Your morning jolt: Johnny Isakson skeptical of claims that Pakistan didn’t know of Osama bin Laden raid

Morning TV chatter is circling around the likelihood that Osama bin Laden lived several years in his in-plain-sight compound.

How could the Pakistani government not know? many members of Congress are asking.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson isn’t one of them. Nor is Isakson yet buying into assertions from both the U.S. and Pakistani governments that there was no contact between the two about the Sunday raid that resulted in bin Laden’s death.

“You don’t land helicopters in a compound like that, in the middle of a foreign country, without some help and cooperation. So let’s just leave it at that,” said Isakson, in an interview with Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1) on Monday.

In other words, Pakistani claims of ignorance, and U.S. claims of lone wolf-ism may be a ruse for local consumption.

Isakson said he would wait until a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before he did any more speculating.

***
Politico.com this morning wonders whether the Osama bin Laden raid marked the end of Donald Trump’s presidential dreams:

The hope among establishment Republicans is that the succession of events will trigger an end to what they see as the silly season – that party activists will sober up and end their flirtation with the fringe.

“This is probably a wake-up call that the stakes of this game are very serious,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a veteran political strategist. “If the byproduct of this is that we get a little more serious about what it takes to lead the country in the Oval Office, then that will be a really good thing.”

***
Human Events has added former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich to the list of Republican candidates who will skip Thursday’s first GOP presidential debate in South Carolina:

Gingrich joins other top-tier contenders, such as Mitt Romney, in bypassing the debate, which is being sponsored by the South Carolina GOP and Fox News. Gingrich has indicated that an announcement concerning his candidacy will be made imminently, most likely within the next two weeks.

Those likely to attend the debate include former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, businessman Herman Cain, former Senator Rick Santorum, Rep. Ron Paul, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and potentially former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer.

***
Newt Gingrich, however, will appear at the state GOP convention in Macon next week – as will Herman Cain.

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty and real estate magnate Donald Trump remain possibilities — but Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Michele Bachmann have all taken a pass.

***
The Macon Telegraph reports a shake-up in the local political structure:

State Rep. David Lucas, D-Macon, announced Monday he will run for the District 26 state Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Robert Brown, who will seek the office of Macon mayor.

In the wake of Lucas’ announcement, local optometrist James Beverly said he will soon launch his campaign for Lucas’ District 139 House seat.

***
Dorie Turner of the Associated Press put on her dancing shoes and went to Gov. Nathan Deal’s four-month delayed inaugural gala on Monday:

During the gala, attendees swarmed tables full of empanadas, hummus, cheeses and desserts as the band cranked out classic hits like “Electric Slide” and “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay.” Tables were festooned with centerpieces of cotton plants and fresh flowers, while displays about cities from Dalton in the north to Valdosta in the south lined the ballroom at Cobb Galleria.

A tuxedo-clad Deal stood in the lobby greeting attendees as festivities got under way.

“We’re just pleased we’ve had such a good turnout even though we planned this for January,” Deal said. “It’s a good time to have this occasion and have this opportunity to celebrate with the legislative session over.”

…The governor took the stage Monday night, asking for the thousands in attendance to take a moment of silence for the 15 people killed in the powerful tornadoes that swept through Georgia last week. Then he and his wife danced to “Georgia on My Mind” and mingled with the crowd.

***
AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at a claim from U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who said at a recent Atlanta Press Club luncheon that “one of three patients hospitalized are being harmed by the care they receive.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

68 comments Add your comment

Centrist

May 3rd, 2011
10:00 am

It is only a matter of how high up and pervasive the protection and support Bin Laden was receiving from local and national Pakistani government. That nation is so tribal and segmented, that it is a refuge for Al Quada and Taliban elements, and the government is infiltrated with their sympathizers.

Thank goodness the Obama administration finally cut out Pakistan from this operation which seemed to take way too long to be implemented.

WTF

May 3rd, 2011
10:07 am

What a shock, Johnny Boy doesn’t believe anything that the President of the United States says – of course that only applies to Democratic presdients. Keep on drinking the coolade Johnny!

findog

May 3rd, 2011
10:09 am

I didn’t know the senator was a military man, or technical specialist; but I take him at his word that he knows the OBL operation was not a real feat of delta force excellence

deegee

May 3rd, 2011
10:14 am

“Isakson said he would wait until a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before he did any more speculating.”

A little too late for that. Just like a real estate agent to speculate on something before knowing the facts.

findog

May 3rd, 2011
10:18 am

Funny, the GOP constantly blamed Clinton for not taking action on OBL
Now as they begrudgingly give President Obama credit for the operation they hasten to include it was through a continuation of the efforts of President Bush, some even include that President Clinton ordered the creation of the OBL intel unit that finally located the despot
Reality is the current president finally put the necessary resources into Afganistan instead of going after Iraq, or the neocon’s new war of choice Libya

Angela

May 3rd, 2011
10:19 am

WOW

May 3rd, 2011
10:19 am

“Johnny Isakson skeptical of claims that Pakistan didn’t know of Osama bin Laden raid”

Huh, who cares? Anyhoo, maybe you could write about the coming inflation, high gas prices or rising food prices. Oh wait, that wouldn’t fit into your “Obama is the bestest ever” mold.

double

May 3rd, 2011
10:19 am

I would like to see the true figures $ in aid given to Pakistan,Egypt,Israel in last 10 years.

WOW

May 3rd, 2011
10:20 am

“the GOP constantly blamed Clinton for not taking action on OBL”

Actually, they blamed Clinton’s infidelity for taking his eye off the ball. No pun intended.

valerie

May 3rd, 2011
10:29 am

Isakson is continuing the conservatives “day of rage” over Obama’s successful mission. Conservatives are proving to be faux patriots putting party over Country. God Bless America!

double

May 3rd, 2011
10:33 am

I remember Clinton trying to kill OBL,but seems like a few hours late with the attack.Yeah Obama invented inflation,and as usual inflation does not discriminate most all prices go up.This is the result of congress not demanding a balanced budget,and the Feds financing with low interest rates.Poor management both D & R.

Sick of Republicans

May 3rd, 2011
10:33 am

As Rhett would say, frankly I don’t give a damn what Johnny boy or Newt or any of them think. The middle and lower economic class of people are dirt under their feet; they don’t care about the Seniors; and Johnny calls those beneath him “the unwashed.” So Johnny why don’t you and your puppets just shut the hell up.

jay

May 3rd, 2011
10:33 am

His compound was 2 miles from the Pakistani “West Point” surrounded by military housing. There is
no freakin’ way that the Pakistan govt could not have known he was there. Some ally.

shakal

May 3rd, 2011
10:39 am

who gives a sh******about pakistan, he’s dead. Let’s drink!

Centrist

May 3rd, 2011
10:40 am

Pakistan is our “ally” about like Switzerland in WWII.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

May 3rd, 2011
10:42 am

Maybe I will stop in the local am/pm and ask the pakistani’s themselves

Tired of BS

May 3rd, 2011
10:44 am

Johnny is right. Pakistan does not deserve one more dime from this country. We need to get our head out of the sand and recognize that they have played us for fools the whole time.

mehlman rings twice

May 3rd, 2011
10:46 am

Good point findog.
Let me throw out this point for thought. I’m not trying to question the decision to go after Saddam but, wouldn’t it have been “easier” to go after bin Laden first with overwhelming force while he (and al Queda) was on the run and had not established his sancturary? After this “easier” operation, wouldn’t more political will have been there to go after Saddam who was for the most part contained and not really going anywhere?

TrishaDishaWarEagle

May 3rd, 2011
10:46 am

I have often said India has two problems..overcrowding and pakistan. A limitied India/pakistan nuclear engagement would cure both.

eddie money

May 3rd, 2011
10:47 am

sour grapes. Obama is on the move.

RGB

May 3rd, 2011
10:48 am

Those with short memories would do well to remind themselves that if Mr. Obama had his way, the U.S. would not have gotten the intelligence necessary to find and kill Bin Laden.

It was Obama that:

1. Pledged to close Gitmo (where KSM gave information valuable to the Seal team’s action).
2. Sought to prosecute federal interrogators who worked under Bush.
3. Pushed Eric Holder to prosecute Bush Justice Dept. lawyers for advice they gave re: interrogation.
4. Opposed enhanced interrogation techniques that produced intelligence necessary to determining Bin Laden’s whereabouts.
5. Opposed “rendition” whereby terrorists were questioned in overseas prisons.
6. Wanted to prosecute KSM and others in non-military venues where U.S. intelligence gathering techniques would have been revealed.

In short, if Obama and Democrat leaders had their ways, Obama would never have been found or killed.

Calling Republicans or conservatives names will not erase the above facts.

Obama’s only feat was not to scuttle the operation once the intelligence was gathered and analyzed and a prospective plan was offered to him.

Even Obama didn’t have the guts to not get Bin Laden less than two years from the 2012 elections.

Some accomplishment.

Clinton "Skink" Tyree

May 3rd, 2011
10:56 am

These ol’ boys will climb a tree to tell a lie if it meets their partisan ends rather than standing on the ground and telling the truth.

But the truth will eventually come out as to the real agenda of the Tea Party and the fringe elements of the Republican Party — and it won’t be pretty. The comedy will soon begin. Git-er-done!

Kissme

May 3rd, 2011
10:56 am

I trust Pakistan more than Israel. The USA needs to spend our borrowed money in the USA not waste it in the middle east.

Rockdale

May 3rd, 2011
10:57 am

shakal

May 3rd, 2011
10:39 am
who gives a sh******about pakistan, he’s dead. Let’s drink!

Actually we’ve been told he’s dead. It’s probably true, but it’s interesting that they hustled to dump his cadaver overboard before his identity could be independently verified. Independently, meaning by someone other than the government.

Centrist

May 3rd, 2011
10:58 am

I have met Senators Isakson and Chambliss several times since they have been U.S. Senators. Both (especially Chambliss) have lost their edge like most of our geriatric Senators. Too bad there is not an age limit (70?) – most Senators stay well past their prime because of their entrenchment via seniority, name recognition, and campaign coffers. Some become national jokes like Thurmond and Bird. Currently over 20% of our U.S. Senators are over age 70.

Gary

May 3rd, 2011
11:02 am

The reason some people are questioning, whether to praise President Obama for this success has to do with the fact that as an enexperienced Senator and Presidential candidate he blasted the previos office holder for the very processes that lead to the completion of this goal. CIA investigations in Gitmo lead to the clues that provided the location. If the current President did not face political opposition, Gitmo would be closed and the CIA would not be questioning terrorist without lawyers present. I applaud the current president for continuing the his predissesors work, but lets not forget his spoken position for our current military practices in speach after speach prior to his election. It is nice that reality caused him to look beyond his idiology. Not sure I would want any sitting president giving a speach about it. Let the press secretary or Secretary of state handle it. It should be below the president to waiste a minute discussing the death of this scum bag. It really does remind me of Bush “Mission Accomplished”. One man is gone. The war continues.

George Burdell

May 3rd, 2011
11:06 am

RGB – What a coincidence! It just happens that your indepndent thoughts today are exactly what the RNC talking points were yesterday. This was said over and over on all the talk radio propaganda programs. It must be true then.

double

May 3rd, 2011
11:12 am

Yeah we need more radioactive iodine,India/pakistan need to light up the world.Masachusetts/Pennsylvania rain water show above limits.

Last Man Standing

May 3rd, 2011
11:13 am

Other than bin Laden’s death, what has changed? The national debt is still approaching $1.6 trillion, the deficit is still $1.4 trillion, inflation is still a very large factor, unemployment is still high and the price of gas keeps rising.

What has changed for the average American since Sunday?

Jon Lester

May 3rd, 2011
11:16 am

Rockdale, I hope you had the same healthy skepticism for the rescue operation for Pfc. Jessica Lynch.

Old Hippie

May 3rd, 2011
11:19 am

Bush dropped the ball in the search for OBL; it took Obama to kill Osama.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/02/obama-bush-bin-laden-dead_n_856428.html

TallaDawg

May 3rd, 2011
11:19 am

RGB -
Each of your statements is, at best, a half-truth. You attempt to take a very nuanced situation and cut it down to short, simple, black-and-white answers, which is very misinformed and, ultimately, dangerous for our country.

double

May 3rd, 2011
11:22 am

Someone refere me to where information about OBL came from gitmo.Interrogation double edge sword.Remember the golden rule.

Jon Lester

May 3rd, 2011
11:23 am

Yes, the ISI essentially created the Taliban in the mid-90’s, and that’s what makes people skeptical of Pakistan’s cooperation. What I find hard to believe is that anyone in Pakistani government would know of bin Laden’s presence and decline the US reward.

TallaDawg

May 3rd, 2011
11:24 am

Rockdale-
I bet you still do not believe Obama was born in Hawaii.

anonymous coward

May 3rd, 2011
11:24 am

RGB – Go back and read. None of the information that led to OBL was a result of rendition, Gitmo, or torture. It was from goo old fashioned intelligence work. Yes, GWB expanded and gave more funds to the unit that did the work, and I think that this is a better investment than invading Iraq and Afghanistan. But the illegal stuff didn’t do anything to catch OBL.

Just Deport Already

May 3rd, 2011
11:36 am

I actually care because this bonehead has been there for over 6 years. If they knew and Obama knew then this is turning into a political call because he is in trouble as President and his re-election bid in in the toilet. If thats the case and both Pakistan and Obama both knew where he was, well then this has nothing to do with collecting a terriorist who killed americans but more like a President grabbing at fame at just the right time. That my friends is not acting in the best interest of America or the American people. Things will come out but yes, Isakson has a right to question and if you have any mind control of your own you would question this too. They did not go in there in the quiet of night un-noticed. I dont care who you are. They (Pakistan) knew the US was there. No quesiton about that.

Just Deport Already

May 3rd, 2011
11:40 am

Gary, I dont have a problem giving Obama his propts as he did call for the hit, but as my post above indicates, how long did he know where Bin Lauden was and why now is it just happening. Could it be because gas prices in Chicago has just gone over 4.50 per gallon and Obamas presidency is at all time low. Did they need to draw attention away from the fact that we are going further down hill as far as the economy goes. Gas will hit 5.00 per gallon by summer. I can bet on it.

xdog

May 3rd, 2011
11:46 am

What’s the difference between goper activists and the fringe? It’s not right to talk about flirtation when they’ve been in bed together for years.

RGB

May 3rd, 2011
11:48 am

RGB – Go back and read. None of the information that led to OBL was a result of rendition, Gitmo, or torture.

I did. From a UK source:

“U.S. forces were led to Osama Bin Laden by his most trusted courier, a Kuwaiti-born man named Sheikh Abu Ahmed.

The shadowy figure was identified after Al Qaeda commanders held at Guantanamo Bay admitted they knew him – and that he had connections to the Saudi Arabian-born leader.

But the confessions were only the start of an extraordinary manhunt which stretched from the prison camp in Cuba to Peshawar in Pakistan and finally ended in a deadly shootout at the Al Qaeda commander’s luxury compound.”

If Gitmo didn’t exist, then a prisoner never held there could not have been questioned.

Who would have thought the British press, the RNC, Rush Limbaugh, and little ole me were coordinating our activities just to thwart Obama?

You automatonic leftists should think for yourselves–just once weekly.

ATF

May 3rd, 2011
11:54 am

Does it really matter whether or not Pakistan knew the Seal’s were coming? Or exactly which Pakistan officials were told and exactly which were not? And if Johnny finds out in the Senate meetings exactly who knew what but that there are very powerful political reasons why that has to be kept secret, will he speak anyway to allay the fears he raised? Will knowing any of this make the fact of bin Laden’s death any less real?

Ask the questions, raise the issues. But for heavens sake stop wallowing in the need to trash this accomplishment. Yes, Dubya gets some credit. Yes, Obama gets some credit. And, YES< YES<YES, our Navy Seals are awsome.

Centrist

May 3rd, 2011
12:06 pm

More good fallout from the mission is that the Pakistani government will probably not be a lot more quiet about complaints of our predators and special forces taking out Taliban and Al Qaeda elements in the western frontier near Afghanistan. There is probably a lot of panicked movement and communication traffic amongst the terrorist command structure now that the U.S is examining those computer hard drives – and you can bet our forces are targeting them.

RGB

May 3rd, 2011
12:07 pm

The Obama administration went way out of their way to dismiss any Bush contributions to finding Bin Laden.

Here is one excerpt:

“The White House on Tuesday sought to downplay the role that Bush-era interrogations played in gathering the information that led to bin Laden’s death.

“Some of it came from individuals who were in custody. Some of it came from human sources,” counterterrorism adviser John Brennan told Fox News. “But there was no single bit of information that was instrumental.”
——————————

OK, what if the U.S. never learned the name of Bin Laden’s courier (a “single bit of information”). You can’t find someone when you don’t know about his existence, his name, etc.

John Brennan is a smart guy and an even better talker. But he termed Obama’s decision not to stand in the way of the operation “gutsy”.

In that regard, I too was gutsy in that I did not stand in the way of the operation.

WOW

May 3rd, 2011
12:08 pm

Huffingtonpissed.

There’s your sign.

Michael

May 3rd, 2011
12:09 pm

I’m sure they were told a few minutes before we hit their airspace. That ask forgiveness/not permission thing.

WOW

May 3rd, 2011
12:09 pm

“None of the information that led to OBL was a result of rendition, Gitmo, or torture.”

Denial is not a river in Egypt.

mehlman rings twice

May 3rd, 2011
12:12 pm

RGB,
Those with short memories would do well to remind themselves that if Mr. Obama had his way, the U.S. accomplished this years ago.

It was Obama that:
Said during the 2008 campaign that if he had actionable intellegence that OBL was in Pakistan he would invade Pakistan to get him. He didn’t backtrack or hedge from this position after criticism from Sen. Chris Dodd and Sen. Hilary Clinton (and later Sen. McCain) in subsequent debates.

Said he would divert our precious resources from Iraq to go after the real planners of 911.

Also RGB, since our current intelligence professionals are saying that they didn’t know the identity of this courier until 4 years ago how could enhanced interrogation of KSM 9 years ago be used to predict the future?

janet

May 3rd, 2011
12:14 pm

And on another note, why did Gov Nathan Deal feel it was so important to have his inaugural festivites 4 months after the inauguration? I think it was paid for with private funds but considering the devastation in N.Geogia last week, you think the Gov would have taken the high road and donated the funds to helping those people recover. No way, Jose! The Governor needed to slap a few backs and say “howdy” and “thanks” and of course “y’all come back – there is more of this where it came from when you want it”.

Double Zero Eight

May 3rd, 2011
12:16 pm

For once, I concur with Isakson..

Centrist

May 3rd, 2011
12:17 pm

Look to hear from our leftist media as it repeats terrorist claims about how civilians, hospitals, schools, orphanages, women, children, and puppy dogs are being killed instead of terrorists.

Thankfully, the American public has become numb to such claims and our leftist, alarmist media. The terrorist network is on the run from our inoculated military.