The senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Saxby Chamblis, today said the Obama administration’s version of the Bin Laden raid differed from what CIA director Leon Panetta described to him on Sunday night.
The National Journal reports Chambliss as saying:
I’ll be honest, when I heard John Brennan make his comments on Monday, I thought, gee, ‘That’s not exactly what I heard on Sunday night.
A regular recipient of classified briefings Chambliss also added new information on the raid.
When the SEALs got to the third floor, Bin Laden looked around the corner in the room that he was in, down the hallway where the SEALs were. They shot at him, missed him …. He went back in the room, and that’s when the SEALs rushed in and shot him the first time
The White House initially said Bin Laden was shooting at the SEALs, then on Monday Press Secretary Jay Carney said Bin Laden had not been armed after all.
Initial White House reports also claimed Bin Laden shielded himself with a woman, another report that was contradicted by Carney.
The phone call Chambliss received Sunday night from CIA director Panetta also didn’t square with what Carney put out about woman and children being injured. In the Sunday telephone exchange Chambliss heard:
… That there were women and children in the compound, but no women or children had been injured…
Chambliss claims this type of confusion is normal after an action like the one on Sunday, and despite his extensive background in intelligence, he too was duped by fake death photos of Bin Laden. Regardless, he is certain Bin Laden is dead.
The order had been in existence since shortly after 9/11 that if you encounter Bin Laden you’ve got the authority to kill him. And I hope that’s what the SEALs went in there to do. It was appropriate.
George W. Bush signed orders allowing kill-or-capture missions that are still in effect today.