President Obama stepped up to a podium in the East Room of the White House that night to announce bin Laden’s death. That rapid announcement, explained Pfarrer, posed a major threat to U.S. national security.
“There was a choice that night,” Pfarrer told TheDC. “There was a choice to keep the mission secret.” America, Pfarrer explained, could have left things alone for “weeks or months … even though there was evidence left on the ground there … and use the intelligence and finish off al-Qaida.”
But Obama’s announcement, he said, “rendered moot all of the intelligence that was gathered from the nexus of al-Qaida. The computer drives, the hard drives, the videocasettes, the CDs, the thumb drives, everything. Before that could even be looked through, the political decision was made to take credit for the operation.”
And in the days that followed, as politicians sought to thrust their identities into the details of the bin Laden kill, the tale began to grow out of control, said Pfarrer.
“The president made a statement, and as far as that goes, that was fine, that was the mission statement,” he explained. “But, soon after … politicians began leaking information from every orifice. And it was like a game of Chinese telephone. These guys didn’t know what they were talking about. Very few of them had even seen the video feed.”
The SEAL, Chuck Pfarrer, also says the OBL raid did not include a kill order. That doesn’t square with what then CIA chief Leon Panetta said later, which was that the mission included a kill order.
President Obama spent a great deal of his statement that night talking about himself; the Democrats later tried making the mission into some sort of evidence that Obama made a “gutsy call” to greenlight a mission against the world’s most wanted terrorist. If Pfarrer is right, then the gutsy call would have been to hold off spiking the football until the intel from OBL’s stash could have been gathered up and assessed a bit more.