Official: Obama OK'd raid based on '50-50' chance bin Laden was there
May 8th, 2011
09:06 AM ET
11 years ago

Official: Obama OK'd raid based on '50-50' chance bin Laden was there

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama gave the go-ahead for U.S. forces to raid a northern Pakistan housing compound based on "what was probably a 50-50 case that Osama bin Laden was there," his national security adviser said.

On April 28, Obama attended the last of several National Security Council meetings focused on finding and going after the al Qaeda leader. During that meeting, some advocated for the commando raid while others advised against it, according to National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, given there had been no clear-cut sightings of bin Laden by that point.


Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. teepee

    We gamble in this country all the time...wallstreet for example...good shot Mr President...good got a damned good result for your hunch...

    May 8, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  2. Sandy

    Talk about GUTS! That's my President!

    May 8, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I cannot imagine anyone from the group of empty suits from the list of republican presidential wannabes who would be willing to make the call to get OBL. I remember how outraged the republican spokesperson, Rush Limbaugh, was when President Obama gave the go ahead to kill the Somali pirates holding American seamen.

    May 8, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Any republican president would have consulted big oil, Wall Street, and billionaires to see if this would help corporations before making the call. Like Bush in Tora Bora, they would have failed to make the call, and let OBL get away.

    May 8, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  5. greg in jax

    When dealing with bin Laden, 50% chance is pretty damn good. I would have made the same decision, because unlike Bush and the republicans he represented, catching him was a big deal to me and I was still worried about him. Good job President Obama in doing what the other one wouldn't do!

    May 8, 2011 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  6. yasmine

    So proud of our country and our President..talkabout swag and he walks in a room in an international arena..leaders of other countries will be on their feet..we honor athletes for how they handle a ball..but so many Americans won't give respect to President Obama for what he has accomplished..its ashame that color always jades some people's judgement

    May 8, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  7. German,Irish,American

    The liberals on this site are the most gullible idiots in the US. What is this, the 20th change of story by Obama since the killing? The CIA have said they knew UBL was in that villa for eight months prior to taking him out. They had their own survellience house that they were watching him from, just waiting for Obama to finally make a decission. Obama should be thanking and praising Bush for having the guts to put in place the policies that led to UBL. These same policies that Obama opposed as a no-nothing Senator.

    May 8, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  8. annie s

    Job well done, Mr. President. Barack Obama will surely go down in history as one of the greats. Not a perfect Presidency, of course, but tremendous accomplishments in such a short time. Just think how much more could he could have achieved without obstructionist Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats.

    May 8, 2011 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  9. Ed

    @ german, STFU, and stop repeating what u see fox news. Better yet google GWB search for osama,lol. U are a fu(king idiot to the tenth degree. Also how did all that great info under bush lead to iraq, huh uh no answer huh.

    May 8, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    As a person of German, Irish descent, I would like to say that Bush was worthless as a leader against terrorism. Only an idiot would think otherwise.

    May 8, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  11. diridi

    Hats off to you, dude, love my vote for you....way to need not campaign...Obama shook my hand twice, I am so proud of it...I shall send some money for reelection...Proud of you....OBAMA2012,,,,

    May 8, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  12. Chris

    Thank you Mr President and Americas brave Navy Seals. Bush had NOTHING to do with this operation. Bush gave up looking for OBL years ago, there is video tape to prove it.

    May 8, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  13. Indy

    It is quite clear that Obama invited Bush to New York and that is a thank you with respect, not hard to figure out is it.
    Your post indicates that you are blaming Obama for taking to long to make the decision to approve the operation, but you give no facts as to why that was a bad decision. We all know you hate the President but the least you could do is state some facts as to why you think everything he does is wrong. Perhaps you can go thank Bush for destroying the economy and international respect for Bush's three trillion dollar diversion to Iraq that was based on lies. Maybe you could thank him in front of all the American familes that lost loved ones to the un just war in Iraq and his decision to leave Osama in Tora Bora instead of making a decision to capture him.

    May 8, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  14. Bessy

    Thank you Mr. Obama for giving the order. Thank you Navy Seals for carrying it out to perfection.

    May 8, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  15. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    After watching what happened in Iran and Somalia I can understand why anyone would want to hesitate doing this mission instead of bombing from the air. It turned out well and I am very proud of the President. I will wait to hear what he has to say on another station this evening but, from what I have seen on the promos....the President's first concern was," if I send them in can I get them out?" Back up is what was needed to make sure the mission was successful.

    I credit our Military, the Intelligence sector (sometimes that can be an oxymoron) and THIS President for a successful mission.

    GWB gave up in 2003. Just "google" it.

    May 8, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  16. carrotroot

    @German – yes lets give Bush credit for funneling $20 billion US dollars to the country which was harboring him for 6 years, while wasting $1 Trillion dollars to go on some tangent war with a country which never attacked us. Obama gets full credit for getting this done right, not Bush.

    May 8, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  17. PalmReader

    "and stop repeating what u see fox news."

    Strange that all these FOX talking point parrots who blog on CNNs ticker are unconcerned that: (1) bin Laden was Saudi born and raised, (2) the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi, and (3) Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal-Saudi owns a percentage of FOX Corporation, including FOX News. So, interesting enough, FOX does have a vested interest in the bias they are now propagandizing over OBLs death.

    May 8, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  18. GI Joe

    Some of the rightwing nutjobs want Bush to have credit for OBL? But no blame for the economy and the wasted lives in Iraq?

    And they call libs gullible. So sad – our education system needs to be improved in the red states.

    May 8, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  19. vic , nashville ,tn

    Obama took very gutsy move

    Last Sunday night we were so happy , I never had picture Obama yesterday I bought one

    After 9/11 we want Osama Bin laden very badly but G.W.Bush took us into different direction no credit for him ( he change his mind)

    Thursday he had situation room meeting Friday morning he decided then he went Alabama Saturday night he was laughing for Osama Bin Laden joke Sunday he broke the story with out Mission accomplished banner

    Obama is smart and cool

    May 8, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  20. Patrick from Minnesota

    And you Republicans are still saying Obama lacks leadership...

    May 8, 2011 11:01 am at 11:01 am |