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 @ScottGreenfield "The law professor in the Think Progress blog was totally correct." Oh yeah, like that is fucking credible.
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bmaz @ddayen Well, compared to Loretta Lynch, he surely is.
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bmaz @KellyFlood3 @DanCBarr My own little picture for posterity. Arpaio's look was priceless.
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bmaz @DanCBarr Mike Manning still loves his cash cow! http://t.co/Oi7Redxw1r
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bmaz Tony Blair to join McCain at Sedona Forum 2015 http://t.co/vtNulbBl6z Jeebus, what is Sheldon Whitehouse doing at this? Cc: @emptywheel
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bmaz @benwizner @realDonaldTrump Go stand in the corner Ben
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bmaz @johnsonr Ilya Kuryakin!
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bmaz RT @DanCBarr: @bmaz Yep. The only thing truly shocking about Arpaio's testimony is that there people who are shocked and surprised.
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bmaz @DanCBarr 22+ years. It started first looking suspect about 60-90 days in. Though public first really started catching on w/Norberg death.
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bmaz RT @emptywheel: Government’s Own Witness Debunks Government’s “Overwrought Hyperbole” in Sterling Case https://t.co/kJ4tJAAUw0
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bmaz RT @eggsandbread: how to sneak chocolate undetected into a US cinema http://t.co/GkBNQFAUV8
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bmaz @ErinatTheSun Didn't think so. So why would anybody ever file in state court then??
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