Biden changes account, says advised Obama for Bin Laden raid

Revising his earlier account, US Vice President Biden says he advised President Obama to order raid that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks during an event honoring former Vice President Walter Mondale at The George Washington University in Washington October 20, 2015

US Vice President Joe Biden said that he advised President Barack Obama to authorise the operation that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2011, contradicting his earlier account about the process leading to the raid.

“As we walked out of the room and walked upstairs, I said - I told him my opinion that I thought he should go, but follow his own instincts,” Biden said speaking at an event at George Washington University.

Biden had earlier said he advised the president to pursue a more cautious approach and wait for more information, according to various US media accounts.

“Mr President, my suggestion is, don't go,” Biden told Obama before the raid, according to ABC News report from 2012.

The recent comments came as Biden is expected to announce his decision of whether or not to enter the 2016 presidential race.

The front running Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has said she supported the raid while serving as secretary of state at the time.

United States President Barack Obama along with his national security team, receiving live updates from operation which led to the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on May 1, 2011

Clinton described Biden’s position on the raid as “sceptical” in her book named "Hard Choices," in which she wrote her experiences serving as US secretary of state.

Biden explained contradictory accounts about his position on the raid, saying what he said to the president during cabinet meetings differed from their private conversations.

"Imagine if I had said, in front of everyone, don't go or go and his decision was a different decision," Biden said.

"It undercuts that relationship. So I never, on a difficult issue, never say what I think finally until I go up to the Oval with him alone."

Biden has been mulling a presidential run for several months after Clinton suffered from the controversy stemming from her use of private email servers while she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

Many democrats have urged the vice president to run, fearing that the fallout from the email scandal could result in the Republicans winning the election next year.

However a strong performance by Clinton in the first Democratic presidential debate calmed some fears, with several Democrats saying Biden is too late to enter the race.

Dick Durbin, one of the top Democratic Senators in the US Senate, said “At this point he [Biden] has not had the starting structure,” and described Clinton “strongest candidate for president.”

TRTWorld and agencies