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
emptywheel @wizardkitten All tall rich white guys from MA look the same you know. @amyrchapman
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bmaz @dougsinsbca @Gaius_Publius @nakedcapitalism @mattkbh I read it just fine the first time, thanks. Its a rehash of new and old Pando bullshit
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bmaz RT @lefarkins: Heroes of the day Kaci Hickox and Judge Charles LaVerdiere. LaVerdiere: “We would not be here today unless... http://t.co/D
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JimWhiteGNV B a c k s p a c e E N G H a c k A t t a c k Z I
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emptywheel RT @SacconeSpeaks: Great story about what's at stake in #COSen race when it comes to #NSA reform & strong intel oversight: http://t.co/1d1M
38mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Wyden lists 6 other reports where CIA officers' roles released under pseudonym--what CIA is fighting here. http://t.co/oqE1li0k3g
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bmaz @calvincoolidge3 @joanneleon @carwinb Which of course would be grossly improper and highly irresponsible.
55mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @calvincoolidge3 @joanneleon @carwinb It is. There are a group of people that think the docs should be dumped and open sourced.
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bmaz @carwinb @joanneleon FLM does not owe the "public" squat as to blithely dumping docs. They have been judicious and appropriate.
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bmaz @ShannonRitenour @McBlondeLand Also startlingly devoid of facts to support the accusations.
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bmaz Wait, Clair Williams is "under investigation" because she cannot attend Bernie Ecclestone's crappy press conference? http://t.co/9Cw2UUFL1g
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bmaz @Gaius_Publius @nakedcapitalism @mattkbh Yeah, sorry, you lost me when you stab at First Look yet take the bleatings of Pando credibly.
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