Large Batch Of Terrorist Intel Gone, Documents Discovered “Missing” Night Before Trump Inauguration
Less than 24 hours before leaving office, the Obama administration, upon releasing 49 documents seized by Navy Seals in their 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, declared that all of those documents were now declassified.
But despite releasing a total number of 571 documents over a six-year period, over 1 million remain in classified status.
Why the discrepancy? Based on how the Obama administration dealt with the documents they did release, the answer may have less to do with government snafus, or a hidden effort to protect national security or intelligence assets overseas, and more to do with protecting Obama’s performance as commander-in-chief regarding the War On Terror.
After delivering the kill shot to the mastermind of the 9-11 attacks, Navy Seals recovered documents in Osama bin Laden’s compound and turned them over to the administration’s intelligence agencies.
The intelligence agencies were astounded by the very breadth of the recovered documents. Thomas Donilon, who at the time was Obama’s National Security Adviser, told NBC News that the recovered documents could fill “a small college library.” A Pentagon official told reporters that the bin Laden documents was “the single largest collection of senior terrorist” material.Unidentified sources were more specific, telling the Weekly Standard that there were over 1 million bin Laden documents in the administration’s possession.
But although the assassination of Osama bin Laden seemingly validated the administration’s policies regarding the War On Terror, the recovered documents nevertheless would challenge the president’s narrative regarding the health of al Qaeda.
During his two terms in office, then-President Barack Obama claimed that his policies had al Qaeda “on the run” and “decimated.” After receiving the bin Laden documents, Obama used them to make the case that al Qaeda was on “the path to defeat.”
The administration based these statements on the bin Laden documents supposedly revealing that the U.S. military had forced bin Laden to go to ground, and was so cut off from his comrades that he couldn’t communicate with them.
Obama campaigned on this interpretation, applying bin Laden’s alleged situation of being cut off from his terrorist comrades to the condition of al Qaeda as a whole. Obama stated that al Qaeda was on the “path to defeat.”
John Brennan, Obama’s chief counter-terrorism adviser, predicted, based on the bin Laden documents, that within the “decade” al Qaeda would be destroyed.
As expected, the mainstream media ran with this interpretation. After being shown a “small sample of the thousands of items from bin Laden’s compound,” David Ignatius of The Washington Post concluded that bin Laden “lived in a constricted world, in which he and his associates were hunted so relentlessly by U.S. forces that they had trouble giving the simplest communications.”
Ignatius wrote that bin Laden knew his time was limited. Bin Laden realized, Ignatius wrote, that he was “losing.”
But this interpretation of bin Laden unable to give even “the simplest communications” would be proven invalid by competing information, the very documents released by the White House, and even those in the administration.
Proof that the documents were cherry-picked by the administration was provided by Obama’s own national security adviser, Tom Donilon. Upon reading the bulk of the bin Laden documents mere days after the raid of bin Laden’s compound, Donilon told NBC News that the recovered documents showed that bin Laden was far from cut off from his comrades. Instead, Donilon said, bin Laden was in active communication with a comprehensive network, and was receiving updated information from contacts all over the world.
David Ignatius, who previously seconded the Obama narrative, now concurred with Donilo’s assessment. After viewing a new batch of documents released in 2015, the reporter wrote that bin Laden was “directing a terrorist ‘great game’ from his secret lair in Pakistan.”
And Obama’s claims to the contrary, al Qaeda is far from “decimated.” Today, the United States is faced with a healthy al Qaeda movement extending from West Africa to South Asia.
All of this begs the question: What was the administration hiding in the over 1 million unreleased documents?
A Republican congressman, who fought a five year battle with the Obama administration to release more documents, believes that those still classified will further destroy Obama’s assertion that al Qaeda was on the ropes.
Responding to the administration’s eleventh hour assertion that the case of the bin Laden documents was closed, Representative David Nunes, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said that “the old administration may want this closed, but it’s far from closed.”
Nunes was not just basing this statement on how the administration cherry-picked the released documents. Nunes was told by analysts who worked on the unreleased documents that the documents contradicted Obama’s assertion that al Qaeda was in its death throes. Coupled with these conversations was how the administration dealt with Nunes’ request for releasing more documents not harmful to American security. The request was rejected and Nunes was never told why.
Nevertheless, Nunes believes his long battle to get all the bin Laden documents released is at an end now that the Obama administration is out of office and a new Republican president is in power.
“Now the truth will begin to come out,” Nunes said.
“It’s just the beginning,” he added.
He may be right. One of the pitfalls for presidents out of power is that there are no longer those who can manipulate the levers of government power to protect their president. A congressional committee made public documents hidden under the rubric of national security that revealed that JFK used the Mafia to assassinate Fidel Castro. Congress made public then-President Richard Nixon’s Watergate tape comments about paying off the Watergate burglars.
Still liberal Democratic presidents like Barack Obama have the media on their side, but even that might not be enough when and if the over 1 million documents are released. Obama could stand revealed as a president who hid from the American public what should be their public property.