Huffpost Politics
Michael McAuliff Headshot

Peter King: A Failed Osama Bin Laden Raid Would Have Doomed Obama's Presidency

Posted: Updated:
PETER KING BIN LADEN
AP

WASHINGTON -- The Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee is giving President Obama credit for a bold strike against Osama Bin Laden that could easily have gone wrong and shattered Obama's entire presidency.

"It really was a tremendously skilled operation," Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) told The Huffington Post. "I give Obama full credit for this."

King said he was reminded of President Jimmy Carter's botched attempt to rescue 52 American hostages in Iran in 1980 -- a failed mission that ended with eight U.S. service members dead in a helicopter crash.

Carter's presidency had already been severely tarnished by hostage crisis, which went on to last 444 days, and the failed mission all but sealed his fate in the election that year.

"This could have easily gone wrong," explained King, who has been privy to classified Homeland Security briefings and sits on the House intelligence committee as well.

He detailed just how difficult the situation was and how careful the administration had to be striking inside the borders of Pakistan based on intelligence that could have come from unreliable sources.

"First of all, Bin Laden could have just as easily not been there, no matter how much you confirm this stuff," King said. "Until you get him, it could be some guy who looked like him; it could have been a setup; they could have had that place filled with kids, or innocent women. They could have had all sorts of deadly surface-to-air missiles waiting for those helicopters. The whole thing could have been a master setup."

And there would be no way for Obama to get out from under such a colossal failure, King said.

"In that case, it would have been all Obama’s fault," he argued. "He would have been a failed President the way Carter was."

So King gives the President full marks.

"If he would have gotten the blame if it didn’t work, then to me, I give him all the credit because it did work," KIng said. "So I have no problem giving him total credit for this."

Around the Web

King: Bin Laden death a U.S. victory

Rep. Peter King on bin Laden's death | Video | 7online.com

Homeland Security's Rep. King: US must be vigilant - Yahoo! News

Osama bin Laden's death a victory, but "this war goes on," says GOP Rep. Peter ...