Biden: I Advised Against bin Laden Raid

Panetta was the only adviser fully in favor, VP says

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 31, 2012 5:24 AM CST

(Newser) – Joe Biden has admitted that he made the wrong call on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Describing the decision-making process to House Democrats at their annual retreat, Biden said that when President Obama asked his top advisers for their judgment on whether the raid should go ahead, Leon Panetta, then director of the CIA, was the only one fully in favor, ABC News reports. "Every single person in that room hedged their bet except Leon Panetta," Biden said. "Leon said go. Everyone else said, 49, 51."

“He got to me," Biden recalled. "He said, ‘Joe, what do you think?’ And I said, ‘You know, I didn’t know we had so many economists around the table.' I said, ‘We owe the man a direct answer. Mr. President, my suggestion is, don’t go. We have to do two more things to see if he’s there.'" Obama gave National Security Adviser Tom Donilon the go-ahead for the raid the next morning, according to Biden, who says the story shows Obama has "a backbone like a ramrod." White House spokesman Jay Carney says Biden was "speaking accurately" about the discussions before the raid.

Biden, left, watches the raid from the White House Situation Room.
Biden, left, watches the raid from the White House Situation Room.   (AP Photo/The White House, Pete Souza/file)
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