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-Last night, the United States
brought the world's number-one terrorist leader to justice.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead.
He was the founder and leader of ISIS,
the most ruthless and violent terror organization
anywhere in the world.
The United States has been searching for Baghdadi
for many years.
Capturing or killing Baghdadi has been the top
national security priority of my administration.
US Special Operations Forces executed a dangerous
and daring nighttime raid in Northwestern Syria
and accomplished their mission in grand style.
The US personnel were incredible.
I got to watch much of it.
No personnel were lost in the operation,
while a large number of Baghdadi's fighters
and companions were killed with him.
He died after running into a dead-end tunnel,
whimpering and crying and screaming all the way.
The compound had been cleared by this time,
with people either surrendering or being shot and killed.
11 young children were moved out of the house
and are uninjured.
The only ones remaining were Baghdadi in the tunnel,
and he had dragged three of his young children with him.
They were led to certain death.
He reached the end of the tunnel as our dogs chased him down.
He ignited his vest, killing himself and the three children.
His body was mutilated by the blast.
The tunnel had caved in on it, in addition.
But test results gave certain, immediate,
and totally positive identification.
It was him.
The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others
spent his last moments in utter fear,
in total panic and dread,
terrified of the American forces bearing down on him.
We were in the compound for approximately two hours,
and after the mission was accomplished,
we took highly sensitive material
and information from the raid,
much having to do with ISIS origins, future plans,
things that we very much want.
Baghdadi's demise demonstrates America's relentless
pursuit of terrorist leaders and our commitment
to the enduring and total defeat of ISIS
and other terrorist organizations.
Our reach is very long.
As you know, last month,
we announced that we recently killed Hamza bin Laden,
the very violent son of Osama bin Laden,
who was saying very bad things about people,
about our country, about the world.
He was the heir apparent to Al-Qaeda.
Terrorists who oppress and murder innocent people
should never sleep soundly,
knowing that we will completely destroy them.
These savage monsters will not escape their fate,
and they will not escape the final judgment of God.
Baghdadi has been on the run for many years,
long before I took office.
But on my direction,
as Commander in Chief of the United States,
we obliterated his caliphate 100% in March of this year.
Today's events are another reminder
that we will continue to pursue the remaining ISIS
terrorists to their brutal end.
That also goes for other terrorist organizations.
They are likewise in our sights.
Baghdadi and the losers who worked for him,
and losers they are,
they had no idea what they were getting into.
In some cases, they were very frightened puppies.
In other cases, they were hard-core killers,
but they killed many, many people.
Their murder of innocent Americans James Foley,
Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig,
and Kayla Mueller were especially heinous.
The shocking, publicized murder of Jordanian pilot,
a wonderful young man -- spoke to the King of Jordan.
They all knew him. They all loved him.
He was burned alive in a cage for all to see.
And the execution of Christians in Libya and Egypt,
as well as the genocidal mass murder of Yazidis rank ISIS
among the most depraved organizations --
the history of our world.
The forced religious conversions,
the orange suits prior to so many beheadings --
all of which were openly displayed for the world to see.
This was all that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi --
this is what he wanted.
This is what he was proud of.
He was a sick and depraved man, and now he's gone.
Baghdadi was vicious and violent,
and he died in a vicious and violent way,
as a coward, running and crying.
This raid was impeccable
and could only have taken place with the acknowledgement
and help of certain other nations and people.
I want to thank the nations of Russia, Turkey, Syria,
and Iraq, and I also want to thank the Syrian Kurds
for certain support they were able to give us.
This was a very, very dangerous mission.
Thank you, as well, to the great intelligence professionals
who helped make this very successful journey possible.
I want to thank the soldiers and sailors, airmen,
and Marines involved in last night's operation.
You are the very best there is anywhere in the world.
No matter where you go, there is nobody even close.
I want to thank General Mark Milley
and our Joint Chiefs of Staff.
And I also want to thank our professionals
who work in other agencies of the United States government.
They were critical to the mission's unbelievable success.
Last night was a great night for the United States
and for the world.
A brutal killer,
one who has caused so much hardship and death,
had violently been eliminated.
He will never again harm another innocent man, woman, or child.
He died like a dog.
He died like a coward.
The world is now a much safer place.
God Bless America.
Thank you. Any questions?
-When did you first hear
that this was an operation was gonna get started?
-We've had him under surveillance
for a couple of weeks.
We knew a little bit about where he was going,
where he was heading.
He had very good information
that he was going to another location.
He didn't go.
Two or three efforts were cancelled
because he decided to change his mind --
constantly changing his mind.
And finally, we saw that he was here -- held up here.
We knew something about the compound.
We knew it had tunnels.
The tunnels were dead-end, for the most part.
There was one we think that wasn't,
but we had that covered, too, just in case.
The level of intelligence,
the level of work was pretty amazing.
When we landed, with eight helicopters,
a large crew of brilliant fighters
ran out of those helicopters
and blew holes into the side of the building,
not wanting to go through the main door
because that was booby-trapped.
And there was something --
It was something really amazing to see.
I got to watch it, along with General Milley,
Vice President Pence, others, in the Situation Room,
and we watched it so clearly.
-How did you watch the -- -Well, I don't want to say how,
but we had absolutely perfect,
as though you were watching a movie.
It was -- The technology there alone is really great.
A big part of the trip that was of great danger was the --
It was approximately an hour and 10 minute flight,
and we were flying over very, very dangerous territory.
In fact, some of our leaders
said that could be the most dangerous --
flying in and flying out.
And that's why last night we were so quiet about it.
We didn't say anything.
And I didn't make my remark
until after they had landed safely in a certain area.
But the flight in,
the flight out was a very, very dangerous part.
There was a chance that we would have met unbelievable fire.
Russia treated us great.
They opened up --
We had to fly over certain Russia areas --
Russia-held areas.
Russia was great.
Iraq was excellent.
We really had great cooperation.
And you have to understand they didn't know what we were doing
and where we were going exactly.
But the ISIS fighters are hated as much by Russia
and some of these other countries as they are by us.
And that's why I say they should start doing
a lot of the fighting now, and they'll be able to.
I really believe they'll be able to.
Yes, Jennifer?
-Can you say what role the Kurds played in this, generally?
-They gave us not a military role at all,
but they gave us some information
that turned out to be helpful -- the Kurds.
-Can you tell us what the role of Turkey
might have been and Iraq?
-Who? -What was the role of Turkey?
How did they help?
-Turkey -- We dealt with them.
They knew we were going in.
We flew over some territory.
They were terrific.
No problem. They were not problem.
You know, they could start shooting,
and then we will take them out,
but a lot of bad things can happen.
Plus, it was a very secret mission.
We flew very, very low and very, very fast.
But it was a big -- It was a very dangerous part
of the mission --
getting in, and getting out, too.
Equal.
We went in identical -- We took an identical route.
We met with gunfire coming in.
But it was local gunfire.
That gunfire was immediately terminated.
These people are amazing.
They had the gunfire terminated immediately,
meaning they were shot from the airships.
-I'm trying to be clear of the timing.
You talked earlier, you know, several weeks,
about pulling troops out, you know,
and then troops were put back in.
You know, I'm trying to understand the timing
of when this operation -- -Well, I'll tell you,
from the first day I came to office,
and now we're getting close to three years,
I would say, "Where's al-Baghdadi?
I want al-Baghdadi."
And we would kill terrorist leaders,
but they were names I'd never heard of.
They were names that weren't recognizable,
and they weren't the big names.
Some good ones. Some important ones.
But they weren't the big names.
I kept saying, "Where's al-Baghdadi?"
And a couple of weeks ago, they were able to scope him out.
You know, these people are very smart.
They're not into the use of cellphones anymore.
They're not -- They're very technically brilliant.
You know, they use the Internet better than
almost anybody in the world, perhaps other than Donald Trump.
But they use the Internet incredibly well.
And what they've done with the Internet,
through recruiting and everything --
and that's why he died like a dog.
He died like a coward.
He was whimpering, screaming, and crying.
And frankly, I think it's something
that should be brought out,
so that his followers and all of these young kids
that want to leave various countries,
including the United States -- they should see how he died.
He didn't die a hero.
He died a coward -- crying, whimpering, screaming,
and bringing three kids with him to die.
Certain death.
And he knew the tunnel had no end.
I mean, it was a -- a closed-end.
They call it a closed-end tunnel.
Not a good place to be.
-So, this was going on before you made the announcement
that you're -- -I've been looking for him
for three years.
I've been looking for him --
I started getting some very positive feedback
about a month ago.
And we had some incredible intelligence officials
that did a great job.
That's what they should be focused on.
-About what time did this operation start yesterday, sir?
And did you notify --
-Well, this operation started two weeks ago,
in terms of the real operation, because we had him scoped.
We thought he'd be in a certain location.
He was.
Things started checking out very well.
We were involved on our own team
with some brilliant people who I've gotten to know --
brilliant people that love our country.
Highly intelligent people.
And we've had it pretty well
scoped out for a couple of weeks.
But he tends to change immediately.
He had a lot of cash.
He tends to change, like, on a dime,
where he'll be going to a certain location.
All of a sudden, he'll go someplace else.
And you'll have to cancel.
But this was one where we knew he was there,
and you can never be 100% sure because you're basing it
on technology more than anything else.
But we thought he was there, and then we got a confirmation.
And when we went in, they were greeted with a lot of firepower.
A lot of firepower.
I tell you, these guys, they do a job --
they are so brave and so good,
and so importantly, many of his people were killed,
and we'll announce the exact number over the next 24 hours,
but many were killed.
We lost nobody. Think of that.
It's incredible.
-When you told the Russians -- -Our dog was hurt.
Actually, the canine was hurt -- went into the tunnel.
But we lost nobody.
-You requested to the Russians to fly over this area
they controlled, what did you -- -We spoke to the Russians.
-What did you tell them? -We told them we're coming in.
And they said, "Thank you for telling us."
They were very good.
-But did you tell them why? -No, they did not know why.
-Was any other country -- -We did tell them,
"We think you're gonna be very happy,"
because, you know, they hate ISIS as much as we do.
You know what ISIS has done to Russia?
So, no, we did not tell -- They did not know the mission,
but they knew we were going over an area that they had --
they had a lot of firepower.
-Have you notified
the Congressional leaders about this?
Pelosi? -We've notified some.
Others are being notified now as I speak.
We were going to notify them last night,
but we decided not to do that
because Washington leaks like I've never seen before.
There's nothing --
There's no country in the world that leaks like we do.
And Washington is a leaking machine.
And I told my people, "We will not notify them
until our great people are out" --
not just in, but out.
I don't want to have them greeted with firepower
like you wouldn't believe.
So, we were able to get in. It was top secret.
It was kept.
There were no leaks, no nothing.
The only people that knew were the few people
that I dealt with.
And again, Mark Milley and the Joint Chiefs
of Staff were incredible.
We had some tremendous backup.
Robert O'Brien, Secretary Esper, Secretary Pompeo.
Pence, I told you. He was great.
There was a very small group of people that knew about this.
We had very, very few people.
A leak -- A leak could have caused the death of all of them.
Now, they're so good
that I think nothing was gonna stop them anyway.
You want to know the truth. That's how good they were.
We had them also surrounded by massive air power.
Up in the air, yesterday,
surrounded at very high levels --
we were very low -- we had tremendous air power.
-And then you watched all this from the Sit Room?
Who were you with in the Sit Room when you watched this?
-Secretary Esper, a few of the Joint Chiefs,
Mark Milley, some generals.
We had some very great military people in that room.
And we had some great intelligence people --
Robert O'Brien.
Really good. Yes?
-Was the pull-out of the US troops in Syria
last month strategically tied with this raid?
-No, no, the pull-out -- Right, sure,
it's a great question,
and you're doing a great job, by the way.
Your network is fantastic.
They're really doing a great job.
Please let them know.
No, the pull-out had nothing to do with this.
In fact, we found this out at a similar time.
It's a very good question
because we found this out at a similar time.
No, we're after these leaders, and we have others in sight.
Very bad ones. But this was the big one.
This is the biggest one,
perhaps, that we've ever captured
'cause this is the one that built ISIS and beyond
and was looking to rebuild it again --
very, very strongly looking to build it again.
That's why he went to this province.
That's why he went to this area.
You know, a lot of people --
I was watching this morning and hearing,
and they said, "Why was he there?"
People were so surprised.
Well, that's where he was trying to rebuild from
because that was the place that made most sense,
if you're looking to rebuild.
Yeah?
-You said in your tweet last night --
At what moment did you decide to send that?
-So, I sent that right after I knew they had landed safely.
-When they returned. -Right.
-And that was to notify you guys
that you have something big this morning,
so you wouldn't be out playing golf or tennis
or otherwise being indisposed.
-Where were they safe? Where did they land?
-I'd rather not say, but we landed
in a very friendly port in a friendly country.
-Give you any pause about your decision to withdraw?
-No, I think it's great.
Look, we don't want to keep soldiers
between Syria and Turkey for the next 200 years.
They've been fighting for hundreds of years.
We're out.
But we are leaving soldiers to secure the oil.
And we may have to fight for the oil.
It's okay.
Maybe somebody else wants the oil,
which case, they have a hell of a fight.
But there's massive amounts of oil,
and we're securing it for a couple of reasons --
number one, it stops ISIS
because ISIS got tremendous wealth from that oil.
We have taken it. It's secured.
Number two, and again, somebody else may claim it,
but either we'll negotiate a deal
with whoever's claiming it, if they think it's fair,
or we will militarily stop them very quickly.
We have tremendous power in that part of the world.
We have -- You know, the airport is right nearby,
a very big, very monstrous, very -- very powerful airport,
and very expensive airport that was built years ago.
We're in there for --
We're in the Middle East now for $8 trillion.
So, we don't want to be keeping Syria and Turkey.
They're gonna have to make their own decision.
The Kurds have worked along incredibly with us,
but in all fairness, it was much easier dealing with the Kurds
after they went through three days of fighting
because that was a brutal three days.
And if we would have said to the Kurds,
"Hey, do you mind moving over seven miles?"
because, you know, they were in the middle, mostly.
So, you have seven or eight miles.
"Could you mind moving over?"
because I have to say, Turkey is taking tremendous deaths
from that part of the world.
You know, we call it a safe zone,
but it was anything but a safe zone.
Turkey has lost thousands and thousands of people
from that safe zone.
So, they've always wanted that safe zone for many years.
I'm glad I was able to help them get it.
But we don't want to be there.
We want to be home.
I want our soldiers home,
or fighting something that's meaningful.
I'll tell you who loves us being there --
Russia and China.
Because while they build their military,
we're depleting our military there.
So, Russia loves us being there.
Now, Russia likes us being there for two reasons --
because we kill ISIS.
We kill terrorists.
And they're very close to Russia.
We're 8,000 miles away.
Well, maybe they can get here,
but we've done very well with Homeland Security
and the ban, which, by the way, is approved
by the United States Supreme Court, as you know.
You know, there was a reporter that said we lost the case,
and he was right -- in the early court.
He refused -- He didn't want to say --
just refused to say that we won the case in the Supreme Court.
So, you know -- But we have a very effective ban,
and it's very hard for people to come to our country.
But it's many thousands of miles away,
whereas Russia's right there.
Turkey's right there.
Syria is there. They're all right there.
Excuse me, Iran is right there.
Iraq is right there.
They all hate ISIS.
So, in theory, they should do something.
And I'll give you something else.
The European nations have been a tremendous disappointment
because I personally call, but my people call a lot.
"Take your ISIS fighters."
And they didn't want them.
We said, "We don't want them."
They came from France. They came from Germany.
They came from the UK.
They came from a lot of countries.
And I actually said to them, "You don't take them,
I'm gonna drop them right on your border,
and you can have fun capturing them again."
But the United States taxpayer is not gonna pay
for the next 50 years.
You see what Guantanamo costs.
We're not gonna pay tens of billions of dollars
because we were good enough to capture people
that want to go back to Germany, France, UK,
and other parts of Europe, and they can walk back.
They can't walk to our country.
We have lots of water in between our country and them.
So, yeah. Go.
-You mentioned that you've gotten to know
some brilliant people along this process
who would help
provide information and advice along the way.
Is there anyone in particular,
or would you like to give anyone credit
for getting to this point today?
-Well, I would, but if I mention one,
I'd have to mention so many.
I spoke to Senator Richard Burr this morning, and as you know,
he's very involved with intelligence, on the committee.
And he's a great gentleman.
I spoke with Lindsey Graham just a little while ago.
In fact, Lindsey Graham is right over here.
And he's been very much involved in this subject,
and he's a very strong hawk.
But I think Lindsey agrees with what we're doing now.
And again, there are plenty of other countries
that can help them patrol.
I don't want to leave 1,000 or 2,000
or 3,000 soldiers on the border.
But where Lindsey and I totally agree is the oil.
The oil is, you know, so valuable for many reasons.
It fueled ISIS, number one.
And number two, it helps the Kurds
because it's basically been taken away from the Kurds.
They were able to live with that oil.
And number three, it can help us
because we should be able to take some, also.
And what I intend to do, perhaps, is make a deal
with an Exxon-Mobil or one of our great companies
to go in there and do it properly.
Right now it's not big.
It's big oil underground, but it's not big oil up top.
Much of the machinery's been shot and dead.
It's been through wars.
And spread out the wealth.
But, no, we're protecting the oil.
We're securing the oil.
Now, that doesn't mean we don't make a deal at some point.
But I don't -- They're fighting for 1,000 years.
They're fighting for centuries.
I want to bring our soldiers back home,
but I do want to secure the oil.
If you read about the history of Donald Trump,
I was a civilian.
I had absolutely nothing to do with going into Iraq,
and I was totally against it.
But I always used to say, "If they're going to go in" --
Nobody cared that much, but it got written about --
"If they're going to go in" --
I'm sure you've heard this statement
'cause I made it more than any human being alive --
"If they're going into Iraq, keep the oil."
They never did. They never did.
I know Lindsey Graham had a bill where, basically,
we would have been paid back
for all of the billions of dollars that we've spent --
many, many billions of dollars. I mean, I hate to say it.
It's actually trillions of dollars,
but many, many billions of dollars, and by one vote,
they were unable to get that approved in the Senate.
They had some pretty big opposition from people
that shouldn't have opposed, like a president,
and they weren't able.
If you did that, Iraq would be a much different story today
because they would be owing us a lot of money.
They would be treating us much differently.
But I will say Iraq was very good
with respect to the raid last night.
-Just to pin down the timing a little bit better,
you got back to the White House around 4:30 yesterday afternoon.
Did you immediately go to the Situation Room?
-Well, I knew all about this for three days.
Yeah, we thought for three days
this was what was going to happen.
It was actually -- Look, nobody was even hurt.
Our canine, as they call -- I call it a dog --
a beautiful dog, a talented dog --
was injured and brought back.
But we had no soldier injured.
And they did a lot of shooting and they did a lot of blasting,
even not going through the front door.
You know, you would thing you go through the door.
If you're a normal person, you say,
"Knock, knock, may I come in?"
The fact is that they blasted their way into the house
and a very heavy wall,
and it took them literally seconds.
By the time those things went off,
they had a beautiful, big hole,
and they ran in and they got everybody by surprise.
Unbelievably brilliant as fighters.
I can't imagine there could be anybody better.
And these, as you know, are our top operations people.
-Baghdadi, apparently, had been in bad health for some time.
Was there any indication of that?
-We don't know that, but he was the last one out,
and his people had either been killed,
which there were many, or gave up and came out
because with the 11 children that came out --
We were able to do that --
We don't know if they were his children.
They might have been.
But as I said, three died in the tunnel.
And the tunnel collapsed with the explosion.
But you had other fighters coming out, also,
and they're being brought back.
They're being -- Right now we have them in prison.
-I was gonna ask whose children they were, but do you remember
what time you went into the Situation Room?
-Well, I started at 5:00.
We were pretty much gathered at 5:00 yesterday.
We were in contact all day long through,
hopefully, secure phones.
I'll let you know tomorrow, but nothing seemed to leak,
so I guess they were secure for a change.
But we gathered more or less at 5:00.
The attack started moments after that.
The lift-off started moments after that.
Again, the element of attack that they were most afraid
of was getting from our base into that compound
because there's tremendous firepower
that we were flying over.
And I won't go into it,
but you had a very big Russian presence in one area.
You had a Turkish presence.
You had a Syrian presence.
And you're flying low.
It's very dangerous.
And there were shots made, but we think these were people
that were shooting that were indiscriminately shooting.
The helicopters took some shots, but we think that
these were people that were just random people
that don't like to see helicopters, I guess.
-Was there any kind of DNA test done?
-So, that's another part of the genius of these people.
They brought his -- They have his DNA --
more of it than they want, even.
And they brought it with them with lab technicians
who were with them.
And they assumed that this was Baghdadi.
They thought visually it was him.
But they assumed it was him, and they did an on-site test.
They got samples.
And to get to his body, they had to remove a lot of debris
because the tunnel had collapsed,
but these people are very good at that.
And as I said, they brought body
parts back with them, et cetera, et cetera.
There wasn't much left.
The vest blew up, but there are still substantial pieces
that they brought back.
So, they did an on-site test because we had to know this.
And it was a very quick call that took place about 15 minutes
after he was killed, and it was positive it was --
"This is a confirmation, sir."
-It was also reported that his wives had detonated --
or one of his wives had detonated a vest.
-So, there were two women.
There were two women.
Both wives.
Both wearing vests.
They had not detonated, but the fact that they were dead
and had vests on made it very difficult for our men
'cause they had vests on.
And it made it very difficult for our men.
Because you never know what's gonna happen.
They're lying, they're dead.
They never detonated, but they were dead.
-Any word on the successors, the possible successors?
Have you been briefed on who could possibly --
-Yeah, we know the successors.
And we've already got them in our sights.
And we'll tell you that right now.
But we know the successors.
Hamza bin Laden was a big thing,
but this is the biggest there is.
This is the worst ever.
Osama bin Laden was very big,
but Osama bin Laden became big with the World Trade Center.
This is a man who built a whole, as he would like to call it,
a country -- a caliphate -- and was trying to do it again.
And I had not heard too much about his health.
I've heard stories about he may not have been in good health.
But he died in a ruthless, vicious manner.
That I can tell you.
-Any prisoners taken, sir? Were any adults taken?
-Yes, we have people that were taken.
We have --
Many of the people died on the site,
but we have people that were taken, yes.
And the children, we are --
We left them under care of somebody that we understand.
-Do you believe that these were all -- -11 children.
-11 children. How many adults?
-I'd rather not say. I'd leave that to the generals.
But a small group.
More dead than alive.
-Which operations teams were involved?
Which special operations teams were involved?
-Many of them, and at the top level
and people that were truly incredible at their craft.
I've never seen anything like it.
-As far as partnerships goes,
were there any other forces involved,
or was this only American troops in this raid?
-No, only American forces.
Only American forces, but we were given great cooperation.
-Did the US rely on -- -We told the Russians,
"We're coming in," because we had to go over them.
And they were curious, but we said, "We're coming."
I always said, one way or the other,
"Look, we're coming," but they were very cooperative.
They really were good.
And we did say it would be a mission that they'd like, too,
because, you know, again, they hate ISIS as much as we do.
-Sir, I meant for intel purposes,
was there any foreign intel
that proved useful along the way in this operation?
-So, we had our own intel. We got very little help.
We didn't need much help.
We have some incredible people.
When we use our intelligence correctly,
what we can do is incredible.
When we waste our time with intelligence,
that hurts our country
because we had poor leadership at the top, that's not good.
But I've gotten to know many of the intel people,
and I will say that they are spectacular.
Now, they're not gonna want to talk about it.
They want to keep it quiet.
The last thing they want --
because these are great patriots,
but the people that I've been dealing with
are incredible people,
and it's really a deserving name -- intelligence.
I've dealt with some people that aren't very intelligent
having to do with intel,
but this is the top people, and it was incredible.
It was flawless.
And it was very complicated.
So, I do appreciate Russia, Turkey, Iraq, and Syria
to an extent because, you know, we're flying into Syria.
There are a lot of Syrian people with lots of guns.
So, we had good cover
for probably the most dangerous part.
It would not sound -- You know, when you're flying in,
it doesn't sound like that would be the most dangerous
when you're going into shooting nests
and all of the things that happened
once they broke into that pretty powerful compound.
That was a very strong compound.
And, as I said, had tunnels.
But the most dangerous part,
we had great cooperation with -- Yes, ma'am?
-Did you inform Speaker Pelosi ahead of time?
-No, I didn't. I didn't do it.
I didn't do that.
I wanted to make sure this kept secret.
I don't want to have men lost, and women.
I don't want to have people lost.
-Do you anticipate inviting the special forces teams
to the White House after this?
-Oh, yeah, they'll be invited.
I don't know if they'll want to have their faces shown,
to be honest with you.
You know, they want to --
They're incredible for the country.
They're not looking for public relations.
But they love doing what they're doing.
I've seen it.
First Lady was out there
recently looking at what they do.
She came back, she said,
"Wow, I've never seen anything like that" -- the training.
You know, all of the training and the power of the people,
the men and women, the strength,
the physical strength, the mental strength.
These are incredible people.
These are very unique individuals.
-You mentioned "whimpering."
Could you hear that on your video hookup?
-Mentioned what? -The whimpering of Baghdadi?
-I don't want to talk about it, but he was screaming, crying,
and whimpering.
And he was scared out of his mind.
And think of James Foley. Think of Kayla.
Think of the things he did to Kayla.
What he did to Foley and so many others.
And for those people that say,
"Oh, isn't this a little violent?"
think of how many times have you seen men --
I think in all cases, men, for the most part,
but in terms of this -- where you see the orange suits
and you see the ocean and they're beheaded.
Or how many of you got to see, 'cause it was out there,
the Jordanian pilot whose plane went down?
They captured him, they put him in a cage,
and they set him on fire.
And the King of Jordan actually
attacked very powerfully when that happened.
I've never seen a thing like that.
But he set him on fire.
This was al-Baghdadi.
And you should never,
ever, hopefully, see a thing like that again.
Now, there'll be new people emerge, but this was the worst.
Of this particular world, this was the worst.
Probably, in certain ways, the smartest.
He was also a coward.
And he didn't want to die.
But think of it, everybody was out,
and we were able to search him down
and find him in the tunnel.
We knew the tunnel existed, and that's where he was.
-You've taken a lot of heat for the Syria pull-out.
Do you think this will change your standing?
-Well, I don't have a Syria pull-out.
I just don't want to guard Turkey and Syria
for the rest of our lives.
I mean, I don't want to do it. It's very expensive.
It's very dangerous.
They've been fighting for centuries.
I don't want to have my people --
2,000 men and women or 1,000 or 28.
We had 28 guarding.
I said, "I don't want them there, anyway.
I don't want them."
Now, I will secure the oil that happens to be in a certain part,
but that's tremendous money involved.
I would love to -- you know, the oil in --
I'll tell you a story in Iraq.
So, they spent -- President Bush went in.
I strongly disagreed with it,
even though it wasn't my expertise at the time.
But I have a very good instinct about things.
They went in, and I said, "That's a tremendous mistake."
And there were no weapons of mass destruction.
It turned out I was right.
I was right for other reasons,
but it turned out, on top of everything else,
they had no weapons of mass destruction,
because that would be a reason to go in, but they had none.
But I heard recently that Iraq, over the last number of years,
actually discriminates against America in oil leases.
In other words, some oil companies from other countries,
after all we've done, have an advantage in Iraq for the oil.
I said, "Keep the oil. Give them what they need.
Keep the oil."
Why should we -- We go in, we lose thousands of lives,
spend trillions of dollars,
and our companies don't even have an advantage
in getting the oil leases.
So I just tell you that story.
That's what I heard.
-Did Gina Haspel play a role in this?
Maybe you could talk a little bit about that.
And I saw your NSC Counterterrorism Director
out in the hallway.
Was there a role with NSC Counterterrorism?
-Yes. Everybody.
Gina was great. Everybody played a role.
Joe was great. Gina was great.
They were all great. -Just a follow-up.
Did your Syria pull-out -- Did that generate
the intelligence that led to this operation?
-No. We were looking at this --
Look, as I said, Steve, I've been looking at this --
I'm here almost three years.
I've been looking at this for three years.
They'd come in, "Sir, we have somebody under" --
I said, "I don't want somebody. I want al-Baghdadi.
That's the one I want."
They'd say, "Well, we have somebody else."
I said, "That's great.
Fine. Take him out.
But I want al-Baghdadi.
That's who I want. I don't want other people."
And then I also wanted Hamza bin Laden
because he's a young man, around 30,
looks just like his father -- tall, very handsome --
and he was talking bad things, just like his father.
You know, if you read my book --
There was a book just before the World Trade Center came down,
and I don't get any credit for this, but that's okay.
I never do.
But here we are.
I wrote a book, a really, very successful book,
and in that book, about a year
before the World Trade Center was blown up,
I said, "There is somebody named Osama bin Laden.
You better kill him or take him out," something to that effect.
"He's big trouble."
Now, I wasn't in government.
I was building buildings and doing what I did.
But I always found it fascinating.
But I saw this man -- tall, handsome, very charismatic --
making horrible statements
about wanting to destroy our country,
and I'm writing a book.
I think I wrote 12 books.
All did very well.
And I'm writing a book.
World Trade Center had not come down.
I think it was about -- If you check,
it was about a year before the World Trade Center came down.
And I'm saying to people, "Take out Osama bin Laden,"
that nobody ever heard of -- nobody ever heard of.
I mean, al-Baghdadi everybody hears