White House to Congress: Who wants to see the Bin Laden death photos?

posted at 8:14 pm on May 10, 2011 by Allahpundit

A good idea if only to help assuage doubts that they really do exist, but it turns out there aren’t many doubts in need of assuaging. According to PPP, just seven percent of the public think that Bin Laden’s still alive. There are more Republicans who think so than Democrats, but it’s an almost even split between McCain voters vs. Obama voters. The only segment that shows strong-ish skepticism about OBL’s death is … Birthers, 47 percent of whom think he’s still kicking. Obama’s certification of live birth from Hawaii wasn’t good enough to dispel doubts about his birthplace but Obama’s say-so about taking out the world’s most wanted terrorist is?

Maybe it was Al Qaeda’s confirmation that swayed them.

The viewings will take place at CIA headquarters in northern Virginia at a time to be decided, the official said…

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, confirmed that the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee would be give the opportunity.

Asked whether she planned to avail herself of it, she told CNN, “I actually haven’t thought much about it, but I likely will.”

Joe Lieberman’s also planning to go because it’ll provide closure “in a way,” but both Jack Reed and McCain intend to pass. Said Maverick, drily, “I’ve seen enough dead people.” In case you missed it over the weekend, fully 64 percent of the public supports O’s decision not to release the photos, a result I found shocking given the extent of the celebrations over taking him out. I wonder if that’s a nod to decency or simply not wanting to give jihadis any new pretexts for rrrrrrrrrrage. And I wonder, now that Congress gets to see them, whether those numbers will change.

Speaking of things taken from the compound, CBS has a mini-scoop about America’s intelligence windfall:

CBS News correspondent David Martin reports that more is also being learned about what happened when the SEALs went in to get him, including the fact that a painstaking effort was made to collect valuable evidence at the compound.

The target was bin Laden, but a U.S. official says the terrorist leader was killed “relatively early” in the operation. “At least half” the 40 minutes the Navy SEALs spent on the ground went into collecting lap tops, hard drives, CDs and paper files…

A task force is now working around-the-clock to analyze and exploit that intel, and not just the videos released over the weekend, but a staggering 2.7 terabytes of data, the equivalent of 220 million pages of text. A U.S. official says the task force comes up with another intelligence nugget on the average of once an hour, including leads on everything from other terrorists leaders to how bin laden communicated with the rest of al Qaeda.

Actually, there are two scoops there. One is the amazing rate at which they’re putting new pieces of the Al Qaeda jigsaw together, but the other is the timeline. According to a WaPo piece published the day after the raid, the SEALs didn’t come face-to-face with Bin Laden until half an hour into the operation. Later in the same article, WaPo says, “The commandos moved inside, and finally reached bin Laden’s upstairs living quarters after nearly 40 minutes on the ground.” The raid was only 40 minutes long, which means in WaPo’s telling they must have killed him at the very end and then evacuated immediately. Realistically, though, it couldn’t have happened that way; they wouldn’t have spent time ransacking the lower floors for intel not knowing yet whether OBL was upstairs, whether he was preparing a bomb or trying to escape, etc. They must have moved quickly to take him out, as CBS suggests, and then spent another 20-25 minutes looking for intelligence material. Consider this yet another wholly needless discrepancy in the tale of what really happened, then, thanks to U.S. officials who couldn’t be bothered to get their facts straight before running to the media. Which reminds me — your exit question via Jonah Goldberg: Why was Obama so quick to tell the world that we’d gotten this guy when we could have conceivably used some of the intel to nab other Al Qaeda figures before they found out?


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