Mayor elect Rahm Emanuel was asked today about the killing of Osama bin Laden during a press conference to announce his pick for Chicago’s new top cop. Emanuel was chief of staff to President Barack Obama until stepping down to run for mayor in October 2010.
Emanuel is probably the only local politician keyed in to high-level meetings on national security. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is a top congressional leader, and Sen. Mark Kirk has been involved in military and intelligence committees, but neither of them had a reserved seat in the White House Situation Room.
As the president said in his speech last night, this mission began in August 2010. Emanuel was still at the White House then. So he knew about this lead (or maybe he didn’t, making him the least informed chief of staff in U.S. history). He may not have followed up on this or been involved with the specific details of the strike, but he had to possess information about this at an early stage.
So what will he tell us, his new constituents? Any behind-the-scene details?
Nothing. In classic politi-speak, he says he’s not allowed to talk about national security, but he apparently is allowed to make sure we all know he was there: