GOP lawmaker: Questions about bin Laden are 'meaningless'

GOP lawmaker: Questions about bin Laden are 'meaningless'

Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) on Monday said questions about a report claiming President Obama lied to the public about the 2011 operation that killed Osama bin Laden are “meaningless” because the effort killed the terrorist leader.

Turner said the United States had a program to find bin Laden that lasted through two presidencies and involved thousands of people.

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“We sought Osama bin Laden, and we brought him to justice. Nothing from unnamed sources or from someone speculating should diminish that story,” Turner said during an interview on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.” 

In a 10,000-word piece published Sunday in the London Review of Books, journalist Seymour Hersh writes that Pakistan knew the whereabouts of bin Laden and agreed to hand him off to the United States. His article claims the raid on the Abbottabad compound was staged.

Turner said he met with former CIA chief David Petraeus earlier in the day, and he called Hersh’s report “just nonsense.”

The White House has made an all-out effort to trash the piece, with several former administration officials coming to the president’s defense.

Turner also shrugged off an NBC report that made a similar claim about Pakistani intelligence hiding bin Laden in the country.

“There has always been suspicion as to what the Pakistanis knew or did not know. But the reality is, that doesn't change the narrative of what the United States undertook and what was accomplished,” Turner said.

He said such concerns are “certainly meaningless as far as coming to a conclusion as to what occurred.”

Turner added, “Anyone who looks at the situation can wonder to what extent the Pakistanis may have been aware of Osama bin Laden's location or aware of the United States' operation. But the reality is, is in the end, this was a U.S. operation.”