Democrat President Joe Biden snubbed President Donald Trump by refusing to notify him about the drone strike killing of al-Qaeda terrorist leader Ayman Al Zawahiri before announcing it to the public.
However, Biden did notify former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby held a press conference where he was asked by Washington Post White House correspondent Tyler Pager if the calls were made to the former presidents.
“John, just a quick question,” Pager asked.
“Did the President alert former President Obama or Bush or Trump be- — after the strike, before he informed the public?
“President Obama did so when the U.S. killed Osama bin Laden.
“I’m wondering if there’s any communication between the current President and his predecessors.”
“You know, I don’t have — I — I’d have to go back and check.
“I don’t know if there was outreach to former Commanders-in-Chief after the fact.
“There was no notifications to anybody before the act — before the strike.”
A National Security Council spokesperson told Mediaite later:
“The Biden Administration spoke to Presidents Bush and Obama to notify them about the strike before it was announced publicly.”
Bush wrote about Obama informing him when Barack’s administration found and killed Osama bin Laden.
Bush said he was eating souffle at a Dallas restaurant with his wife, Laura, and two friends when he got word that Obama, his successor as president, was trying to reach him.
“I excused myself and went home to take the call,” Bush said.
“Obama simply said, ‘Osama bin Laden is dead.’”
After Obama described in detail the secret U.S. raid on Osama’s compound in Pakistan and the decision he made to go ahead with the mission, Bush said he told Obama: “Good call.”
U.S. officials reportedly tracked al-Zawahiri’s wife and children to the villa, in Kabul’s upscale Sherpur neighborhood, then learned that al-Zawahiri had moved in, too.
Former senior CIA official Marc Polymeropoulos told BBC News it’s likely the U.S. used human spies, signals intelligence, and other methods to confirm that al-Zawahiri was there.
A Biden administration official also said the U.S. had examined the house’s construction to ensure the drone strike wouldn’t threaten its structural integrity or kill people in other parts of the villa.
Officials also said U.S. intelligence had studied al-Zawahiri’s “pattern of life” at the house to discover his habits, and that’s how they learned al-Zawahiri spent time alone on the top balcony each morning.
“Reports said the CIA had intelligence that he liked to stand on the balcony, and I thought, ‘Of course he would, it was a nice balcony,’” Smock told The Guardian.
The al-Zawahiri strike “sounds like a model application” of a targeted killing, William Banks at the Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law tells BBC News.
“It sounds like they were very careful and deliberate in this instance to find him in a location and at a time when they could hit just him and not harm any other person.”
This isn’t the first report of al-Zawahiri’s death, but National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. has “visual confirmation” that he died in the strike.