Bin Laden raid’s success had roots in Iraq War, retired general says

Published: January 16, 2013


Retired Army General Stanley McChrystal

Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who was the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

The U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden had its roots in a secret counterterrorism unit that killed a terrorist leader in Iraq five years earlier, according to its former commander, retired Army General Stanley McChrystal.

The May 2011 assault in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by commandos from the U.S. Navy’s elite Seal Team Six used tactics honed in hundreds of raids pursuing al-Qaeda in Iraq and its leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in 2006. U.S. forces also refined their tactics during the American troop surge in Afghanistan in 2010, McChrystal said in an interview at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York.

McChrystal credited cooperation between the military and the Central Intelligence Agency for the successful attack on bin Laden’s compound.

“Five or six years earlier, I don’t think the Abbottabad raid could have happened because I don’t think the relationship between the agency and the military was close enough where they would get the information and say. ‘I think we should do this with a military force,’” he said.

McChrystal, 58, is chairman of Siemens Government Technologies Inc., an Arlington, Virginia-based unit seeking U.S. government contracts for Siemens AG, based in Munich, Europe’s largest engineering company. He is co-founder of the McChrystal Group, which advises businesses on leadership lessons often derived from his military career.

Special Mission

A woman and child walk past a billboard with a portrait of slain Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in New Delhi, India on June 22, 2011. Raveendran/AFP/Getty Images

From 2003 to 2008, he was commander of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida, which oversees “special mission” commando units such as Seal Team Six and the Army’s Delta Force. He was commander of U.S. and allied operations in Afghanistan when he was forced to resign in 2010 after an article in “Rolling Stone” magazine.

The article, called “The Runaway General,” cited some of McChrystal’s aides as making disparaging comments about Vice President Joe Biden and other members of President Barack Obama’s national security team.

That episode gets less than two pages in a new book by McChrystal, “My Share of the Task: A Memoir.” Most of the book is devoted to the development of anti-terrorist capabilities, including a unit, named Task Force 714, that was classified at the time. The final third is devoted to his tour in Afghanistan to execute the troop surge.

The CIA, the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies joined the Navy Seals and Delta Force in late 2003 to form Task Force 714.

Iraq Initiative

In Iraq, McChrystal organized the group into a “fusion cell” that consolidated and analyzed real-time information from informants, satellites and eavesdropping on top al-Qaeda operatives.

The planning and execution “built the force, it built the procedures, it built the tactics, it also built the relationships between the CIA and military,” that contributed to a successful bin Laden raid, McChrystal said during the Jan. 11 interview at Bloomberg headquarters.

New Yorkers cheer bin Laden's death

Revellers react to news of the death of Osama bin Laden at the intersection of Church Street and Vesey Street at Ground Zero in New York City on the morning of May 2, 2011. Jemal Countess/Getty Images

In a chapter of McChrystal’s book entitled “Entrepreneurs of Battle,” he describes the creation of an information network by then-Colonel Mike Flynn, who was Task Force 714’s intelligence chief and is now director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

It allowed the storage at Balad Air Base in Iraq of intelligence gathered in raids and dissemination of the material to analysts in Washington within minutes.

‘Zero Dark Thirty’

“We developed a ‘portal,’ essentially a Bloomberg-like terminal that stored a library of information on al-Qaeda,” McChrystal wrote in his book. “The number of people accessing the information soon bloomed to thousands.”

McChrystal said in the interview that the fusion of intelligence analysis with tactical military units is becoming the American way of war: “Whoever understands the most first wins.”

The depiction of the raid that killed bin Laden in the new movie “Zero Dark Thirty” resembled “many I have been on,” McChrystal said.

“When you go on these things, there is a certain sense of how it is — how operators act, what it’s like in helicopters, how fast things operate on the ground,” he said.

Describing the movie’s portrayal of the raid, mistakes and all, McChrystal said, “If on the ground in Abbottabad there had been all these explosions and people diving through windows and shooting between their legs like a Chuck Norris movie, then I would have immediately discounted it.”

Tags: , , ,


common krait

Man bites, kills poisonous snake slithering towards him in bed

VANCOUVER DESI In a shocking incident, an Indian man bit and killed a venomous snake in his bed, according to the Daily Telegraph. Rai Singh, from…
Continue Reading »

teen music video

Vancouver teen’s music video gets over 300k views in less than a week

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver teen and aspiring musician Sid Bhullar has released his third music video online  – and within one week he’s already surpassed 300,000…
Continue Reading »

Unruly passenger tied to his seat

Drunk Air India passenger tied to his seat on flight after attacking people onboard, tearing clothes of two pursers

VANCOUVER DESI An Air India passenger, who went wild after a few drinks and allegedly tore the clothes of two pursers and bit some fellow…
Continue Reading »


teen music video

Vancouver teen’s music video gets over 300k views in less than a week

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver teen and aspiring musician Sid Bhullar has released his third music video online  – and within one week he’s already surpassed 300,000…
Continue Reading »

Best polio vaccine? Oral and injectable, used in tandem, new study says

By Helen Branswell THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO — For decades scientists have debated whether injectable or oral polio vaccine is the best option for trying…
Continue Reading »


B.C.’s top Mountie says RCMP budget cuts won’t slow fight against gangs

VANCOUVER DESI The province’s top Mountie maintains budget cuts to the B.C. RCMP will not affect the force’s commitment to taking down gangs, though two…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Const. Ian MacDonald says: ‘You don’t want to see anybody carted away in an ambulance over this, and that is a very real possibility. Ric Ernst/PNG

‘It’s pride getting in the way’: Feuding Indo-Canadian youth factions worry Abbotsford cops (w/ video)

JENNIFER SALTMAN  VANCOUVER DESI  No one really knows how the conflict started. According to a number of people who are involved, in February one person…
Continue Reading »


Eight-year-old Indian boy’s swollen hands are larger than his head

VANCOUVER DESI Kaleem, an eight-year-old Indian boy suffering from a mystery condition has puzzled doctors after his hands swelled to giant proportions and are larger…
Continue Reading »


Doctors remove unborn child’s skeleton from woman’s womb after 36 years

VANCOUVER DESI In an unusual surgery, doctors in India removed the skeleton of an unborn baby from its mother’s womb after 36 years, the Press…
Continue Reading »


Turbaned Sikhs will not be allowed to ride motorbike without a helmet in Ontario

THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO — Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says she won’t allow for turban-wearing Sikhs to ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet. In…
Continue Reading »

Annu Gaidhu

Mississauga beauty Annu Gaidhu crowned Miss India Canada (w/gallery)

VANCOUVER DESI Mississauga’s Annu Gaidhu was crowned Miss India-Canada at the 24th annual pageant in Toronto Saturday evening. The 23-year-old yoga instructor and aspiring child…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood Latest

desi boobs-actress-celebrity

Bollywood actress from Britain still finds time to help her parents at their corner shop (w/gallery)

VANCOUVER DESI British actress Geeta Basra, who made a name for herself in Bollywood with three major films, still helps her parents at their local…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood stunt man

Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar takes up the ALS ice bucket challenge

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood action hero Akshay Kumar took on the ALS ice bucket challenge in true stuntman style – with 11 buckets of ice water….
Continue Reading »


Aamir Khan dropped pants for ‘PK’, wonders would Salman Khan follow suit?

IANS Mumbai – It seems Aamir Khan is in the mood to rag his friend and colleague Salman Khan! The former dropped his pants for…
Continue Reading »