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.

  • Toaster802

    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.