The Corner

Gonzales: Obama Sent Military, Not FBI

In ordering the raid on Osama bin Laden’s hiding spot, President Obama evinced a military-minded approach to the War on Terror, former attorney general Alberto Gonzales tells National Review Online. “He did not send the FBI into Pakistan to retrieve Osama bin Laden as if he were a common criminal,” Gonzales observes. “He sent our military because this is a war. And Osama bin Laden is a military target; he’s a military leader.”

Reports are circulating that the U.S. procured the name of bin Laden’s courier from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the infamous resident of Guantanamo Bay. “I’m not going to speak to the suggestion that information came from detainees or interrogations,” Gonzales says. “I would just say generally it’s important in this conflict to get information any way you can that’s constitutional. I’m gratified to see many of the same policies adopted by the Bush administration have been continued by the Obama administration, including the legal framework that this is not a [criminal-system issue].”

As for the news’ larger significance, Gonzales is quick to caution: “Without knowing what the succession [of al-Qaeda leadership] is going to look like, all of us are just guessing. Clearly, it’s no longer a hierarchy; it’s more of a network and it consists of franchises around the world.” Bin Laden was “more of a symbolic figure.”

Nonetheless, Gonzales views the news as a victory. “I welcome the news. It satisfied me, it gave me relief, and I think President Obama and his team deserve a great deal of credit.”

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