Only one of the five people killed in the raid that got Osama bin Laden was armed and fired a shot, a senior defense official said Thursday, acknowledging the new account differs greatly from original administration portrayals of a chaotic, intense and prolonged firefight.I suspect by now Carney is updating his resume as he prepares to return to flacking for Obama from the private sector.
The sole shooter in the al-Qaida leader's Pakistani compound was quickly killed in the early minutes of the commando operation, details that have become clearer now that the Navy SEAL assault team has been debriefed, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.
He said the raid should be described as a precision, floor-by-floor operation to hunt and find the al-Qaida leader and his protectors, rather than as it has been portrayed by a succession of Obama administration briefers since bin Laden's death was announced Sunday night.
White House and Defense Department and CIA officials through the week have offered varying and foggy versions of the operation, though the dominant focus was on a firefight that officials said consumed most of the 40-minute assault.
"There were many other people who were armed ... in the compound," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday when asked if bin Laden was armed. "There was a firefight."
There is increasing concern in Washington that Jay Carney, the new White House Press Secretary, isn’t up to the job. Even when faced with an innocuous question that requires only that he trot out the official line, he looks completely stunned, as if the questioner is Bob Woodward asking him about Deep Throat. He gathers himself, embarks on a stuttering reply, pauses for what seems like an eternity, then starts gabbling, tripping over his words, rephrasing what he’s just said, then looking plaintively back at the questioner as if to say, “How did I do? Was that okay? Or would you like me to try again?”Can you blame him? When you have to tell a new story every day, even accomplished liars like his boss might begin to crack.
“I think he’s doing very badly,” says a political contact based in Washington. “And I’ve heard others say that he’s really struggling.”