Even in Victory, this Administration Makes Errors
by ANNEMARIE MCAVOY
May 5, 2011
It was a major victory for American forces that they were able to kill Usama Bin Laden. However, there were major errors that were made that will haunt us for years.
First of all, they should have done everything they could to take Bin Laden alive. He would have been a treasure trove of information about on-going plots, about others involved in terrorism, and about the overall structure of Al Qaeda today.
Secondly, the fact that the body was disposed of so quickly was another significant blunder. Even photos will not be enough to prove to the world that he was in fact killed. After all, everyone knows pictures can be photoshopped now. The US should have at least held onto the body long enough to have representatives from some foreign governments or the UN come in to conduct their own independent testing to verify the death. Once again, this Administration was more worried about political correctness for a mass murderer than doing what they should have with the body.
The President has now announced that he will not release the photos. That is another miscalculation. There has to be some verification given to the world that Usama Bin Laden is in fact dead. Since the body has already been disposed of, all that is left are the photos. While it is far from ideal to have to release them, we have no choice but to do so. Otherwise, it will be left to speculation world-wide as to whether he was really killed.
Finally, the Administration neglected to take with them those who lived with Bin Laden. They were left for the Pakistani’s to interrogate. The best source of information is always human intelligence, or what can be learned from speaking to people. The women living in the compound with Bin Laden knew who was coming and going from the compound. They may know codes used on the materials that were seized at the site which could help the US understand what is in them. They may even have information about on-going plots to kill Americans. To now leave their interrogation up to a country which harbored Bin Laden for years is an outrage. Given the type of compound in which Bin Laden lived, so close to a Pakistani military facility, the Pakistani’s were willfully blind, and best, to Bin Laden’s being there. They cannot be trusted to fully interrogate these people, and to give us all the information that they may learn from them. Also, they certainly will not do as thorough a job questioning them as the US CIA, military or FBI would be able to do.
While it was a victory to kill Bin Laden, we cannot forget that the US is still at war. This was one battle, and we must be vigilant to protect against the next attack. That includes gathering as much information as we can as quickly as possible from the sources available to us.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributor Annemarie McAvoy is a former federal prosecutor. She currently is a consultant and teaches Counter-Terrorism, Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing at Fordham Law School in New York City.