Reflecting on the iconic Situation Room photo during the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, President Obama said it was the “longest 40 minutes of my life.”
NBC News’ Brian Williams sat down with Obama and other senior administration members for an interview that aired on the anniversary of Bin Laden’s death. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who, in the photo, has her hand over her mouth, joked that she usually looks that way when her husband drags her to an action movie. “It was just an extraordinary experience and a great privilege to be a part of,” she said.
“We were all just really concentrated,” Vice President Joe Biden said of that moment.
The decision to go into the compound was not unanimous. Some administration members wanted an air strike on the compound, but it would leave no evidence of Bin Laden’s death. Others thought they should wait for more intelligence. Ultimately, Obama told his team that he would have a decision in the morning.
“How does one spend that night knowing that decision is due in the morning?” Williams asked Obama.
“There is no doubt you don’t sleep as much that evening as you do on a normal night,” Obama said. “I stayed up late and I woke up early. At that point, though, I felt as though I had examined every aspect of the operation. … At that point you have some serenity in knowing that you’ve made the best possible decision that you can. In that situation you do some praying.”
Watch the clip:
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com