Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Inside the Situation Room on Rock Center Tonight

In what promises to be good television, and in what NBC is calling a first for network television, Brian Williams has been granted unprecedented access to the most secret and secure part of the White House, the Situation Room. In tonight's “Rock Center" at 9 p.m., President Obama, his top leadership, national security and military teams, will relay the pivotal moments of last year's raid targeting Osama bin Laden.

The new well known photograph taken inside the Situation Room on that day offered the world the first glimpse of a national security team at work during the Special Operations mission. Now, we will hear from President Obama; Vice President Biden; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Admiral Mike Mullen, USN, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (from 2007 to 2011); Tom Donilon, National Security Advisor; Denis McDonough, Deputy National Security Advisor; and John O. Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.

Here are some excerpts:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton:
I was as obsessed as anybody. And, from the first of my service here, as secretary of state, I made it clear and, of course, the President, who sets the tone, made it clear that, whatever had been the calculus before, the focus for this administration was, "I'm getting bin Laden." That was a piece of unfinished business that went to the honor, as well as the security of our country.

President Obama:
I did choose the risk, and I've said this before -- and I absolutely believe it -- the reason I was willing to make that decision of sending in our SEALS to try to capture or kill bin Laden rather than to take some other options was ultimately because I had 100% faith in the Navy SEALS themselves. Bill McRaven, the head of Special Forces, had worked with us for months to think through every possible scenario.

Vice President Biden:
It is one of those rare moments when you know that the man you’re watching is putting everything on the line. Everything on the line. Not only risking the lives of these incredible, incredible warriors but also knows that if he’s wrong about this man, he’s going to pay a very, very high price for it.

John O. Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism:
So I think there was a series of emotions that day that we were trying to, again, stay focused on what we had to do as part of the National Security Team. But also all of our lives have been affected over the years by the murder that was perpetrated by bin Laden. And so it welled up, I think, in a lot of people afterward that -- justice finally was being served.

President Obama:
But, all told a year later – are we better off, are we safer because we got Bin Laden? Absolutely.

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