Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Decorated Adm. Olson remains humbly silent on details of bin Laden raid

Retired Adm. Eric T. Olson speaks about global security during a Tampa Jewish Federation event Sunday in Tampa.

TYLER TJOMSLAND | Times

Retired Adm. Eric T. Olson speaks about global security during a Tampa Jewish Federation event Sunday in Tampa.

TAMPA — No one knows who fired the fatal shot that felled Osama bin Laden.

And Adm. Eric. T. Olson, who was deeply involved in planning the May mission, said Sunday that he hopes no one ever will.

Until retiring last year, Olson was the eighth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, based at MacDill Air Force Base, and served a principal role in planning the raid on bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.

While awareness of his involvement with the historical raid to get the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks may have drawn many to hear Olson speak Sunday night at the Tampa Jewish Federation's Ninth Annual President's Dinner, the about 650 attendees left without knowing much more.

Olson credits the success of the mission to the dedication of those involved to reveal absolutely nothing to anyone in advance — or ever.

"It's important to keep secrets secret," Olson said. "If we want to retain this capability, we've got to not talk about it now."

The individual members involved have not received, nor do they want, any individual credit for achieving the highly complex, multi-agency feat, Olson said.

And he warned against believing any triumphant tales heard through the grapevine.

"The people who want to talk about the mission are not the people who were on it," he said.

The agency that Olson formerly led, SoComm, ensures the readiness of joint special operations forces and conducts operations worldwide.

Olson conceptualized his speech's theme, "The World at Night: Global Security in the 21st Century," from a NASA photograph he saw of the world that illuminated areas more densely concentrated with wealth and power.

While the United States, Europe and Asia shone brightly, the Middle East remained dark.

"Just because a place is dark at night doesn't mean it's not connected," Olson said.

He advanced that theme throughout his speech by touching on security issues and goals such as "moving ahead of the sound of guns."

Forces shouldn't react to a crisis by thinking what to do once it occurs, he explained, but what could have been done 10 years ago to prevent it, he said.

Olson was a political-military affairs specialist with emphasis on the Middle East, and has served operationally in and commanded an underwater demolition team, SEAL team and Naval special warfare group, among other accomplishments.

As a former Navy SEAL and special operations officer, Olson worked in hot spots around the world during 37 years of service.

His overseas assignments include service as a United Nations military observer in Israel and Egypt, and a Navy programs officer in Tunisia.

Among Olson's numerous accolades are the Distinguished Service Medal and a Silver Star.

Decorated Adm. Olson remains humbly silent on details of bin Laden raid 01/29/12 [Last modified: Sunday, January 29, 2012 11:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine reflects on the news from the Congressional Budget Office analysis that could imperil GOP leaders' hopes of pushing their health care the plan through the chamber this week, Tuesday, on Capitol Hill in Washington. [AP photo]
  2. Review: Dan Auerbach, Benjamin Booker plumb the past for inspiration on new albums

    Music & Concerts

    It didn't take Benjamin Booker long to get lumped in with the greats. The Tampa-raised singer-songwriter's 2014 self-titled blues-punk debut brought widespread acclaim, not to mention an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, a tour with Jack White and sessions with Mavis Staples.

    The cover of Benjamin Booker's new album "Witness." Credit: ATO Records
  3. Fourth of July in Tampa Bay: parades, hot dog parties, concerts and more things to do

    Events

    Looking for things to do on the Fourth of July in Tampa Bay? There is no shortage of patriotic events, from the Hot Dog Party concerts and eating contest in Tampa, to the parades in Land O' Lakes and Safety Harbor, to the swinging dance party at St. Petersburg's Museum of Fine arts, there's an abundance of things to do …

    The annual Independence Day parade in Brandon kicks off at 10 a.m. on July 4 at 101 E Lumsden Road. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times (2015)]
  4. Pasco deputies investigate vandalism at Crystal Springs Cemetery (w/video)

    Crime

    CRYSTAL SPRINGS — Pasco County deputies are looking for one or more suspects linked to vandalism of two grave sites in this community's small cemetery.

    An above-ground tomb disturbed by one or more suspects, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
  5. Republicans struggle to marshal votes for health care bill

    National

    WASHINGTON — Republican leaders scrambled for support Tuesday before a vote to take up legislation repealing the health care law, negotiating, pressuring and cajoling Republican senators but preparing for another embarrassing setback for President Donald Trump.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, talks with his chief of staff Sharon Soderstrom, right, and communications staff director Antonia Ferrier, left, as they walk to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, June 26, 2017. Senate Republicans unveil a revised health care bill in hopes of securing support from wavering GOP lawmakers, including one who calls the drive to whip his party's bill through the Senate this week "a little offensive." [Associated Press]