Roger Stone, President Trump’s longest-serving political adviser, believes one of those is the worst.
Stone was arrested Friday and charged with lying to investigators, obstruction of justice and witness tampering after the special counsel’s office filed a seven-count indictment. Stone rebuffed what he described as political theatrics during his arrest, which some conservatives criticized as excessive force.
“To storm my house with greater force than was used to take down bin Laden or El Chapo or Pablo Escobar, to terrorize my wife and my dogs, is unconscionable,” Stone told reporters Monday.
Did the raids have common elements of violence or danger? Let’s take a look at the most recent two.
The bin Laden raid: Operation Neptune Spear
A web of intelligence led a team of Navy SEALs (and one dog named Cairo) to Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound in a nighttime raid in May 2011.
SEALs breached doors and cleared each level of the al-Qaeda leader’s stronghold in a battle that went on for about 40 minutes. One commando killed bin Laden’s sons near the top of the building, and two women were tackled by a SEAL who feared they were wearing suicide vests, according to one of the men on the mission who spoke to Esquire and was later identified as Robert O’Neill.
That left bin Laden himself. The point man entered the room and fired at bin Laden but missed. There was a rifle nearby, and bin Laden was using a woman as a human shield, O’Neill said. He took aim.
“In that second I shot him, two times in the forehead,” he told Esquire. “Bap! Bap! The second time, as he is going down. He crumbled to the floor in front of his bed and I hit him again.”
O’Neill told The Washington Post in 2014 that it was clear bin Laden died instantly, his skull split by the first bullet. “I watched him take his last breaths,” he said. Bin Laden’s body was later dumped into the Arabian Sea.
The ‘Chapo’ raid: Operation Black Swan
Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was the most-wanted drug kingpin in the world when he was captured after a January 2014 raid in the western Mexican state of Sinaloa, the headquarters of his vast and deadly organization. Guzmán had tunneled out of prison months earlier.
Mexican marines assaulted Guzmán’s safe house and knocked on several doors before firing into windows with M4 rifles, helmet camera videos released by Mexican authorities show.
The marines moved from room to room in the nighttime raid, throwing grenades or flash bangs before moving on and capturing Guzmán’s bodyguards amid swirling gun smoke.
A cartel .50-caliber anti-materiel rifle was shown positioned down one hallway, signaling the defender’s violent preparation to kill any raiders. Other weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades, were found in the house. Five gunmen were killed, and several others were arrested. One marine was wounded.
Guzmán was captured by police hours later after escaping the house through a tunnel. His trial is wrapping up in New York.
The Stone raid
At least a dozen FBI agents from a tactical response team wielding M4 rifles and wearing body armor announced their presence at Stone’s Florida home early Friday.
“FBI!” one agent yelled, and pounded a fist on the door. “Open the door.”
Stone decried the force of the federal agents at his home as an overbearing intimidation tactic. “I opened the door to pointed automatic weapons. I was handcuffed,” he later said.
The moment was also captured by CNN, leading to speculation among conservatives that the network had been tipped off. CNN said it was a combination of observation, reporting and good timing.
But why so many agents and weapons?
Former federal prosecutor Kenneth White told The Post’s Deanna Paul that prosecutors may have believed “there was a danger he would destroy evidence if he was arrested in any way that gave him a way to do so or an opportunity to surrender.”
Some law enforcement analysts voiced concern over the tactics.
“None of the charged offenses are violent. He’s represented by counsel. Everything that I know — in terms of U.S. attorney’s office policy — would permit that individual to surrender,” said Ross Gaffney, a former FBI supervisory special agent. “Sending out a heavily armed team is a lot of bodies and a lot of weapons.”
In contrast to the other raids, no shots were fired, and Stone was peacefully apprehended. No one died. So it is safe to say the three raids did not have many things in common.
Stone, a man defined by decades of theatrics, appeared to shrug off the moment after he emerged from a courthouse the same day.
He flashed a double peace sign — an ode to his idol President Richard Nixon, himself involved in a raid. But that was one he ordered at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate.