October 04, 2012
By KIMBERLY DOZIER Associated Press
A new book says President Barack Obama hoped to put Osama bin Laden on trial, showing the U.S. commitment to due process under law, if the al-Qaida leader had surrendered during a U.S. raid in Pakistan last year.
In “The Finish,” journalist Mark Bowden quotes the president as saying he thought he would be in a strong political position to argue in favor of giving bin Laden the full rights of a criminal defendant if bin Laden went on trial for masterminding the Sept. 11 attacks.
But Bowden says Obama expected bin Laden to go down fighting. A team of Navy SEALs raided bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011 and killed the terrorist leader.
The Associated Press purchased a copy of “The Finish,” which is due to come out Oct. 16, a few weeks before the presidential election. The revelation that Obama hoped to capture bin Laden may provide political fodder for Republicans who have criticized the Obama administration for trying to bring terrorists from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and overseas to trials in U.S. courts.
“Frankly, my belief was if we had captured him, that I would be in a pretty strong position, politically, here, to argue that displaying due process and rule of law would be our best weapon against al-Qaida, in preventing him from appearing as a martyr,” Obama is quoted saying in an interview with Bowden.
Obama believed that affording terrorists “the full rights of criminal defendants would showcase America’s commitment to justice for even the worst of the worst,” Bowden writes.
Obama had expressed similar views as a presidential candidate.
New York congressman Peter King said he would have been “totally opposed” to a trial.
“To give him a forum and all the constitutional protections that a U.S. citizen would receive when he was clearly a war criminal is part of the defensive and apologetic attitude” of the Obama administration, the Republican said.
U.S. officials have said the Navy team was ordered to capture bin Laden if he surrendered or kill him if he threatened them. Bowden asserts that the SEALs could have taken bin Laden alive but had no intention of doing so.
In a separate account of the raid that was published last month, one member of the Navy team, Matt Bissonnette, wrote that the SEALS climbed a stairway inside the compound and opened fire when bin Laden poked his head around a doorway. Bissonnette wrote that bin Laden’s hands were concealed and the SEALS presumed he was armed, so they shot him.
Bowden’s extensive access to top figures, including the president and high-ranking officials in the Pentagon and CIA, may revive criticism from Republicans that the White House allegedly leaks about the raid to burnish its foreign policy record during an election year.
Bowden, known for the book “Black Hawk Down” about a 1993 U.S. military operation in Somalia, details how the White House planned the mission and explains that the specific American team was chosen because it had “already successfully conducted about a dozen secret missions inside Pakistan.”
The recounting of the raid matches most previous versions. But Bowden also offers new insights in what sounds like the first-person perspective of the officer who commanded it on the ground, Adm. Bill McRaven. Scott Manning, a spokesman for the publisher, says “McRaven is not identified as a source in the book.”
McRaven was able to monitor all Pakistani communications during the raid from his command post at a base in Afghanistan, according to Bowden. The account shows that Pakistani authorities were unaware of the raid as it happened, giving the Americans breathing room to fly in a backup helicopter to replace the one that had crashed while depositing the first batch of SEALs in the compound.
After McRaven told then-CIA director Leon Panetta he had a “Geronimo” call — the radio code that meant the SEALs had found bin Laden — the admiral realized he had not asked whether bin Laden was dead or had been captured.
McRaven checked again with the SEALs on the ground before relaying that bin Laden had likely been killed. But McRaven cautioned Panetta to “manage his expectations” until they had more definitive proof, by comparing his photographs with the dead man.
Later, McRaven told the president that he felt sure that they killed bin Laden but said the military needed to complete DNA analysis to be certain, Bowden writes.
The book’s publication may complicate the Pentagon's attempts to punish Bissonnette for his book. Writing under the pseudonym Mark Owen, Bissonnette published “No Easy Day” without submitting it for a security review by the Pentagon. Bowden was under no such requirement to have the book vetted because he was not a government or military employee.
By Jennifer Bihm
and Brian W. Carter
State Senator Curren Price is vying for Los Angeles City Council’s 9th District seat, he announced recently, citing a flurry of support from local businesses, community and clergy members as his motivation. Price is joining an array of candidates in the race to fill the seat, which will be vacated by termed-out council member and mayoral hopeful, Jan Perry, in 2013. Price said he sees the job in the 9th as an opportunity to “really make a change.”
“I recognize the ability to deal with issues, deal with problems at the local level—where the rubber meets the road,” he said.
Currently presiding over the 26th senate district, Price would still be representing a large percentage of his constituents as councilmember.
“The 26th Senate District is vast and diverse including the areas around USC, LA Live and parts even further east,” said Price.
“I think that I have the background training to bring problem-solving to a new level and really make a difference—an impact to people in this area.”
Price said he is adopting the phrase, the “New 9th,” to describe the new energy, commitment and enthusiasm he expects to bring as councilmember. Some of the areas he will focus on are: jobs, housing, civic engagement and new initiatives.
“I want to be an advocate to make sure the city is getting it’s fair share of public works,” said Price.
“Making sure streets are swept, alleys are clean, working with neighborhood councils, block clubs—bringing private sectors and non-private sectors together in a collaborative way is where we have to proceed.”
Also high on his agenda is education, and Price has plans to work closely with elementary schools, encouraging more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs and increasing learning centers throughout the district.
“The New 9th is ripe for innovation,” said Price. “I want to advance programs that have great applicability, not just in the district, but city wide.
“One area that I will pursue will be the use of social impact bonds to solve some of our most pressing social needs such as affordable housing, health and human services delivery and reducing recidivism in the criminal justice system. This innovative financing tool will allow for private sector investment to resolve some of the most intractable problems in our community. The private sector would like to invest in improving outcomes in our community and the ideal method is the use of social impact bonds. Social impact bonds allow for non-profit service providers to receive much needed funding from the private sector in order to continue to improve the quality of life for residents.”
In announcing his endorsement of Price, Council President Herb Wesson said, “Sen. Price is the best candidate for the job. He has served the city of L.A. and the community well over the years, and his history has demonstrated that.” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas has echoed those same sentiments. And according to the Senator, he is also endorsed by Congresswoman Karen Bass.
By JULIE PACE Associated Press
Forget about a date night. President Barack Obama and wife Michelle marked their wedding anniversary with a debate night.
The couple's 20th anniversary was October 3, the same day the president held his first debate with Republican rival Mitt Romney. "Go figure," the first lady said in a recent television interview.
The president said he and his wife planned a belated anniversary celebration for Saturday. His campaign is also asking supporters to sign an electronic anniversary card for the first couple.
The Obamas at least spent their anniversary in the same city, a rarity given that both are frequently in battleground states in the campaign's final weeks. Mrs. Obama was in the audience in Denver when her husband took the debate stage.
By SARA BURNETT Associated Press
U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s wife said her husband is seeing his doctor two to three times a week and that she doesn't know if he will return to work before the Nov. 6 election.
Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson told reporters the congressman is eager to "get back out and do what he can" but that his physicians have directed him to "stay very calm and very quiet."
"Right now he knows he has to follow doctors' orders," she said.
She said his physicians will decide when the Chicago Democrat can return to work.
The 47-year-old congressman took a medical leave about three months ago, though his staff did not initially disclose what illness he was suffering from or where he was. It was later revealed he had been hospitalized suffering from bipolar disorder and gastrointestinal problems.
Jackson, who was first elected to Congress in 1995, left the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in September and returned to the family's home in Washington. He vowed to return to the campaign trail by Labor Day but hasn't made a campaign appearance since the spring primary election. His name remains on next month's ballot.
The family recently put its Washington home up for sale but took it off the market because people who were not serious about buying it were showing up at the house, Sandi Jackson said.
She said the family was still trying to sell the home privately and hoped it will help cover some of Jackson's medical bills not covered by insurance.
Special to the NNPA from the St. Louis American
Rapper Lil Wayne has officially topped Elvis Presley as the male artist with the most entries on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
According to data released by Billboard, Lil Wayne has placed 109 songs on the chart, surpassing Elvis Presley’s record of 108 songs.
Game’s latest track “Celebration” features Lil Wayne, alongside Chris Brown, Tyga and Wiz Khalifa.
The track recently debuted on the charts and Lil Wayne’s appearance allowed him to surpass “the King of Rock & Roll” for most records placed on the chart.
Information from Allhiphop.com and Billboard.com contributed to this report.
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