.”

The Obama administration “believed it had been at war but had moved on to the mopping-up phase – akin to Allied troops occupying Berlin in 1945,” the Weekly Standard editors wrote.

The Obama White House released only a few hundred of the more than 470,000 files, falsely characterized them as the entire trove.

The Weekly Standard pointed out there were no national security concerns for the vast bulk of the collection.

“The raid wasn’t secret – al-Qaida knew we had whatever documents had been held in bin Laden’s lair and would adjust accordingly.

“Why keep them locked up?”

It’s now clear that bin Laden’s terrorist network “wasn’t the beaten and fugitive force Obama – then seeking reelection – claimed.”

“Second, the documents proved beyond any reasonable doubt that al-Qaida had an uneasy but mutually beneficial relationship with Iran, and Obama spent much of his second term laboring to convince Americans that the Iranian regime could be trusted.”

President Trump and CIA director Mike Pompeo should get credit for “making good on their predecessors’ pledges – and prevailing over the bureaucratic inertia that would have kept the vast majority of these documents secret forever,” the editors said.

Weekly standard reporter Steven F. Hayes said the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was able to get away with releasing only 571 documents after calling it the largest haul of terrorist intelligence ever largely because the establishment media had grown accustomed to not confronting the Obama administration on a host of other lies or exaggerations.

“The self-proclaimed ‘most transparent administration in history’ had spent more than five years misleading the American people about the threat from al-Qaida and its offshoots and had paid very little price for having done so,” Hayes wrote.

“Republicans volubly disputed the president’s more laughable claims – the attack on the Benghazi compound was just a protest gone bad, al-Qaida was on the run, ISIS was the terrorist junior varsity – but the establishment media, certain that Obama’s predecessor had consistently exaggerated the threat, showed little interest in challenging Obama or the intelligence agencies that often supported his spurious case.”

Regarding Iran, the administration had misleadingly described the relationship of bin Laden, a Sunni Muslim, with Tehran’s Shiite Muslim regime as one of “hatred” and “suspicion.”

But one of the letters recovered in bin Laden’s lair described Iran as the “main artery” for al-Qaida, Hayes said. In other files, details of Iran’s support for al-Qaida led to terrorist designations by the Treasury Department and caused some intelligence analysts to reconsider their assumption that Shiite Iran wouldn’t back the Sunni al-Qaida.


About Track Persia

Track Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.