NPR interviewed former National Intelligence Director John Negroponte this morning. Steve Inskeep asked a too-long question about the multi-year intelligence work that resulted in yesterday’s attack on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan:
Did some of this happen while you were National Intelligence Director? Would this be the kind of level of detail that would get to the desk of some of the highest people in the intelligence hierarchy, of someone in the White House, if you just had a bit of information like, we think we might have a courier, would that be the kind of thing that–
Well, let’s put it this way: the President, President Obama said, and certainly President Bush before him, said that this was the, uh, highest, uh, priority. Very often when representatives or leaders of the intelligence or law enforcement community would come in to brief President Bush, one of the first questions he’d always ask, partly in jest, but also deadly serious, “Have you found him yet?”
I mean, this has been a major preoccupation of our leadership ever since 9/11 occurred.
Reminds me of GWB pretending to look for WMDs under the table at the White House Correspondents Dinner.
Also reminds me just how little we actually know of the hunt for OBL between Tora Bora and Abbottabad. The media likes to call itself the first version of history, so we should expect that large chunks of it will be fact-checked, corrected, or thrown out entirely.