If you missed President Obama’s appearance on “60 Minutes” last night, the interview, dealing exclusively with the killing of Osama bin Laden, is well worth watching. CBS has made the entire 35-minute clip available.
It was a pretty fascinating discussion, delving into the process and decision making that led to the raid in Abbottabad. Note, for example, the president explaining the “unprecedented cooperation between the CIA and our military in starting to shape an action plan that ultimately resulted in success.”
Also of interest, Steve Kroft asked how active the president was in the process. Obama replied, “About as active as any project that I’ve been involved with since I’ve been president.”
Kroft also noted many reports that there was disagreement within the president’s national security team about the best course of action, and asked whether it was difficult to overcome the debate. The president explained, “You know one of the things that we’ve done here is to build a team that is collegial and where everybody speaks their mind. And there’s not a lot of sniping or back-biting after the fact. And what I’ve tried to do is make sure that every time I sit down in the situation room, every one of my advisors around there knows I expect them to give me their best assessments. And so the fact that there were some who voiced doubts about this approach was invaluable, because it meant the plan was sharper, it meant that we had thought through all of our options, it meant that when I finally did make the decision, I was making it based on the very best information.”
Asked if he was nervous as the operation was underway, Obama added, “It was the longest 40 minutes of my life with the possible exception of when Sasha got meningitis when she was three months old, and I was waiting for the doctor to tell me that she was all right.”