3 August 2011
Getting Access to the Secrets of the Osama Bin Laden Kill
Nicholas Schmidle has written
Bin Laden, a dramatic and detailed account of the raid to kill Osama
bin Laden, in The New Yorker, August 1, 2011. The story shows that Schmidle
had extraordinary access to participants in the operation, in the White House,
the DoD, the CIA, and Special Operations -- members of the latter two providing
details of personnel, training, location, scheduling and travel well beyond
what is usually revealed about covert actions. The persuasive spin of the
account parallels that of Associated Press covering the bin Laden hunter
"CIA John" which
was also based on privileged access to official informants.
Highly secret meeting details and quotes by President Obama, Vice President
Biden, Robert Gates, Leon Panetta, Admiral Mullen, Admiral McRaven, John
Brennan, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes and a number of special
operations members are used to produce a dramatic narrative in which there
are no failures, no journalistic counterbalance to a complex and risky operation.
Even the unexpected helicopter crash is transformed into a success:
Im glad no one was hurt in the crash, but, on the other hand,
Im sort of glad we left the helicopter there, the special-operations
officer said. It quiets the conspiracy mongers out there and instantly
lends credibility. You believe everything else instantly, because theres
a helicopter sitting there.
While Schmidle is an experienced
journalist with service in Pakistan and elsewhere, his access to those
involved in the kill's top secret planning and operation, and his unrelenting
positive spin of the story (in accord with Obama's campaign to valorize the
singular accomplishment), could be explained by his access to his
Richard Schmidle, a general in Special Operations and now deputy commander
for U.S. Cyber Command.
USMC BGEN Rorbert E. Schmidle Jr., The Special Operations Command (SOCOM)
War Fighter Conference held at the Officer's Club aboard Marine Corps Base
(MCB) Camp Lejeune, North Carolina (NC). Photographer's Name: LCPL NATHAN
L. BARNES, USMC. Location: MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE. Date Shot: 3/4/2004.
Date Posted: unknown. VIRIN: 040304-M-RT524-001 [Clipped and enlarged from
Lieutenant General Robert E. Schmidle, Jr.
Deputy Commander, U. S. Cyber Command
Lieutenant General Robert E. Schmidle, Jr., USMC, serves as the Deputy Commander
for U.S. Cyber Command, Ft. George G. Meade, MD. As the Deputy Commander,
he directs the forces and daily activities of U.S. Cyber Command. In this
capacity, he also coordinates the Department of Defense computer network
attack and computer network defense missions.
Lieutenant General Schmidle is a native of Newtown, Connecticut.
His command assignments include: Commanding General of First Marine Aircraft
Wing, Commanding Officer of Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force
(Experimental), and Commanding Officer of Marine Fighter/Attack Squadrons
251 and 115.
Previous operational assignments include multiple tours flying the F-4 and
F/A-18 aircraft as well as serving as the operations officer and air officer
of an Infantry Battalion, First Battalion 9th Marines.
Additionally, Lieutenant General Schmidle has served in the following key
staff assignments: Assistant Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps for Programs
and Resources (Programs), Deputy Chief of Staff for Integrated Product Team
1 for the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review and USMC lead for the 2010 Quadrennial
Defense Review, Deputy Director for Resources and Acquisition in the Joint
Staff J-8, Director of the USMC Expeditionary Force Development Center and
the Military Secretary for the 32nd and 33rd Commandants of the Marine Corps.
Lieutenant General Schmidle graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor
of Arts degree in History. He also holds a Master of Arts in Philosophy from
American University and is currently working on his doctorate at Georgetown
University He is a distinguished graduate and prior faculty member of the
Marine Corps Command and Staff College as well as a distinguished graduate
of the Marine Corps War College. Additionally, he has been published on a
range of topics from military history to social psychology and philosophy.
Lt. Gen. Robert Schmidle, the deputy commander for U.S. Cyber Command during
the Evening Parade reception at Marine Barracks Washington in Washington,
D.C., May 27, 2011. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tia Dufour/Released)
Date Posted: 6/3/2011. VIRIN: 110527-M-KS211-009
Nicholas Schmidle, Bernard L. Schwartz Fellow, schmidle[at]newamerica.net
Nicholas Schmidle, May 12, 2009.
Major General Robert E. Rooster Schmidle Jr., P. W. Singer, New
America Foundation, Uploaded to Flickr on May 26, 2010