Bush-era leaders greet OBL raid with mixed Obama reviews
May 8th, 2011
02:21 PM ET
4 years ago

Bush-era leaders greet OBL raid with mixed Obama reviews

Washington (CNN) – Three of the biggest names in the administration of former President George W. Bush congratulated President Obama on Sunday for the capture of former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, while coming to the careful defense of their former boss.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said bin Laden's capture was the culmination of work by Bush and Obama.

"I was proud that over two presidencies we were persistent enough and patient enough to put together the picture that ultimately led to him," Rice said on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS." "You don't just stumble upon Osama bin Laden. It takes a lot of work to get there."

"And President Obama and his team are to be congratulated for doing that," she added.

Rice, who served as national security adviser during Bush's first term, called Obama's actions "brave," before labeling the mission a "victory across presidencies" and "a victory for having learned more how to fight the counter terrorism fight."

Although former Vice President Dick Cheney gave Obama "high marks" for his leadership and decision to send a Navy SEAL team into bin Laden's compound, his review was curtailed by his criticism of Obama's terrorist techniques.

"I still am concerned about the fact that I think a lot of the techniques that we had used to keep the country safe for more than seven years are no longer available," Cheney said on "Fox News Sunday." "They've been sort of taken off the table … It's not clear to me today if we still have an interrogation program that we can put somebody through should we capture a high-value detainee that had crucial information."

Cheney criticized the ongoing review by the Justice Department into CIA interrogation techniques under the Bush administration, action he said creates a "terrible precedent."

"It is an outrage we would go after the people who deserve the credit for keeping us safe for seven and a half years," Cheney said of the targeted government employees.

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who issued his own Obama praise with a caveat, also defended the enhanced interrogation techniques.

"I think that it's clear that, that those techniques that the CIA used, worked," Rumsfeld said. "To have taken them away and ruled them out I think may be a mistake."

While he said Obama made "the right decision" in Pakistan, the former White House chief of staff was critical of the intelligence roll-out that he said came mostly from the White House.

"The more information that goes out about intelligence, the greater the risks to our people and the less likelihood we're going to be able to capture and kill some of the people who would result from the intelligence-take there," Rumsfeld said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "I would have preferred a lot less discussion out of the White House about intelligence personally. My guess is that people in the Pentagon feel that way."

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soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. ja

    opinions are a dime a dozen, who cares, they have had their day in the sun

    May 8, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  2. mark o. worrell

    whiners and fatcats who politically ruined America in a brief eight years of economic thievery from bernie madden to unprosecuted banking, stock and insurances executives.

    to offer any criticism for something they couldn't and wouldn't get done themselves is absurd.

    May 8, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  3. Como

    And the author of this article neatly leaves out that the CIA interrogation methods were reviewed by a special prosecutor and the investigation vindicated the CIA and was offically closed in 2007. The great and inept Eric Holder started his investigation without reviewing the work done by the previous legal team. In a sense Holder has subjected the CIA officials to double jeopardy. Bungler.

    May 8, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. demogal

    No we will not return to the dark days of the Bush/Cheny/Rumsfeld (and their lackey, Rice) disregard for law and decency. As the United States of America, that is not who we are. Torture is not consistent with our national morality or values. We must be ever vigilant that we do not become that which we despise.

    May 8, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  5. Marjee123

    I do not understand how the Bush Administration policies was the reason bin laden was caught. If the process and procedures were so wonderful, how come the people in that administration did not get the job done. How come it took the Obama Administration to set up THEIR OWN PROCEDURES and get bin laden.

    It looks exactly what it was. The procedures the Bush Administration were not and did not work. The procedures set up by the Obama Administration similar to what Senator John Kerry had suggested when he was runing against cowboy, were the ones that helped get bin laden. THE ONES THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION ALL DOWN THE LINE MESSED THEIR TIGHTY WHITEY LITTLE DRAWERS SAYING WOULDN'T WORK.

    May 8, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    Hopefully Pakistan will be more aggressive in it's help to America ( and in consideration of the yearly $1.5 billion in aid that John Kerry has so generously provided to them ) capturing Zawahiri and other terrorists who are living safely within its borders.

    May 8, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  7. max

    Obama got him, Bush let him go at Tora Bora.

    May 8, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. allsfarinloveandwar

    "Cheney criticized the ongoing review by the Justice Department into CIA interrogation techniques under the Bush administration, action he said creates a "terrible precedent.""

    I'm a Democrat and supported Mr. Obama and even I see the double standard. We will never be united if this nonsense keeps up. Mr. President Stop the CIA Justice Department Review now.

    May 8, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. dennis freeman

    These people are no longer relevant. Cheney and Rumsfeld, along with Bush, were irresponsible leaders and liars. Rice was at the least ineffective, except for photo-ops. They should be quiet and quit trying to cover their fannies and re-write history.

    May 8, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. normajean

    Rumsfield and Cheney did not leave our country in very good condition when their terms were up, so I think it would be prudent for them to watch what they say at this time in our history. President Obama has tried very hard to clean up a mess than many men would have run away from. You who criticize could do no better. The opposition was on him before he had put even a year into his term. George Bush had years to go after Bin Laden but he was NOT INTERESTED!!!!. GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 8, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Dear former Bush-era leaders,
    Firstly, Obama got Osama. Get that right. Secondly, attempts to rewrite history are futile. We are not as dumb as you all look attempting to laud President Bush. He, President Bush, dumped the cost of two wars on the middle class and gave the wealthiest Americans tax cuts. I wish you all, especially you, Mr. Cheney and you, Mr. Rumsfeld, would just STFU and go back to the holes you belong in. Thank you and good riddance.

    May 8, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    As President Bush said in 2003, "I don't know where Bin Laudin is, I don't care where Bin Laudin is"....then he goes off to start a war in Iraq. Get these war criminals off the TV machine. They are very LUCKY President Obama did not prosecute them for war crimes. Believe me as one of the "BASE"...I am still screaming for war trials.

    May 8, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. KathyC in Minnesota

    In March of 2002, then President Bush declared at a Press Cpnference that "OBL was not much of a concern. We hadn't heard from him ina while. He's probably off hiding in a cave somewhere."

    In 2006, bush called ofof the search for OBL.

    It was the persistence of Obama to keep up the hunt. Score one for Obama. HE gets the CREDIT!!

    May 8, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. zoo zoo

    I think their comments are what one would expect of them, of course they are going to defend Bush they are Republicans and Bush was their boss. Pres. Bush did reorganize and tighten our covert intelligence departments. He had to, they give him the wrong information about Iraq and bin Laden was not only master mind behind the 9-11 attacks it was also Khalid Sheikh Muhammad. Khalid Sheikh Muhammad was every bit as dangerous as bin Laden.

    May 8, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. jennifer

    They would do well to learn to be gracious in failure... bad losers the bunch of them.

    May 8, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. vic , nashville ,tn

    I would have given G.W.Bush 60 % credit if we didn’t invade Iraq. 2003 to 2007 we more talk about Iraq. So we have to give Obama more credit.

    That one second when Obama decided take OBL down we proved to the world don’t mess with us. The fact is republicans or democrats they will go after our enemy. Obama focused on OBL more than Bush

    Next question is what percent Bush techniques worked very small percent

    Bush started the game because its happened when he was president yes good start but middle off the game he lost the interest

    So more credits to Obama

    May 8, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  17. deb

    Funny thing...the response from the terrorists who were water boarded went from no response to lying. And the critical info about the Currier's name originally came from someone else who had not been tortured during interrogation. Seriously–you guys from the Bush admin just need to admit you failed and let it go with that!

    May 8, 2011 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  18. marylandvoter

    president obama made the right choice, however, risky!

    May 8, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  19. Chris

    The fact is that what finally got Bin Laden was a very targeted, small scale intelligence and special ops mission. It was not the work of the massive, decade long "War on Terror" costing several thousands of lives and trillions of dollars, involving sending most of armed forces to Afghanistan and Iraq – the way Bush had imagined.

    May 8, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  20. peace

    what I dont understand is why bush, rice, cheney and other think that toture is what got obl. president Obama hav"nt said who was the people that tipped him off I think they are going to be in for a big surprise when he come out with what lead him to that compound.

    May 8, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  21. oysterboy

    Anyone who would defend torture represents the worst of humanity.

    May 8, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  22. Seattle Sue

    Three of the worst Americans alive. I was beginning to think Cheney was dead as I had not heard any hate from him or his daughter in a while.

    May 8, 2011 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. J-NW

    Cheney instituted torture, which has been PROVEN to be very unreliable AND IMMORAL (not to mention an international war crime). I'm sure Dick thinks it's okay to torture (and kill) hundreds of innocents for every one who's actually guilty. 'Paranoia will destroy ya'. For every positive outcome that people like Cheney and Rumsfeld bring, they cause an increase in our enimies ten-fold. Why don't they get that. Make friends not war... and when war is thrust upon us, we'll have enough friends to thwart our enemy. Cheney has no firiends (i.e. no decent friends). His approach is cancerous to our nation.

    May 8, 2011 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    I would like to remind Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld and Bush that it was THEIR administration that ignored the August 6, 2001 President Daily Briefing that warned of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda's intent to attack us using airplanes and that it was THEIR administration that rebuffed the efforts of Richard Clarke and the Clinton transition team to warn them about Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda and it was less than a year into THEIR administration that 9/11 happened.

    So don't give me this BS about how safe you kept the United States.

    May 8, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  25. Paul ny

    WOW Republicans just can not stand that Obama got the job done. Too bad they were not as critical of bush when he was warned about 9/11 before it happened and decided to go on vacation instead of doing anything about it. That they say nothing about.

    May 8, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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