Bush officials: Good job Obama but...
May 3rd, 2011
02:13 PM ET
7 years ago

Bush officials: Good job Obama but...

Washington (CNN) - Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld applauded the successful mission to kill Osama bin Laden under the Obama administration, but also highlighted the pivotal role their team played in the search for America's most wanted terrorist.

"It was also important that President Bush put in place counterterrorism strategies and policies, efforts that the military and intelligence have been making over the years," Rice told CNN's "American Morning" on Tuesday. "To work together better to achieve that kind of level of integration didn't happen yesterday. This is something that has been happening for quite a long time."

Rice said that the discovery of bin Laden's whereabouts was made possible by intelligence gathered during the Bush administration, pointing to how the roundup of al Qaeda field generals such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in 2003 and Abu Faraj al Libi in 2005, helped provide the link to bin Laden's courier, who ultimately lead C.I.A operatives to the compound where bin Laden was staying.

"We all have to realize that war on terror, the fight against terrorists, is a tough fight, and the key is information," Rice said. "Now let's remember that in the early days, we knew very little about how al Qaeda operated and the roundup of their field generals like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed let us not just to learn that there was a courier, I remember when they learned there was a courier who might be a link to Osama bin Laden, but we also learned from those people about the structure of al Qaeda unfolding plot lines."

In a CNN interview on Tuesday, Rumsfeld recalled when the Bush administration was criticized for keeping seemingly low-level prisoners, who were drivers, chauffeurs, couriers, or bodyguards at Guantanamo Bay and defended Bush-era interrogation methods on detainees, such as waterboarding, saying such techniques were ultimately "enormously valuable" for intelligence gathering.

"It is those people that know the habits and locations of the senior people. It is a good thing that the people were held and that there were interrogations," Rumsfeld said. "That information was patched together over a period of time."

In Rumsfeld's opinion, the new reality following bin Laden's death does not necessarily change the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

"I think Osama bin Laden will be replaced by a successor. If we capture and kill them, that individual will be replaced. The people are determined. They are vicious. They are capable of raising money and recruiting people and training them to go out and kill innocent men, women, and children," Rumsfeld said.

Another member of the Bush administration, Retired Gen. Colin Powell, who served as secretary of state under Bush, told CNN on Monday that Obama handled the situation brilliantly.

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soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    On a more personal note I see that Condi continues to look like a Black female version of Alfred E. Newman (MAD magazine)
    Hint: Orthodontist and dermatologist.

    May 3, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  2. Jack

    All this defensiveness from the Bush gang. What's wrong? Are you all feeling that insecure? Give credit to Obama, uncondiitionally. This happened now–on Obama's watch. This is like after 9/11 when the Bush administration tried to blame Clinton for terrorist attack. They can only accept successes and not faiilures. If this had failed you would have heard mountains of criticism about how Obama dropped the ball. They'd all be shying away from it. Just let it go guys. Be gracious. Be generous. Stop trying to take credit for something that did not happen on your watch.

    May 3, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  3. Jetty

    Be honest and give credit where it is due. Obama is the president as Comander In Chief who re-focus the nation's resorces in the right place and finnally led to the killing of Osama Bin Laden. It is that simple!

    The suggestion that Bush Enhance Introgation Technique has helped trace Osama is as bogus as the notion that Bush Tax Cuts has created millions of Jobs during his tenue. The record is there for all to refer to.

    Stop the demaguery and urgell Democrats and Independents to rally behing President Obama to strengthen the recovering economy and create more jobs.

    Lean Forward

    May 3, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  4. jeff, alabama

    Turns out the interrogation
    methods the liberals criticized
    and the secret prisons they
    criticized paid off.
    Conservative methods have
    been keeping liberals safe
    for thousands of years.

    May 3, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    ALERT: Notice how Republicans have jumped to the occasion of bin Laden's death to take credit for the role they played. How about acknowledge the roll Bush and his administration played in this economic disaster, that won't take but a minute to acknowledge. Republicans are "cherry picking" 8 years to white wash Bush's failures on 911 and the economic disaster.

    May 3, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  6. Republican Robber Baron

    Shut your pieholes – Rice and Rumsfeld were complicit in the Iraq warmonging bait and switch lies. Rice you should go back to work at the Board of Directors at Chevron and name a few more supertankers in your honor. Rumsfeld should go write some more books to point fingers at everyone else but him.

    May 3, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  7. Crazy Town

    Why should anyone listen to anything Condy or Rummy have to say? They are the fools most responsible for getting us into the bottomless money-sucking American-youth-killing steaming heap of a quagmire we find ourselves stuck in today. It will take us decades more to get out. So, those two should just shut up and go far- far- away!

    May 3, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  8. w l jones

    Look like hind sight if you ask me. Bless.

    May 3, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  9. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    And yes, I'm angry, I don't like people taking me for a fool.

    May 3, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. Desmond in Canada

    No doubt, Ms Rice. Nobody is denying the years of ground work by the US intelligence network and the Bush Administration that led to the success of this operation. It is the cheap and grudging disposition of many on the current crop of GOPers that is pathetic eg. Falin Palin, etc. Not that she matters!

    May 3, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |

    Well, if they put in place the counterterrorism strategies and policies, then why couldn't they use the information to find Bin Laden?

    Good Job President Obama!!!! You proved that you don't have to beat your chest and speak loudly to get the job done.

    May 3, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. kobold

    Someone explain to me why Bush flew the Bin Laden family out of the country while every plane in the US was otherwise grounded?

    May 3, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. The Greedy Old Pigs love torture!

    Torture is wrong. Period. Full stop. I would rather have OBL alive and on the run than compromise US values.

    May 3, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  14. Sylvia

    As an independent, I wonder if these GOP people would be taking responsibility if the raid had failed?

    I suspect that if the mission had failed, soldiers had been killed, aircraft had crashed, like in the 1979 / 1980 attempt to rescue our hostages in Iran, the Rice & Cheney & Rumsfeld [not to mention Beck, Hannity, Palin, Trump, Limpbaugh, Gingrich, Angle, O'Connel, Bohner] would all be calling Mr. Obama, the next Jimmy Carter.

    It is so petty and weak for these Republicans to try to force their way, through former President (#43), onto the national scene and claim credit. They are really not relevant in the death of Osama bin Laden and I think it's kind of slimey for them to grab the mike .... they are the political equivalent of Kanye West.

    Their role was in allowing the country to be attacked in the 1st place. They are the ones that ignored the intelligence warnings. They are the ones that didnt' re-structure the intelligence assetts until AFTER our vulnerability was exploited. Despite what they say, THEY DIDN'T keep us SAFE. They dropped the ball at least TWO TIMES on their watch 9-11 and the Anthrax attacks.

    I don't have a problem with No 43's brief statement but the rest of these neo-cons should STFU.

    May 3, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  15. ST

    I don't get it why these former Bush people are forcing to get a credit. 9/11 happened in 2001. They were in power until 2008. All these years, why didn't they use those tech. and get bin Laden. Oh! wait a minute! their priority was Iraq.

    May 3, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  16. Ynotbbad

    I continue to be amazed at the Bush Administrations revision of history. Neither President Bush nor his former team had any significant input into the demise of Osama. These individuals are viewing their past with wonderful Rose colored glasses.

    May 3, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  17. jeff, alabama

    The methods of interrogation
    and the secret prisons that
    the liberals criticized paid off.
    Conservative methods have been
    saving liberals for thousands of

    May 3, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  18. khay

    Well ...Bush get lots of credit form Republicans for killing of Osama. But Obama gets blame from them for all the mess created by Bush and Co....double standard !!!!!!

    May 3, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. The Situation

    Of course that tool and senile old man isn't going to give the credit to Obama when they all didn't care in getting the man that master mind 9/11, they (Cheney,Rumsfield, Rice, Wolfwitz) didn't care about OBL, all they cared about was finishing off Saddam, by lying about their so-call intelligence report of WMD.

    May 3, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  20. Marie MD

    Yes rumsfeld remind us of the failed tactics of the shrub's administration. Maybe you could have sent cheney to afghanistan to shoot somebody, anybody in the face. Maybe if your boy the shrub had stayed the course instead of going to iraq this could have happened years ago. Then again, the intelligence level of that administration was pretty low. Never mind.

    May 3, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  21. simon

    Why Bush failed and Obama succeeded in finding Bin Laden.

    Bush acts primarily out of Warrior Instinct
    Obama acts primarily out of Hunting Instinct

    Ou Warrior Instinct motivates us to identify enemies.
    Our Hunting Instinct motivates us to solve problems.

    Now we can see how effective a president who acts out of Hunting Instinct can be.

    Our Hunting Instinct makes us focus on facts, figures, data, research and proof.
    It inspires us to find the most efficient way to resolve problems.

    Take an incident from Obama’s early days as president when he invited Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge police sergeant James Crowley
    over for a beer. This is true diplomacy inspired by Hunting Instinct. The purpose was to eliminate feelings that these people were enemies. And, to fix a problem.

    This is what Hunters do.

    The Warriors look at the Hunters as being weak, simply because they don’t act out of Warrior Instinct like they do. But they couldn’t be more wrong. Hunters have no problem pulling the trigger. They will do what it takes to solve a problem.

    What they will not do, is to attach emotional content to logistical situations, like Warriors do. That is what makes Warriors ineffective.

    It is the arrogance and forceful nature of the Warriors that actually CAUSES people to become their enemies. They CREATE enemies with their own behavior.

    Declaring a global war on terror, and invading countries and occupying them is not an efficient way to resolve a problem. It is the short sighted Warrior Instinct way.
    It is expensive, unsustainable and ultimately ineffective, as we have seen over the last 10 years.

    Bush failed because he acts primarily out of Warrior Instinct. He would never had caught Bin Laden, because Bin Laden acted primarily out of Hunting Instinct.
    Hunters see Warriors coming from miles away.
    It took a Hunter to catch another Hunter.

    And that is why Obama succeeded.

    Now, imagine if we had used this approach to taking Saddam Hussein out of power.
    Research and intelligence monitoring for his location, and then a 40 minute surgical strike by our Navy Seals. Not one US casualty.
    Could we have spared ourselves this economic collapse, and the spiraling debt?

    May 3, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  22. JP

    If the intelligence was gathered during the GWB's term, why didn't this happen then. Did it not happen because ol' gwb was/is good friends with the bin laden's, which sorta makes it hard to go after their family. Anyways, you made a few policies, but obviously you couldn't connect the dots. How good is a terrorism policy when it takes 2-4-6 years before it yields any information?

    May 3, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  23. Squealy

    I think they need to review the video shot some time after 9/11 of Bush telling the press that he didn't know where Bin Laden was, didn't think it was very important, and really didn't spend much time thinking about it. That was said because they never did find him after stating it was THE most important post-9/11 mission of all, and they had to save face. And, to distract, they go bomb Iraq instead. Yeah, thanks Bush administration.

    May 3, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    Rice: "Now let's remember that in the early days, we knew very little about how al Qaeda operated ..."

    What I remember is the Bush Administration ignoring the Clinton transition team telling them that al Qaeda and bin Laden were the most important threat.

    I remember the Bush Administration belittling and ignoring Richard Clarke, Clinton's chief counter-terrorism adviser on the National Security Council.

    I remember the Bush Administration ignoring the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing entitled, "Al Qaeda determined to attack the US" and specifying that attack using airplanes. And guess what happened on 9/11?

    I remember GW Bush letting bin Laden slip over the Pakistani border shortly thereafter. (Tora Bora, anyone?)

    I remember GW Bush saying in 2006 that capturing bin Laden is “not a top priority use of American resources.” This was a full year after bin Laden had built his house in Pakistan.

    That's what I remember ....

    May 3, 2011 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  25. pc

    why can't they simply give it up and let our president have this moment. g. bush was an idiot that openly said he was not worried about bin laden, all the republicans wanted was to kill sadamm an get the oil. even mccain openly said he would not go into pakastan to look for bin laden. this is the presidents moment and NO ONE elses!
    president obama did what he said he would do and not one american lost his life while over 4000 men and women died over the fake war bush sent our children into to fight a fake cause. bush is a war criminal and if he gets any recognition it should be he goes to jail.

    May 3, 2011 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
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