It’s been said that the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden was carried out flawlessly. I tend to agree with that, but it seems that from the instant he was killed, the professionals called it a day — and the amateurs have been running the show ever since.
In my opinion, once Bin Laden was dead and his body removed, the operation should have one final step: remove all survivors from the compound and then level it. Bombs, missiles, placed demolition charges, whatever — it should have been left a smoking crater.
Not to serve as an exclamation point. Not as an act of revenge, or a demonstration of power. But simply as a way to tidy up the whole area, to deny the enemy of vital intelligence of just what we did, what we found, what we took with us.
Such as those photos Reuters apparently bought from a Pakistani security official. (No link; they’re really graphic. But if you’ve seen them, you know what I mean — and if you haven’t, you can find them readily enough.) One of them shows one of Bin Laden’s companions lying on the floor in a pool of blood — and there are a bunch of computer cables in the corner of the photo. I’m a bit of a computer hardware nerd, and when I see a grouping of cables like that — monitor cable, several USB cables — it says one thing to me: they were hooked up to a PC, and that PC was taken. So we know that there was a PC there, and the US now has it. And, presumably, all the data contained on that PC’s hard drives.
Which means that our enemies know that we now have access to all the information that Bin Laden had on his computer. And now that they know it’s been compromised, they can immediately get started on damage control.
Plus, destroying the compound would have gone even further towards protecting the secrets of our helicopter that we had to abandon.
But all that would have been moot, because our foes wouldn’t have to crawl over the rubble to figure out what we found and what we took.
Because the Obama administration has been telling everyone who would listen just what we recovered from the compound.
We announced we recovered computers, hard drives, flash drives, CDs, DVDs, and all sorts of papers. Which means they can assume that everything that Bin Laden knew is now in our hands.
We announced we found money and phone numbers sewn into Bin Laden’s clothing. Those phones can now be assumed to no longer exist.
By making it abundantly clear just what we took from the compound, what we found, we’ve lost most of the utility of that information. Imagine a thief stealing someone’s credit card, then calling up the victim to mock them and brag of all the things they were going to buy on that credit card.
In the intelligence world, one of the most important phrases are “sources and methods.” You never divulge the sources of your information, nor the methods you used to get them. It puts those sources and methods at risk, and compromises future operations. It’s simply not done.
Here, we’ve not only compromised our “methods,” we’ve bragged about it — “taken a victory lap,” to coin a phrase — before we’ve had the full opportunity to exploit the information we’ve obtained.
And for the dumbest of reasons — pride. Hubris. Ego. It wasn’t enough for the Obama administration to brag how they had finally done something the Bush administration couldn’t do. They had to make sure everyone knew how smart, how tough, how decisive, how manly, how aggressive, how effective they were.
Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.
— Proverbs 16:18
Update: for a few good laughs, go and snicker at George Soros Buttboy Oliver Willis, who ignores all this to point to the REAL breach of national security — a Senator let slip that Bin Laden dodged the first bullet. Good lord, Oliver — I understand that smearing Republicans and covering for Democrats is how you pay the bills, but even you ought to be ashamed over how lame this one is.