Adm. Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has joined the chorus of concern about the politicization of Osama bin Laden’s killing a year ago Tuesday.
The retired four-star admiral told NBC News that he worries “a great deal” that the bin Laden raid could become a political football this campaign season, although he did not specifically call out President Obama and his campaign for doing so.
“Well, I worry about it, just because it’s the political season,” Adm. Mullen said. “And from my perspective, the president’s support, the decision that he made, and obviously, the result stand alone in terms of the kind of call presidents have to make, and he made it. I do worry a great deal that this time of year that somehow this gets spun into election politics. I can assure you that those individuals who risk their lives — the last thing in the world that they want is to be spun into that. So I’m hoping that that doesn’t happen.”
Mr. Obama and his national security team will be featured in an NBC prime-time special Wednesday night that reconstructs the operation from inside the White House Situation Room. The White House gave NBC unprecedented access to the Situation Room for its interview with Adm. Mullen, Mr. Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and others who appeared in a photo taken the night that bin Laden was killed.
Mr. Obama, who once warned against “spiking the football” in marking the Navy SEALs mission, has faced an onslaught of criticism over an ad his campaign released Friday that trumpeted his decision to authorize the raid on a compound in Pakistan that killed bin Laden and questioned whether Mr. Romney would have done it. Mr. Romney later said that “of course” he would have ordered the raid.