Obama: 'Getting our man' outweighed risks of raid

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WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama ordered the commando raid that killed
terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after deciding the risks were outweighed by the
possibility "of us finally getting our man" following a decade of frustration,
he said in a Sunday broadcast interview.
The helicopter raid "was the longest 40 minutes of my life," Obama told CBS' "60
Minutes," with the possible exception of when his daughter Sasha became sick
with meningitis as an infant.
Monitoring the commando raid operation in the White House Situation Room a week
ago, Obama said he and top aides "had a sense of when gunfire and explosions
took place" halfway around the world, and knew when one of the helicopters
carrying Navy SEALs made an unplanned hard landing. "But we could not get
information clearly about what was happening inside the compound," he said.
Public opinion polls have shown a boost in Obama's support in the days since the
raid, and his re-election campaign was eager to draw attention to the interview.
Jim Messina, the president's campaign manager, emailed supporters encouraging
them to watch the program. The note included a link to a listing of all of the
network's local affiliates around the country -- and another one requesting
donations to Obama's re-election effort.
In the interview, Obama said that as nervous as he was about the raid, he didn't
lose sleep over the possibility that bin Laden might be killed. Anyone who
questions whether the terrorist mastermind didn't deserve his fate "needs to
have their head examined," he said.
Obama said bin Laden had "some sort of support network" inside Pakistan to be
able to live for years at a high-security compound in Abbottabad, a city that
houses numerous military facilities. But he stopped short of accusing Pakistani
officials of harboring the man who planned the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks
that killed nearly 3,000.
"We don't know who or what that support network was. We don't know whether there
might have been some people inside of government, people outside of government."
He said the United States wanted to investigate further to learn the facts, "and
more importantly, the Pakistani government has to investigate."
Some members of Congress have called for a cessation of U.S. aid to Pakistan, at
least until it becomes clear what role, if any, the government played in bin
Laden's ability to avoid detection for years. But Obama said that since the
Sept. 11 attacks, "Pakistan has been a strong counter-terrorism partner with us"
despite periodic disagreements.The president was guarded in discussing any of the details of the raid, and
offered no details that have not yet been made public.Discussing his own role, he said the decision to order the raid was very
difficult, in part because there was no certainty that bin Laden was at the
compound, and also because of the risk to the SEALs.
"But ultimately, I had so much confidence in the capacity of our guys to carry
out the mission that I felt that the risks were outweighed by the potential
benefit of finally getting our man," he said.
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