Gates: Obama Call On Bin Laden Raid Was “Gutsy,” “Courageous”


robert-gatesOutgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates is giving his boss President Obama strong reviews for ordering the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

“This is one of the most courageous calls — decisions — that I think I’ve ever seen a president make,” Gates tells CBS’ 60 Minutes in an interview to air Sunday night.

In excerpts released today, Gates said it was a “gutsy call” because so much could have gone wrong.

“This was a very risky operation,” Gates said. “So, I was very concerned. So was the president.”

Then there was the fact that Obama and his aides could not be certain bin Laden was even in the compound in Pakistan that was the object of the raid.

“There was a lot of uncertainty about whether he was there,” Gates said. “And that was my principal concern.”

In his 60 Minutes interview broadcast last Sunday, Obama said he saw no better than a 55% chance that bin Laden would be in the compound.

Gates also described what he was thinking in the now-famous photo of Obama’s national security team watching the bin Laden raid unfold.

“Frankly, my heart was in my mouth,” said Gates, who can be seen at the far right of the photo.

Gates also told CBS he believes things are getting better in Afghanistan: “I think we could be in a position by the end of this year, where we have turned the corner in Afghanistan … we could see success ahead, and more troops could come home.”

Appointed Defense secretary by President George W. Bush in 2006, Gates is scheduled to retire this summer. Obama has nominated another member of his security team — CIA Director Leon Panetta — to replace Gates at the Pentagon.

{USA Today/ Newscenter}