White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon said on Sunday that the volume of information seized on the al Qaeda terrorist network during last week’s mission to kill Osama bin Laden was “equivalent to a small college library.”
Mr. Donilon, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said the terror organization was at its weakest point since 2001.
Responding to questions about whether bin Laden was armed or not when he was shot, Mr. Donilon said the world overwhelmingly is supportive of the raid.
“The message we are getting back is, ‘This was a just action,’” he said.
In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Mr. Donilon played down the role in the mission of intelligence from the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, outlawed by President Obama earlier in his administration.
But former Vice President Dick Cheney said that they provided some critical “early leads” and that he was concerned that techniques such as waterboarding are “no longer available,” should the military capture more terrorists. He hopes the program eventually will be reinstated.
“If it were my call, I’d have that program ready to go,” he said. “Waterboarding and all the other techniques that are used are stuff we use training our own people.”
He also warned against pulling out of Afghanistan too early now that bin Laden is gone.
“I’m a bit concerned that, because we got bin Laden, there will be a rush to get out of Afghanistan,” he said. “I’m not sure that’s wise at all.”
Once the mission was complete and the troops arrived back home safely, the first person Mr. Obama called was former President George W. Bush, who started the war on terror, Mr. Donilon added.
“The message that the world is hearing is one of perseverance and dedication … that the United States does what it says it will do,” he said.