Saxby Chambliss: First shot at Osama bin Laden was a miss

Moments before he died, Osama bin Laden may have gotten a brief glimpse of what was headed his way – as a bullet whizzed by his head.

U.S. commandos missed with their first shot at the world’s most wanted man poked his head out of a third-floor room in his fortress, according to U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Jason Getz / jgetz@ajc.com

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Jason Getz / jgetz@ajc.com

Bin Laden ducked back in, and the Navy SEALS quickly followed and finished the job, Chambliss said in a telephone interview this afternoon.

The missed shot was a new detail in the emerging story of the 40-minute raid on the Abbottabad compound in Pakistan. Chambliss also said commandos found a pistol and AK-47 in bin Laden’s room.

More details to come later, but here’s what Chambliss said:

”I hope they went in with the idea of killing him, not capturing him. We needed to take this guy out. And I know that’s what the executive order said.

“The other thing you have to remember is that this was pitch dark. When they got into the room with bin Laden, they already had to go through some other folks downstairs, two of which they killed. And they were having to use explosives to blow doors open. By the time they got to him, they didn’t know what they would find.”

The SEALS encountered bin Laden on the third floor of the compound, after blowing a door that led down a hallway, Chambliss said.

”They blew the door open, and they looked down the hallway and he stuck his head out of the room that he was in, and saw them, and ducked back in. They fired a shot, and missed him the first time – and then went to the room. And that’s when they killed him.”

Chambliss added this:

“They did in fact find an AK-47 and a pistol in bin Laden’s room. Whether he was making any move to get to that is not clear. But taking him down in pitch-dark conditions was the right thing to do.”

The vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee also expressed puzzlement at the varying accounts of the raid coming out of the White House.

For instance, John Brennan, the president’s advisor on terrorism, on Monday gave an account of the raid that didn’t square what CIA Director Leon Panetta had given Chambliss and other senators the day before.

For instance, Brennan told reporters that bin Laden had used his wife as a shield in his last moments. The White House later disavowed that detail.

“You’d think that 24 hours after the fact, they’d be able to ferret things out a little more,” Chambliss said. “But I know that anytime you have a situation like this – it happens in a far-off land, and you’ve got 24 guys rushing into a compound, guns a-blazing, there’s going to be confusion.”

Still, Chambliss said, “Every day it seems like somebody is having to straighten out some fact.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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758 comments Add your comment

Brenda

May 5th, 2011
3:51 pm

Or acknowledge the picture you saw of his body was a farce and you were taken in? isn’t it scary he is on the “Intelligence” committee?

John

May 5th, 2011
3:58 pm

I believe what is scary is that our white house officals don’t seem to know what happened, and once again we are told to just believe what they tell us. Sen. Chambliss on the intelligence committee is a bright light in a sea of darkness. Thank goodness he is there.

A dad

May 5th, 2011
4:04 pm

Leave it to politicians of both ilks to keep going on and on about this. Does it matter whether bin Laden was armed or not, using his wife as a shield, killed with the 1st, 2d or 3d shot? Dear Washington, just STFU about it. Kudos to the SEALs for a job, regardless of whether it was kill or capture, well done with zero, repeat ZERO, loss of American life.
As for Holder prosecuting the interrogators of KSM, I remember reading how current administration wonks said that “enhanced” techniques really didn’t provide much that contributed to this operation, then someone described one of those minimal contributions being a detailed description of the courrier that lead us to the house. Silly me, I thought that’s how we found bin Laden. As for Saxby, let’s see you try to snap off a shot in the dark in an instant. Idiot. STFU.
Sorry folks, but all this post-game QB’ing is really beginning to tick me off.

Glenn

May 5th, 2011
4:05 pm

Typical partisan garbage .

anthony

May 5th, 2011
4:09 pm

I have one simple question in regards to the killing of Bin Laden.

Who’s Next?

He may have been the leader of Al-Qaeda but certainly not the only one..We need to get Al-Zahari and the others

Foghorn Leghorn go away

May 5th, 2011
4:10 pm

I can’t wait to vote you out of office. Until that wonderful day, please keep your mouth shut.

Michael

May 5th, 2011
4:11 pm

What Chambliss is saying doesnt even matter in the big picture? Mission has been accomplished and unfortunately many of you cannot accept it and you know why. Get a life, move on and stop being jealous hateful of the Obama Administration because Obama got Osama!!!

Real American

May 5th, 2011
4:11 pm

Saxby was duped by a photoshopped pic LMAO – how pathetic. No wonder neocons hate technology. LMAO

LetMeOff

May 5th, 2011
4:12 pm

I mistakenly clicked the link with general interest in the topic and ran head on into the batshiat insane crazy train here in the comments. You guys keep drinking the kool-aid.

Real American

May 5th, 2011
4:13 pm

Michael, they are so mad they dont know what lame talking point to cite next. They are totally sad over this. LOL

Artie

May 5th, 2011
4:13 pm

Uh, John…I wouldn’t use the word “bright” when referencing Saxby…that doofus fell for the viral death pics.

The Snark

May 5th, 2011
4:14 pm

Anyone with a smattering of military history knows that it takes a long time — often months or years — to piece together an accurate, coherent account from the fragmentary recollections of people acting under extraordinary duress. There is nothing unusual or “scary” about the stream of stories coming out of this operation. Be patient.

Simple Jack

May 5th, 2011
4:14 pm

Yeah, wonder how much longer the congress will babble on about this instead of working on getting the economy going strong, more jobs, GET RID OF THE IRS and PAY DOWN OUR DEBT LOAD BEFORE IT CRUSHES US!!! None of them are on our side. We need to continue to vote them all out and start anew!!!

Al

May 5th, 2011
4:14 pm

TrishaDishaWarEagle…HAHAHAHA! Racist trash. ‘hussein BOY?!?!’….’muslim POS?!?!’ Are you fuggin kidding me? He’s the President. RESPECT THE OFFICE! Remember that? RESPECT THE OFFICE! Democrats are dumb. Republicans are much dumber. TrishaDishaWarEagle is further evidence. What an idiot. I guess you’re one of the fools who believes that he wasn’t born here. I guess Osama’s still alive too. Geez.

Cutty

May 5th, 2011
4:15 pm

And yet we still haven’t found any WMD’s in Iraq. Which is the bigger farce? And don’t give me the “other countries believed Sadaam had WMD’s too”. You repubs like to parrot how we’re the most superior country in the world. Why, then, rely on intelligence from some other country that isn’t going to war with you?

GeorgeD

May 5th, 2011
4:15 pm

The missed shot was the one George Bush had. He took his eye off the ball to suck us into Iraq, and we had to wait 10 years before Obama finished the job.

TheLord'sComing

May 5th, 2011
4:15 pm

There is nothing this president can to do to please some people…its not because he is smart and brilliant and a thousand time better than what we had! Its really one thing “you people” really find wrong with him…go figure! If Bush or any other president had orchestrated and ordered this none of you would sleep from the happiness and rejoicing you’d “still” be doing in the streets. I’m VOTING for him again!!!

Cutty

May 5th, 2011
4:17 pm

And it was McCain blathering in the debates about how you couldn’t go into another country to take out bin Laden. It took a democrat 16 months to do what a republican couldn’t do in 7. Fact!

Port In A Storm

May 5th, 2011
4:17 pm

bin Laden is dead, he deserved it, end of story. It doesn’t matter how it happened, if he had has hands up, if he was reaching for a gun, or had a Subway sandwich in his mouth. There comes a time to set the red tape, politics, and hand-holding aside; the President and armed forces got the job done.

Marlon

May 5th, 2011
4:18 pm

Yes, it matters if truth is not being told. If the President and others cannot be trusted to tell a damn story right, so how can I trust them for more important matters? How in the world if Bin Laden heard all that noise from helicopters, doors exploding and shots he was not ready to shoot by the time SEALS got to the third floor? What the heck is this idea to dispose the freaking body in the ocean? All this story is strange.

Will

May 5th, 2011
4:18 pm

It appears the more prudent action for the Senator would be to stop sharing tidbits of info that may or may not be accurate (like his discussion of the “photo” yesterday) and let the military, intelligence agency and Commander in Chief handle this matter.

What possible benefit, need to know, etc is there to passing along something like, “the first shot missed”?????

TheLord'sComing

May 5th, 2011
4:18 pm

Oh, remember the statement Bush made: “I’m not worried about Osama, after all Hussein tried to kill my daddy…” How dare you all try to give him any credit for this…WOW. Keep up the good work, Mr. President Obama Sir!

brad

May 5th, 2011
4:18 pm

What’s up, Trisha? You not getting any?

Steve

May 5th, 2011
4:21 pm

This is the same Saxby “I’m a wimp” Chambliss that we all know so well. Saxby this is a job for the men. You just need to back the the YMCA and play with your friends.

I Know You Are But What Am I

May 5th, 2011
4:22 pm

The day we heard the news we rejoiced as Americans.

By the next day, we were wondering about the pictures. We were giving time to the conspiracy theorists. We were hearing about the racist nature of the code name Geronimo.

By the third day, we’re attacking the Obama administration for sending out mixed signals about how, exactly, this top secret mission in the dark night in Afghanistan was accomplished.

Maybe by tomorrow, the hate-Obama machine will have turned this moment of American glory into a partisan hack job on the presidency.

I’m proud to be an American. I just don’t know what America means anymore.

BG

May 5th, 2011
4:25 pm

We need a new president in 2013.

CATERDAWG

May 5th, 2011
4:26 pm

The President didn’t do ANYTHING, if he had his way Bin Laden would be hancuffed and sent to New York to stand trial!!! This administration is a JOKE, look at the misinformation they are putting out!! 2012 YES WE BETTER!!!

Al

May 5th, 2011
4:26 pm

Boy when you’re talking about ANY Black man in America IS a racist slur. You are correct in that ‘boy is a sign of total lack of respect.’ That’s the reason the term was embraced by white supremacists long ago to degrade Black men in the south. I won’t debate it with you. You seem a tad over the top.

Tea Party Meber

May 5th, 2011
4:26 pm

Im still tryin 2 find a way to blame Obama 4 doing something wrong here. I m surprised sense he was a Kenyon terrerist that he let Bin Laden get killed.

Port In A Storm

May 5th, 2011
4:26 pm

Trisha, if you would refuse help to someone in trouble just because of a political affiliation, it speaks volumes about your lack of character and veiled racism. And sleaze is spelled with an ‘a,’ as in Auburn.

Ima

May 5th, 2011
4:27 pm

Based on the innocent people he had killed and the evilness of his character who the hell cares what his last minutes of life were like. He is gone and won’t be back.

Red

May 5th, 2011
4:27 pm

And here’s Saxby on one hand criticizing the varying accounts and on the other hand telling an account that could or could not be accurate itself. He was already duped with a photo. Saxby, just take a lesson and shut up. The guy is dead. Let’s leave it at that rather than being one of many just dishing out varying, inaccurate, or skewed details.

Ultra Violet

May 5th, 2011
4:27 pm

1. Saxby, why are you leaking privileged information that might aid and abet our enemies or give them motivation to attack us?

2. Saxby, are you visiting Boehner’s tanning salon? Your photo sure looks like it.

seemore's mom

May 5th, 2011
4:28 pm

Senate Intelligence Committee, isn’t that what you call an oxymoron?

Michael in Decatur

May 5th, 2011
4:30 pm

This is not the time to second guess. Be grateful. And move on. The press will dissect this six ways to Sunday and obsess over any little discrepancy. If you didn’t vote for Obama, just let the press carry this torch. I thought his ‘announcement’ Sunday night was the best speech I’ve every heard him make. It’s almost like he finally gets it. Amercia is exceptional. And it’s no accident that we are the most powerful nation on earth. It’s God’s will. At least so far it is. We could screw it up if we’re not careful. But with 51% of the voters being takers, our days are numbered.

joe

May 5th, 2011
4:30 pm

Great call BHO made to get him, but still doesn’t improve his horrible domestic record, which is why he will be voted out in 2012. Here’s how his checklist stands today:

Pros- Killed Osama

Cons- 10% unemployment, $4+ gas and climbing, nothing to curb illegal immigration, healthcare policy that will bankrupt us, out of control spending, bailouts, $3 Trillion added to debt in one year, horrible 2011 NCAA bracket picks, plays golf too much, his entourage costs tens of millions every time he takes a trip, won’t drill for oil in USA but lets Brazil drill in our gulf, etc.

Roekest

May 5th, 2011
4:30 pm

Pictures, or it didn’t happen.

Who bought the movie rights? Surely, someone has had to make an offer. Maybe that’s why Hollywood is so chummy with POTUS. I bet Spielberg was in the phone 10 minutes after the announcement begging POTUS for rights.

Ben

May 5th, 2011
4:30 pm

I wonder which is more important to our President. That he allowsd the raid or that it cut his golf game short.

Duped, too, I guess

May 5th, 2011
4:31 pm

Brenda,
You think Obama is alive? He’d have been on Al Jazeera by Monday if that were the case. The silence from that end is deafening.

Let me guess, the government hijacked the planes, hit the Pentagon with a missile, demoed the WTC buildings, shot down TWA 847 on a Navy exercise, have aliens captured at Roswell (gosh, if they could travel from other planets in the 40s, think maybe they’d have escaped/been rescued by now?), any other good conspiracies to throw in?

President Obama gets a temporary spike in the polls with a claimed kill (watch how soon people forget), if he announced he was dead and he’s not, that is a 100% guarantee that he loses election in 2012 (heck, he’d probably get beaten by someone in primaries).

B Bahnsen

May 5th, 2011
4:31 pm

What disgusting drivel. Sen. Chambliss must be trying to equal Donald Trump for the largest ego coupled with the least sense.

mike

May 5th, 2011
4:32 pm

These folks here and on tv just cant seem to let it go. Chambliss on the Intelligence Committee and not in the inner circle. What intelligence is he heading? I guess these goobers are foaming at the mouth because that black President did something all the clowns from the previous administration failed to do. I am satisfied knowing that these morons are hating every minute they read about this whole episode. Can you imagine how miserable their day goes with this President Obama stuff on their minds.

Knock knock

May 5th, 2011
4:33 pm

SEAL 6: Knock Knock
Osama: Who there (in a woman’s voice)???
SEAL 6: <>
Osama: I dead.

Jon Lester

May 5th, 2011
4:33 pm

I really hope Zaxby doesn’t consider the Debka web site to be reliable intelligence, but I am not assured.

Roc-a-Fella

May 5th, 2011
4:33 pm

@TrishaDishaWarEagle – you, my dear, are an idiot. Go back to your trailer and play with the rabbit ears on your black and white TV while enjoying frozen squirrel meat with your husband/1st cousin. How does it feel to have a black man as the POTUS? Have you ever thought that for the rest of your putrid and pathetic life and the rest of civilization, no matter what, when they look at the chart of President’s there will always be a brother’s face there? Commence the steam from the ears and head explosion in 5, 4, 3, 2… Obama in 2012! Yipppppppee…

Tea Party Meber

May 5th, 2011
4:34 pm

At least Chambliss was elected leaglely unlike Obama who no dout stole the election. If McCain where elected, Bin Laden wouldof had been killed a lot soner.

Ultra Violet

May 5th, 2011
4:34 pm

Saxby, why do you hate America? Why are you making statements to the American public that may put our troops in harm’s way? Why are you not supporting the Commander in Chief in a time of war? Why are you trying to divide Americans when our unity is needed at this time?

Tea Party Meber

May 5th, 2011
4:38 pm

Leave Saxby a lone. At least he is not a tax and spend liberl like Obama.

DownLouis

May 5th, 2011
4:38 pm

Ok Trisha. now be a good girl and go take your medicine.

JackDennis

May 5th, 2011
4:39 pm

Brenda: Seek help.

Bo Chambliss LOBBYIST

May 5th, 2011
4:39 pm

Saxby ,Dad, gets all his information from my fellow LOBBYIST.