The Corner

About That ‘Gutsy Call’

Ben Shapiro, writing at the Breitbart sites:

Today, Time magazine got hold of a memo written by then-CIA head Leon Panetta after he received orders from Barack Obama’s team to greenlight the bin Laden mission. Here’s the text, which summarized the situation:

Received phone call from Tom Donilon who stated that the President made a decision with regard to AC1 [Abbottabad Compound 1]. The decision is to proceed with the assault.

The timing, operational decision making and control are in Admiral McRaven’s hands. The approval is provided on the risk profile presented to the President. Any additional risks are to be brought back to the President for his consideration. The direction is to go in and get bin Laden and if he is not there, to get out. Those instructions were conveyed to Admiral McRaven at approximately 10:45 am.

A couple of points. One is that this is entirely consistent with standard practice and the rule of law. Military operations are led by senior flag officers but under civilian control; it’s the president’s job to set broad policy — in this case, to “get” bin Laden — and the military’s job to figure out how best to carry it out. Panetta’s memo is entirely consistent with normal command structure.

Vice Admiral William McRaven is one of the most esteemed officers in the Navy, a former SEAL and the current head of the U.S. Special Operations Command. At the time of the bin Laden raid, he was leading the Joint Special Operations Command.

The operation was conducted by Admiral McRaven — who is no rear-echelon desk jockey, but one of the most highly esteemed  

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