Barack Obama (and the Three Musketeers of Selective Leaking) Says Barack Obama Wanted an OBL Trial

The AP made some news yesterday with this Barack Obama quote from Mark Bowden’s new book, The Finish.

Frankly, my belief was if we had captured him, that I would be in a pretty strong position, politically, here, to argue that displaying due process and rule of law would be our best weapon against al-Qaida, in preventing him from appearing as a martyr.

It’s a quote repeated and expanded in this exclusive piece from Vanity Fair, which will have an excerpt of the book in its next edition.

Now, both of these excerpts make it clear: This is a direct quote of an Obama claim, made after the fact. But if that didn’t already make you suspect the political efficacy of telling this story just weeks before the election, check out Bowden’s acknowledgements, above.

Not only does Bowden thank the Three Musketeers of Obama’s selective leaking, John Brennan, Tom Donilon, and Denis McDonough.

But it also thanks Obama personally.

(It also thanks CIA Director David Petraeus, a man who never met press coverage he didn’t like.)

Look, I’d love to imagine that Obama would have made the political effort to give Osama bin Laden a trial had he been captured alive. I’ve even rationalized how much easier that would be, given that we presumably would avoid the whole torture phase that has made trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

There are both political and legal reasons why it serves Obama’s interests to say he considered the possibilities of a live capture followed by a trial. And given how closely Bowden worked with those trying to make the most of Obama’s OBL killing, I don’t see any reason to treat the claim as credible.

And this book–with Obama’s top aides identified as sources so clearly–is yet another reason why I think Mark Bissonnette won’t experience any legal troubles for publishing a book covering the same topic.

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6 Responses to Barack Obama (and the Three Musketeers of Selective Leaking) Says Barack Obama Wanted an OBL Trial

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @sarahljaffe @michaelwhitney @chrislhayes This is simply unconscionable.
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bmaz @GideonApocBox @armandodkos Uh oh, this sounds like trouble. But interesting! Will Armando be there too??
8mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @cbl2 @nancyleong They can't do that, might blow their super-sekrit surprise!
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bmaz @sahilkapur @espinsegall @Profepps @DCCyclone Also, think his dissent in Hollingsworth supports that conclusion.
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JimWhiteGNV RT @khaama: Faizi defends expulsion of New York Times reporter from Afghanistan http://t.co/13AIYJmTN2 http://t.co/G7J3MnXY15
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bmaz @sahilkapur @espinsegall @Profepps @DCCyclone Also, insights from mutual friends, including couple of judges.
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bmaz @sahilkapur @espinsegall @Profepps @DCCyclone Myriad of things, but mostly his history, not just Lawrence+Romer but on social justice in gen
15mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @sahilkapur @espinsegall @Profepps @DCCyclone And, by the way, trust me, having the fancy degree is WAY overrated. You are better off.
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emptywheel @MalwareJake Right. I've seen it asked most systematically for NYers w/homes in FL. But never real systematic study, which should be doable.
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bmaz @sahilkapur @espinsegall @Profepps @DCCyclone I am absolutely convinced he was ready on Perry, but RBG thought was going too fast+hesitated.
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bmaz @cbl2 @nancyleong Yikes!
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bmaz @espinsegall @sahilkapur @Profepps @DCCyclone Agree. Anything short of delivering the deal+his legacy is as a coward. That ain't happening.
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