Bush-era leaders greet OBL raid with mixed Obama reviews
May 8th, 2011
02:21 PM ET
9 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. Tom

    They think its terrible we aren't following the Cheney/Bush playbook and yet it was President Obama who killed bin Laden. Once again the Bush cabal is all talk and no show.

    May 8, 2011 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  2. larry

    I hope the Obama administration is not naive enough to think that our enemies will not use any form of torture to obtain information. If we do not use the same techniques we are tying our hands behind our back. Quantanamo is not a recruitment tool for our enemies it is a reason for recruits not to join. The threat of going there will keep a lot of them from joining our enemies!!!!

    May 8, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. Peter

    Never heard a Republicon take any blame for the 2008 crash that nearly killed the US economy. Wonder why?

    May 8, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. steven harnack

    Why are they so desperate to include torture? All of the experts denounce it, it's morally indefensible, but they still cling to it like a child with a favorite toy!

    May 8, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. CTTexas

    Who cares what they think except for Dittoheads.

    May 8, 2011 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  6. Anthony

    Cheney expressed concern that the interrogation techniques employed by the Bush Administration are no longer available. Well, Obama found out where bin Laden was without using these techniques. Of course, the facts that Obama was looking for him and was looking in the right place (hint to Republicans: he was not in Iraq) helped.

    May 8, 2011 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  7. Phil

    Three has-beens praising another has-been (W) who failed to get bin Laden. Then they grudgingly congratulate Pres. Obama and his team as if they had to but didn't really want to. This shows the pathetic state in which partisanship has degraded the US.

    May 8, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  8. rusty155

    If the water boarding work and this Is what you say help President Obama to get OBL, than why didn't President Bush get him. Because It like a Republican trying to get credit for something they had nothing to do with. But If something would have gone wrong the Republican would have say It was all President Obama fault. As a matter of fact the Republican would blame them until the cow jump over the moon.Me I thing this Is Just another Republican LIE. I believe President Obama say they find the clue them self I believe him. So all I'M going to thank Is President Obama for making a Gut call and thank to the American Troops and a big thanks to the Navy Seals that when In and Got OBL. And than I want to thank president Bush for giving America the Dept we have. And To the Republican now that are trying to screw the Middle Class ,the Poor and the OLD people of American. Obama 2012 , We have to get rid of these Republican and TEA PARTY people out of the Congress and Senate as many as we can.

    May 8, 2011 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  9. johnnieg

    It was all President Obama , no Bush . He had 8 years to catch him . Rumsfeld and Cheney were useless. Rice , ? All she did was shake hands and then leave .Name one thing she did .

    May 8, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  10. Henry

    And here they are, the fine Republicans, taking credit for what Bush did.

    Ok, following that logic, then Bush owns the entire Great Recession we are just climbing out of.

    You cannot take credit one way and deny "credit" for the other.

    Stinking Republican corpses.

    May 8, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. Henry

    I did not recognize Darth Cheney at first. He looks so bad that he will soon join Osama bin Laden in the hot place. (H3ll that is). War criminal. Osama bin Laden in reverse.

    May 8, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  12. bob

    Cheney, why can't you use the word, "torture"? That's what you mean obviously. You're not afraid to do it. Why are you afraid to use the word then?

    May 8, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  13. OneMoreTime

    So – are they saying that if they had only had two more years they would have "got him"? No doubt the CIA never
    quit trying, but sorry guys, your priorities and focus switched to Iraq, you dropped the ball, and the "caveats" attached
    to your so-called congrats are pretty pathetic. We remember your words, especially those of George Bush.

    May 8, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  14. LouAz

    Great comments from The Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight about what marksmen they were. Their whole plan was get someone, anyone, to tell them where ObL was, instead of looking for him.

    May 8, 2011 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  15. Peter

    "I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority."
    --Direct quote. G.W. Bush, 3/13/02

    May 8, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  16. Chuck Anaheim, Ca

    Two war criminals and the person RESPONSIBLE for 9/11 not praising the man that has not prosecuted them for their crimes should not even be reported abou CNNt. The only thing cheney and rummey need to know in this life is that a president that has shown them nothing but goodwill by not prosecuting them for their war crimes has done more to keep us safe in the 2.5 years he has been in office than they did in eight.

    May 8, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. GOP Hate America

    They cant stand it knowing that a liberal democrat is better than them in fighting terror. Conservatives are failures, they watched 3000 people perish on 9/11 on their watch and when they had a change to bring that mad man to justice they let him get away. take you opinions and stick it.

    May 8, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  18. w l jones

    Whether in business or play never let your left hand know all what the one right durn... same go for intelligent gathering.

    May 8, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  19. Thankfully Independent

    Fact: Osama bin Laden is dead.
    Fact: President Barack Hussein Obama gave the orders to have him killed.
    Fact: This event occured under Barack Hussein Obama's watch.
    Fact: The opinions of a former Vice President, a former Secretary of State, and a former Secretary of Defense are as irrelevant as they are.

    May 8, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. Troy

    The Bush team wants to take some credit for capturing Osama but they will run away from taking blame for finanically ruining this country , high unemployment, a disaster in the housing market and et cetera

    May 8, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  21. Tony in Maine

    This borders on childish. Are they so devoid of self esteem that they have to claim credit where none is due. Rummy outsourced the capture of OBL at Tora Bora and the bad guys got away, Cheney is arguably the most evil elected official in our history, Condy is a lightweight selected for a reason that totally escapes me, but I'm ure makes sense to the good ole boys.

    May 8, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. Ben

    First of all, I believe all of the Bush-era officials praised Obama for what he did, the only criticisms I see are dealing with torture techniques. Why can't all of you just accept the fact that both presidents were part of capturing Bin Laden; no need to make it political. And please STOP with the war crimes stuff; war happens, get over it, this is not a world where everyone lives peacefully. Invading Iraq may have been a bad decision but that doesn't make it criminal.

    May 8, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
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