President Obama: Bin Laden raid is ‘most important single day of my presidency’
Brian Williams hosts tonight. He described this event as being the most important of his journalistic career. Rock Center with Brian Williams ‘Inside the Situation Room’ airs Wednesday 9pm/8c on NBC.
“I did choose the risk,” the president said in an exclusive interview with Rock Center Anchor and Managing Editor Brian Williams. “The reason I was willing to make that decision of sending in our SEALs to try to capture or kill bin Laden rather than to take some other options was ultimately because I had 100 percent faith in the Navy SEALs themselves.”
A year after the May 1, 2011, raid on bin Laden’s compound, Obama and several of the advisers who helped plan the operation, known as “Operation Neptune’s Spear,” spoke exclusively to NBC News, reflecting on the tense months spent planning and debating the feasibility of this daring raid. The interviews occurred before the president made an unannounced visit to Kabul on Tuesday, where he and President Hamid Karzai signed an agreement on the future of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.
“This had to be such a close-held operation,” the president said in the interview airing tonight at 9pm/8c on NBC. “There were only a handful of staff in the White House who knew about this.”
The president did not share news of the mission’s launch with his staff, or with the first lady.
“Even a breath of this in the press could have chased bin Laden away,” Obama said. “We didn’t know at that point whether there might be underground tunnels coming out of that compound that would allow him to escape.”