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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Valerie Jarrett, Military Strategist?



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The Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt features a look at whether a U.S. presidential candidate should worry about angering the Palestinians, a happy couple in the Obama campaign and press corps, and then this…

Did Valerie Jarrett Really Veto Some Strikes Against bin Laden? Really?

As mentioned in yesterday’s Three Martini Lunch, I’m not convinced this is the most fertile ground for a criticism of Obama:

At the urging of Valerie Jarrett, President Barack Obama canceled the operation to kill Osama bin Laden on three separate occasions before finally approving the May 2, 2011 Navy SEAL mission, according to an explosive new book scheduled for release August 21. The Daily Caller has seen a portion of the chapter in which the stunning revelation appears.

In ”Leading From Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him,“ Richard Miniter writes that Obama canceled the “kill” mission in January 2011, again in February, and a third time in March. Obama’s close adviser Valerie Jarrett persuaded him to hold off each time, according to the book.

Miniter, a two-time New York Times best-selling author, cites an unnamed source with Joint Special Operations Command who had direct knowledge of the operation and its planning.

First, I think highly of Richard Miniter, but how would this unnamed source with Joint Special Operations Command know that it was Jarrett who was persuading the president to put off the strike? JSOC would know about the delay, but would they be privy to Obama’s conversations with Jarrett? Do the sources know she was the reason for the delay, or do they think she was the reason for the delay?

Either way, I figure the Obama administration would love to make the next 99 days as much about the Osama bin Laden strike as possible. Because no matter how convoluted or complicated the decision-making process was, the conversation always ends with… “and then we got him.” Score one for the incumbent.

However, Jeff Goldstein says we ought to recognize the risk involved in Obama’s decision: “I think Miniter is being a little tough on the President here, frankly.  And that’s because Obama had a very good reason for delaying the kill mission:  namely, that Valerie Jarrett can be quite unpleasant — hell, downright mean — when she doesn’t get her way.”

For what it’s worth, Moe Lane is skeptical: “…largely because I have a definite dislike of anonymous allegations, particularly when they’re not backed up by any other evidence.  I find it at least mildly difficult to believe that people would have been able to keep this a secret for this long; this isn’t the Bush administration, which means that there’s no inherent loyalty there.  It’s not impossible, but I am definitely wary of any unsourced allegation that happens to reinforce my already low opinion of this administration.

Put another way: apparently Valerie Jarrett made enemies like Rahm Emanuel and Robert Gibbs at times. You don’t think guys like that would leak something like that if they knew, in an effort to undermine her influence?


Tags: Barack Obama


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