June 3rd, 2009
05:46 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama officials fire back at bin Laden

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (CNN) - This kingdom is the birthplace of Osama bin Laden, so it was interesting to see how the terrorist tried to overshadow President Obama's trip here by releasing a new audiotape threatening America on Wednesday.

Perhaps just as interesting is the fact that unlike their predecessors in the Bush White House, who tried their hardest to ignore bin Laden, Obama administration officials took the rare step of engaging the 9/11 mastermind by charging his latest threat is just a desperate attempt to try and upstage the president's trip.

"I don't think it's surprising that Al-Qaeda would want to shift attention away from the president's historic efforts, and continued efforts, to reach out and have an open dialogue with the Muslim world," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters during a press briefing here.

Related: Purported bin Laden tape slams U.S. role in Pakistan

It was a message reinforced by officials throughout the Obama administration: "I think the timing is pretty self-evident and it doesn't take a rocket scientist on this one," declared Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

P.J. Crowley, spokesman at the State Department, got into the act as well by teeing up the president's Thursday speech in Cairo by taunting bin Laden a bit.

"You have, you know, the leader of the free world speaking from one of the great cities in the world," said Crowley. "And you have the - you know, bin Laden speaking from an undisclosed, you know, location. And I think that speaks - that speaks volumes in terms of the contrast."

Crowley added, "So I think there will be a contrast between the, you know, Bin Laden's vision of intolerance and perpetual conflict and the president's message tomorrow offering a vision of peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, and interconnected world, you know, for the 21st century."

In private, top Obama officials are even blunter, claiming bin Laden feels threatened that Obama's outreach - coupled with his vow to shut down the prison at Guantanamo Bay - is pulling the terrorist's top recruiting tools off the table.

For his part, bin Laden charged in his audiotape: "Obama proved that he is walking the same road of his predecessors to build enmity among Muslims and increase the number of fighters against the U.S."


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (218 Responses)
  1. Nick 27, So Cal

    Sound like Leslie is a little paranoid!.. George bush Sr. and Jr. hold hands with the king of Saudi Arabia and much more.. share oil profits! I don't know what your smoking, but pass it over here!

    June 3, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  2. arithmetic is liberal

    Leslie, June 3rd, 2009 5:58 pm ET, is a hateful bigot, and Osama bin Laden is dead.

    June 3, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  3. yen

    It is time for B.Laden the peace way.Enough is enough.

    June 3, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  4. tell it like it is

    obama feels slighted that someone other than him would have the spotlight wherever he travels.

    June 3, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  5. John C.

    Anyone who belives the former President of the United States of America should be treated in the same manner as a terriost responsible for the deaths of over 3000 Americans should consider becoming a Saudi citizen or at least leaving this country – quickly !

    June 3, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  6. Marc in Virginia

    "I don't think it's surprising that Al-Qaeda would want to shift attention away from the president's historic efforts to shift attention away from the president's historic efforts, and continued efforts, to reach out and have an open dialogue with the Muslim world," "

    I hope the press secretary didn't phrase it like this otherwise he's an idiot. CNN, get some editors. I know you think everything Obama does is "historic" but there's no need to say it twice.

    June 3, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  7. Sick -n- Tired

    Hey Leslie, are you by any chance looking for attention? Or do you always make it a habit to spout off idiotic comments because you're actually a misinformed, moron? Anyway, having a clue is a wonderful thing you should give it a try sometime! That is of course after you graduate from Jr. High School!

    June 3, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. Canadian

    Leslie... you're stupid.
    Get an education.

    June 3, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  9. Phillip USN

    Could someone please deleate Leslie's comment? It's nothing but missinformation...

    June 3, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  10. ChicagoDB

    Leslie – Your ignorance is truly astounding.
    Seriously? You must have rocks for brains.

    June 3, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  11. Mike, NC

    Thanks to Bu$h giving bin Laden an exit pass, we're still hearing from him...

    June 3, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  12. Chris Squire

    Leslie, you've got serious psychological problems. Have you considered seeing a psychiatrist? They can prescribe medication that may be able to help you.

    June 3, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  13. L. Song

    This crazy person would get no play, would lose his power if news outlets would stop advertising every single one of his ravings – I blame CNN and all the news outlets for encouraging terrorism. You give these murderers all the attention in the world, while people who do good are ignored and can't get any media to save their lives. This guy is a criminal and he gets all the airplay he wants. If you ignored him – and let the government take care of it – he would fade away – but no, you want ratings and money and that is more important than a peaceful and healthy world.

    CNN, you should think about what you are doing.

    June 3, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  14. Baluga in Texas

    Bin Laden's dead, has been for years. Come on people, do you really think he's dragging a Kidney dialysis machine around with him in the desert?

    He's dead, these audio tapes are fakes. Get used to it.

    June 3, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  15. Brenda

    Oh Leslie, you blithering idiot, your kind just can't let go of the "he's Muslim" silliness. Feel sorry for you!

    June 3, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  16. rich, OH

    Leslie = undercover al-qaeda agent

    Careful what is said, CNN... Leslie and other sleeper cell terrorists are listening...

    June 3, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  17. Celeste

    Bid Laden is dead and they are placing these ads to keep us on edge. I can see Cheney pulling this out his rear. Reject Bid Laden and his friends! He kills his own people for no reason!

    June 3, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  18. AB

    Leslie – You sound like such an idiot spouting that Obama is a Muslim. Go listen to Rush some more

    June 3, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  19. gerry

    Bin Laden is painfully aware of President Obama's unprecedented outreach program to young Moslems and his rhetoric simply shows how scared he is the Presidents outreach will have huge impact.

    Thank you Mr. President.

    June 3, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  20. Celeste

    Leslie,
    you are just plain stupid. If we are shut of from the people who don't like us, we get less information. Give our President some credit. He is doing an amazing job and putting out fires all over the place.

    June 3, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  21. Gotti

    Leslie... your an idiot!!!

    June 3, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  22. KizzyMae

    Bin Laden is becoming just as relevant as Republicans, no one is listening.

    June 3, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  23. Andrew

    Leslie, you can't be serious...

    June 3, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  24. Mike in Minnesota

    So which is it Leslie? If Obama is Muslim, how could your side condemn him for spending too much time in a Christian church with Rev. Wright?

    Oh yeah. Facts don't matter.

    June 3, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  25. Constitution believer

    CNN, how can you possibly justify posting that comment from "Leslie" June 3rd, 2009 5:58 pm ET
    ?

    I often find my comments aren't posted, and my comments are never inflammatory, nor do I ever present outright lies.

    That comment is just offensive and should obviously have been "moderated" out.

    June 3, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
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