In a powerful and comprehensive piece in The Weekly Standard, editor Stephen Hayes delineates in detail how the Obama Administration hid almost half a million documents seized from the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in order to perpetuate the lie that Al Qaeda was defeated after bin Laden’s death, thus paving the way for Obama’s 2012 victory.
Hayes begins his odyssey into the Obama Administration’s duplicity by noting that the day before Obama left the White House, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) issue a press release claiming the administration had declassified enough documents seized in the raid to “close the book” on bin Laden. The release was even titled, “Closing the Book on Bin Laden: Intelligence Community Releases Final Abbottabad Documents.”
Yet after the May 2, 2011 raid, Obama’s national security advisor, Tom Donilon, said the documents seized were extensive enough to fill a “small college library.” As Hayes points out, “A senior military intelligence official who briefed reporters at the Pentagon on May 7, 2011, said: ‘As a result of the raid, we’ve acquired the single largest collection of senior terrorist materials ever.’”
Hayes writes, “Why would ODNI think it could get away with such an aggressive lie? … In this context, ODNI’s bet wasn’t a crazy one. No one outside of a small group of terrorism researchers and intelligence professionals had paid much attention to the fate of the bin Laden documents. The likelihood that these ODNI claims would get much scrutiny in the middle of the frenzy that accompanies a presidential transition was low.”
In the spring of 2012, with the Republican presidential primaries nearing an end and shortly before the first anniversary of the successful raid on bin Laden’s compound, Obama’s National Security Council hand-picked 17 documents to be provided to the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point for analysis. … The West Point documents were shared with Obama-friendly journalists. Their conclusion was the only one possible, given the documents they were provided: At the time of his death, Osama bin Laden was frustrated and isolated, a relatively powerless leader of a dying organization. In the summer and fall of 2012, Obama would use this theme as the main national security rationale for his reelection: Al Qaeda was alternately “on the run” or “decimated” or “on the path to defeat.”
On November 1, 2012, five days before the election, Obama intoned, “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 Qaeda has been decimated. Osama bin Laden is dead.” Hayes notes, “The president would tout the imminent demise of al Qaeda more than two dozen times between those attacks and Election Day.”
Finally, this past Wednesday, CIA director Mike Pompeo announced the release of “nearly 470,000 additional files” from the Abbottabad raid.
Hayes delineates how the documents show a much closer relationship between al Qaeda and Iran than had been heretofore assumed. He points out that Obama in his first term centered on how George W. Bush had allegedly ruined the war on terror but the second term was focused on making a deal with the Iranian government. He adds:
In a manner of speaking, Barack Obama wanted what al Qaeda already had: a mutually beneficial partnership with Tehran. Revealing to the American people the truth about Osama bin Laden’s cozy working relationship with the Iranian government might have fatally undermined that diplomatic quest, just as the ongoing vitality of al Qaeda, amply testified to in the bin Laden documents, would have contradicted Obama’s proud claims in 2012 that al Qaeda was “on the run.” So Obama, with the eager cooperation of some in the intelligence community, bottled up the bin Laden documents and ran out the clock.
And he succeeded.