Behind the Chipmunk in the Small Chair Photo: What Really Happened in the Situation Room

On Monday May 2 White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan told reporters that President Obama and his staff watched the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in real time.
The AP reported:

From halfway around the world, President Barack Obama and his national security team monitored the strike on Osama bin Laden’s compound in real time, watching and listening to the firefight that killed the terrorist leader.

Gathered in the White House Situation Room, members of the group held their breath and barely spoke as they waited to see whether a carefully crafted yet extremely risky plan would succeed, said White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan. Obama had been playing golf but returned to the White House for the suspenseful watch Sunday.

The White House released this photo on Monday of the administration’s security team watching the raid on the Osama compound in Abbottabad.
The iconic picture is now famously referred to as the chipmunk in the small chair photo.

(White House website)

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told the press this:

“The president and his top national security aides in the Situation Room had available to them minute-by-minute updates on the operation, and that photograph was taken during the operation.”

But then on Wednesday the CIA admitted that there was a media blackout during the Osama raid.

The Telegraph

Leon Panetta, director of the CIA, revealed there was a 25 minute blackout during which the live feed from cameras mounted on the helmets of the US special forces was cut off.

A photograph released by the White House appeared to show the President and his aides in the situation room watching the action as it unfolded. In fact they had little knowledge of what was happening in the compound.

Mr Panetta said: “Once those teams went into the compound I can tell you that there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes where we really didn’t know just exactly what was going on. And there were some very tense moments as we were waiting for information.

This just added to the confusion of the many different accounts of the raid by the Obama White House.

Then on Sunday White House Security adviser Tom Donilon told Chris Wallace on FOX News Sunday that he was not sure what they were watching when the photo was taken.

And, finally we have this from Barack Obama’s interview on “60 Minutes” tonight.

Obama said he and his top aides, who were depicted in a powerful photo of the Situation Room, “had a sense of when gunfire and explosions took place” on the ground in Pakistan. But he said they “could not get information clearly about what was happening inside the compound.”

So there you have it.
The president was most likely watching a blank screen during the iconic chipmunk in the small chair photo.

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  • BurmaShave

    “On Monday May 6 White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan told ….”

    May 6 was a Friday; so which is it? Friday May 6, or Monday May 2?

  • Noah

    I don’t know, they are watching and reacting to something. obama is pissed look at the vein on the side of his head it is pumping mad.

  • daryl

    Truth be known, only two or three people in that room would have known what was happening if they had been watching on realtime CCTV with no interuptions and not had “20 or 25 minutes” when they “didn’t have a clue what was happening”.
    Face it. We aren’t in very “good hands” with our current “leadership”.
    God help America.


    I think they mean…:marxist moo slum in the small chair

  • scituate_tgr

    “Chipmunk in the Small Chair Photo”

    Now that’s funny right there…

  • TXPatriot

    Note once again:

    That is NOT the Situation Room.

    This is the Situation Room:

    Only the President can authorize use of the Situation Room. He obviously did not that day because they are not using it. Why? Was he not informed in time to use it? Or did it not have the television capability they needed (unlikely).

    That room is actually a small conference room adjacent to the Situation Room.

  • RedBeard

    Rule #1 for any cabal wanting to concoct a scenario for public consumption: Get everyone on the same page.

    The White House gang of incompetent doofusses can’t even spin a good yarn.

  • When does a photo tell a story? Check out this article about the chipmunk chick peeping in the room at the back of the picture;

    And realize that she is the most dangerous person, BAR NONE to humans in the room.

    Spread the word.

  • Lemonaide

    Fitting. A blank screen is about all that clueless minds can comprehend.

  • greg

    We really need a BCS type of rating system to score ONE WTF with. Degree of difficulty ought to be a much larger component in justifying the eight days of celebration and football spiking that has taken place. Its said that even a blind hog finds something to eat. Search long enough and one famous person can be found. Time to get back to the economy, federal debt, price of gas and eggs and a tax structure that every voting individual pays into.

  • USMC Thomas

    Constipated chipmunk sitting on the crapper.

  • RedBeard

    #8: Toaster, thanks for that link. I guess we all need to be re-educated by the apocalypse chick so that we will understand that exterminating 4,500,000,000 human beings is a great idea.

  • retire05

    No surprise what is now coming out. While our military executed a perfectly planned mission, the administration, typical of its roots, had tried to write the script for the aftermath. Everything about this president, from his “humble” beginnings, to the love story of his parents to his metoric rise to be a senator, all scripted. After he lost his first policital race, enter David Axelrod, master of deceit and disguise, and wholla! Barack Obama was created.

    Now we are seeing what happens when Obama tries to control the story. Bogus photo shots, missed cues, various scripts, lines read badly and in the end, what we have is that the actual performers (the SEALs) were fabulous, but the play is a flop.

    Killing bin Laden could have been Obama’s crowning glory, but instead, due to his desire to control the narrative, to pump himself up to look better than he should, to heap all the praise on himself, and not those who actually did the heavy lifting, he has botched it. Badly. Those independents that might have thought to themselves that he deserved a second term, after they gave him the first shot at trying to right this nation, will little understand why he has botched this so badly.

    The biggest problem I have is the time line. What kind of heartless bastard can be on the golf course knowing that he has just sent the Night Stalkers and 24 Navy SEALs into the danger zone and they are already in the air and probably over Pakistani air space? Sorry, but of all the things Obama has done that I disagree with, I can’t ever get behind someone who seems to have so little concern over the men he commands.

    Little by little, there will be more coming out about the raid, as Obama, and his minions, try to milk this for all it’s worth. But the more they run their mouths, the worse it will get. Once you tell a lie, you have to continue to lie to cover up the first lie, and so on and so on and so on. Information will be leaked, Obama will be off script and off teleprompter and the hole this administration has dug will continue to get deeper. And just think, these are the people that want to run our health care.

  • mount hood

    I laughed so hard about the chipmunk comment that I almost wet myself. I had a mental image of the Army General arriving in the room early and alone just so he could screw that adjustable height government issued chair down to its lowest setting, then sitting back with a smile on his face while our President-in-Training came in to take the eyes-just-above-the-level-of-the-tabletop-chair view, sort of like those old WW II Kilroy was here cartoons, Kilroy peeking over a fence. I wonder where Obama hid the mirror since 40 minutes would be a long time for him go without looking at an image of the smartest man in the room!

  • Bustr

    I doubt they were staring at nothing.

    I think they were grooving on the screensaver.

  • bear

    Wait…wait, everyone!! That’s not the obamster in that kiddie chair. It’s the obamster’s “mini me.” WTF actually finished the back nine.

  • navy

    actually they were watching BLUES CLUES.

  • KOW

    There is a photo of large screen with an Officer on it, so that is likely what they were watching, not a blank screen. Basically an officer likely kept them up to date, who was likely watching a drone video.

  • labwriter

    Truth-telling takes as much practice as lying. These people are practiced, serial liars (or shall we call them “fabulists”–love that word, but no these people are liars), and they couldn’t tell the truth about a situation like this one if their very lives depended on it.

  • retire05

    Toaster, isn’t it amazing that the people who think the world is over populated and that they should come up with ideas how to reduce that population never include themselves in the number of be reduced? William Ayers didn’t want to die in his own “re-education” camps, he just wanted to run them. This is just another case of those who think they are smarter than everyone else thinking also they have value ABOVE everyone else.

  • labwriter

    >14. I just fell off my chair laughing.

  • RedBeard
  • “Toaster, isn’t it amazing that the people who think the world is over populated and that they should come up with ideas how to reduce that population never include themselves in the number of be reduced?”

    It is because the Marxists are too important to have any other role but executioner. Read this great article to help understand the creatures in the White house and their minions.


    #8 Toaster…actually she fits in quite well wth ODUMBO’s plans to have the moo slums rule…very scary administration

  • daryl

    ot, but not much
    they’re photoshopping the wrong chipmunks, don’t you think?

    Orthodox Brooklyn newspaper reportedly deleted Hillary Clinton and other female advisor from White House Situation room picture –

  • thebronze

    Sorry, I just can’t get worked up about this. Unless it can be proven that Barry and Co. were looking at a blank screen and it was staged, this is kind of dumb.

  • mikeSilver

    Actually, its the Air Force General and he’s sitting in the Chipmunks chair. The Navy, in the shape of Adm. McMullen, is providing high cover for the Air Force. Now that is teamwork.

  • dwd

    Didn’t Obama also say it was 55/45 on whether bin Laden was even in the compound? Yeah, we got him, but should a President really be gambling with violating another country’s sovereignty when the odds are only 5% better than a coin flip that bin Laden is there? Or is Obama just lying again to make himself sound like a tough guy who can make a tough call. After all, it’s a much easier–and less gutsy–call if the odds are more like 80-90%, so that would kill the gutsy narrative.

  • Bobbi

    I, for one, do not believe any of these stories. Maybe Obma does, but I think the adults in the Admin are keeping him I’n the dark. Osama Bin Laden is alive and is being interrogated. Navy Seals di not kill unarmed men I’n front if their kids, and no I do not believe a 12 year old hysterical kid. OBL is worth more alive than dead. Think about it. If they can get info out of Gitmo prisoners, just think what they can get out of OBL.

  • Ladue Pundit

    25 minutes of blank screen is the Obama’s administration’s “Don’t Blame Us” out. If the U.N. ever comes down on us or tries to drag someone into the Hague, it will be the actual soldiers, NOT BHO or his ring of co-conspirators.

  • Joanne

    Obama looks furious because he did not authorize the raid, and Hillary is obviously reacting like any red-blooded woman would react. They are watching the raid or else they are just lying like usual. Maybe they didn’t have 20 to 25 minutes where they didn’t know what was going on, which was probably the entire time they were watching the American Seals in action – probably blew their minds, but all kidding aside, it is all semantics – there was probably time they didn’t have footage, probably before or after the raid….hah.

  • Frank H

    In this picture, he strikes me as a mishebaving little boy who has been told to sit quietly in his chair and not make a noise lest he lose access to his video games for a week. That scowl says to me that he has been TOLD what to do instead of being ASKED what he wants, and he DOESN’T like it.

  • Hank Chase

    * News Flash *


    You guys are whining about one of the most sucessful military attacks of this war. Should Obama have abandoned the attack on Bin Laden like Bush did

  • jzaik

    Chipmunk? That’s gotta be racist. I’m telling media matters.

  • Ed

    In the photo, Obama and Hillary are reacting to the CIA having just identified “Ukelele,” and its Homer Simpson.

  • Chisum

    Should Obama have abandoned the attack on Bin Laden like Bush did

    What a liar you are! How pathetic that you liberals have to resort to lies in your vain attempt to elevate your plastic messiah.

    When did Bush abandon the attack on bin Laden?

  • Flannel

    Actually, this is how it really looked before the WH doctored the photo.

  • StrangernFiction

    #32 May 9, 2011 at 9:55 am
    Frank H commented:

    Yep, that photo and the fact that Barky was playing golf when this operation began say it all.

  • Hillary: (thinking) Wow! This is more exciting than the Vince Foster takedown…

  • crosspatch

    It is likely they are doing the same thing people do when they are watching something on TV and the screen goes on the fritz due to transmission problems. They keep staring at it. Maybe they had some video while they were on their way in but once the operators got inside buildings, they couldn’t really see much of what is going on but are staring intently at the screen in case video should reappear.

    From the facial expressions and body language, it doesn’t appear to me to be staged.

  • Thats Mister Dummy to you

    Everybody is taking the video blackout report at face value. I don’t believe if for a minute. They needed 1) a cover story to explain the confusing variations of what happened, 2) to set some distance between the kill order and the president (they acted on their own initiative)

    Why does everyone think that this one nugget of news is the one true fact in all of this?

  • Ladue Pundit

    Hank Chase commented:
    You guys are whining about one of the most sucessful military attacks of this war. Should Obama have abandoned the attack on Bin Laden like Bush did

    Obama’s ONLY accomplishment EVER, and now we learn that Leon Panetta ran it via a secret team that reported directly to him–bypassing Jarrett, who serves as Obama’s Misinformation and Scapegoat Minister. Panetta served in the Clinton WH and learned how to watch his back.

    Obama had to play golf, sleep on it, and wait months to move in, all precipitated by his dumpster poll numbers. We’re glad this happened, pal, but it happened IN SPITE OF OBAMA.

  • Doug K

    OMG! The nervous-wreak Clinton Commander-in-Chief whom the nation can depend on to handle the call to WH @ 3:00 AM.

  • Bunni

    Maybe they were watching re-runs of the Royal Wedding, and Chippy was mad he wasn’t invited! Moochie must have been on his ass all week about that diss!

    Really, these people can’t even get their lies straight, it’s appalling what a clown fest this is.

  • I kind of have an idea how the conversation went among the SEAL team as the helicopter went in.

    “Now watch your language please, the President and the White House are watching through the cameras on your equipment.”
    (click) “Hey Captain, my camera quit working”
    (click) “Hey mine too.” (click) “Me too”…

  • hermie

    Obama was bummed because they wouldn’t let him watch the Golf Channel.

  • decentAmerican

    Oh sweeties, all liberals should know that you don’t get any good reliable information from watching military live feeds…..they were watching the action unfold on TMZ…yo.

  • Gimme a Break

    Did they have to wake Biden up from his nap? Or is he half in the bag?

  • wanumba

    They were watching the press conference when 7,000 votes in Wisconsin were announced as not being entered into the database.

    Those people look gobsmacked. Not “earnestly concentrating” or sniffing away “allergies.” Sucker-punched.

    So, who’s that little woman way in the back?

  • wanumba

    #8 May 9, 2011 at 8:12 am
    Toaster802 commented:
    When does a photo tell a story? Check out this article about the chipmunk chick peeping in the room at the back of the picture;

    Audrey Tomason: Situation Room Mystery Woman


    “Obama’s Director for Counter Terrorism – Audry Tomason definitely an evil entity

    Ms Tomason further argues in her “Apocalypse Equation” thesis that since the collapse of civilization as we know it is “inevitable,” world leaders should consider the possibility of “mass genocide” to reduce our world’s population to a more “sustainable level commensurate with our Earth’s resources.”

    The chilling genocidal scenario envisioned by Ms Tomason begins with a “limited nuclear conflict” targeted at major population centers, but designed to limit the fallout of radiation. Next would be the release of toxic chemical and biological agents she suggests could be blamed on “terrorist entities” to be followed by forced mass migration of populations to more “sustainable living environments.”

    Gads!! HOW was SHE vetted?

  • USMC Thomas

    I don’t think the military has much love or respect for SØBama, except for the ass kissing, brown nosing political generals angling for a high government job when they retire. They all kind of have that cookie-cutter corporate administrator look vs the warrior leader.

  • Bill H

    Where is Barry and Joe’s dunce caps?

  • Taqiyyotomist

    #50 wanumba

    Are you kidding me? She was “vetted” with the same moral filter that enabled Van Jones, Kevin Jennings (Assistant Deputy Director for Safe and Drug-free Schools with Fisting Kits, Dental Dams and Guides to Local Leather-bars….), and John Holdren.

    You should research the genocidal views of Holdren. (advisor to President Barack Obama for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology)

    The White House had a friggin MAO TSE TUNG CHRISTMAS TREE ORNAMENT! They worship the Great Leap Forward in this administration. Millions and millions murdered by their beloved State.

    The FBI informant who infiltrated the Chicago communist/anarchists that Bill Ayers was involved with, talking about the very serious conversations regarding just how to go about “getting rid of” more than a quarter of the population.

    These are who we have put in our nation’s highest places. God help us all.

  • Militant Conservative

    The master of disaster looks like a lose participant and not a leader of men.

    Respect is earned not given. Thus Obama’s main problem.

    He is a total affirmative action hire gone horribly wrong.

    i.e. Rush’s prediction ” total failure” but not before dragging America down with him.

    Powder is dry

  • SandyfromChesterfield

    Where is the head of the CIA Leon Panetta in this picture?

  • wanumba

    #53 May 9, 2011 at 4:00 pm
    Taqiyyotomist commented:
    #50 wanumba

    Are you kidding me? She was “vetted” with the same moral filter that enabled Van Jones, Kevin Jennings (Assistant Deputy Director for Safe and Drug-free Schools with Fisting Kits, Dental Dams and Guides to Local Leather-bars….), and John Holdren.


    Hmm. What is really needed is not “vetting:” but “outing”. Demand why Obama has so many genocidial maniacs on his staff.
    Calls into question the talk of “no more genocide” and “protect the civilians” policies when Obama’s advisors run to blood-thirsty mass-murdering advocates.

  • mg4us

    2012 Theme

    America can’t afford 4 more years of Obama as President or Democrats in the Senate. . .
    can You?

    Vote “I-CAN”

    Vote RepublICAN! (not RINOs but Reagan Conservative Republ-I-can!!)

  • D

    I dislike Obama’s policies with a white hot passion, but calling him a chipmunk doesn’t show the office the president the respect it deserves.

    Criticize his actions & policies without end, but stop the childish name calling.