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PostSubject: BREAKING NEWS: BIN LADEN DEAD   Mon May 02, 2011 3:32 pm

By JULIE PACE and MATT APUZZO, Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Osama bin Laden, the glowering mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that killed thousands of Americans, was slain in a firefight Sunday with U.S. forces in Pakistan, ending a manhunt that spanned a frustrating decade.

"Justice has been done," President Barack Obama said in a dramatic late-night announcement at the White House.

A jubilant crowd of thousands gathered outside the White House as word spread of bin Laden's death. Hundreds more sang and waved American flags at Ground Zero in New York — where the twin towers that once stood as symbols of American economic power were brought down by bin Laden's hijackers 10 years ago.

Another hijacked plane slammed into the Pentagon on that cloudless day, and a fourth was commandeered by passengers who forced it to the ground before it could reach its intended target in Washington.

U.S. officials said the helicopter raid in Pakistan was carried out by CIA paramilitaries together with the elite Navy SEAL Team Six. The U.S. team took custody of bin Laden's remains, which American officials said were being handled in accordance with Islamic tradition.

The death marks a psychological triumph in a long struggle, although its ultimate impact on al-Qaida is less clear.

The greatest terrorist threat to the U.S. is now considered to be the al-Qaida franchise in Yemen, far from al-Qaida's core in Pakistan. The Yemen branch almost took down a U.S.-bound airliner on Christmas 2009 and nearly detonated explosives aboard two U.S. cargo planes last fall. Those operations were carried out without any direct involvement from bin Laden.

Obama said he gave the order for the operation after receiving intelligence information that he did not further describe.

Former President George W. Bush, who was in office on the day of the attacks, issued a written statement hailing bin Laden's death as a momentous achievement. "The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done," he said.

Senior administration officials said the terrorist mastermind was found inside a custom-built compound with two security gates. They said it appeared to have been constructed to harbor one high-value target and that for undisclosed reasons, officials believed the hideout was bin Laden's.

Officials also said they believe the death puts bin Laden's al-Qaida on a path of decline that will be difficult to reverse, but there was no word on the whereabouts of bin Laden's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri.

The stunning end to the world's most widely-watched manhunt came just months before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Centers and Pentagon, orchestrated by al-Qaida, that killed nearly 3,000 people.

The attacks a decade ago seemed to come out of nowhere, even though al-Qaida had previously struck American targets overseas.

The terrorists hijacked planes, flew one of them into one of Manhattan's Twin Towers — and, moments later, into the other one. Both buildings collapsed, trapping thousands inside and also claiming the lives of firefighters and others who had rushed to help them.

A third plane slammed into the Pentagon, defacing the symbol of America's military night. Officials have speculated that the fourth plane had been heading for the U.S. Capitol or perhaps even the White House when it crashed in Pennsylvania.

The attacks set off a chain of events that led the United States into wars in Afghanistan, and then Iraq, and America's entire intelligence apparatus was overhauled to counter the threat of more terror attacks at home.

A senior administration official said Obama gave the final order for U.S. officials to go after bin Laden on Friday. The official added that a small team found its quarry hiding in a large home in an affluent suburb of Islamabad. The raid occurred in the early morning hours Sunday.

Administration officials offered some details of the operation.

Based on statements given by U.S. detainees, intelligence officials have known for years that bin Laden trusted one al-Qaida courier in particular, and they believed he might be living with him in hiding. In November, intelligence officials found out where he was living, a huge fortified compound in an affluent suburb of Islamabad. It was surrounded by walls as high as 18 feet high, topped with barbed wire. There were two security gates and no phone or Internet running into the house.

Intelligence officials believed the $1 million home was custom-built to harbor a major terrorist. CIA experts analyzed whether it could be anyone else, but time and again, they decided it was almost certainly bin Laden.

Three adult males were also killed in Sunday's raid, including one of bin Laden's sons, whom officials did not name. One of bin Laden's sons, Hamza, is a senior member of al-Qaida.

Obama spoke with Bush and former President Bill Clinton Sunday night to inform them of the developments.

The president struck a less than boastful tone in his brief announcement, although he said the death of bin Laden was "the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al-Qaida.

"His death does not mark the end of our effort. There's no doubt that al-Qaida will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant," he added.

Moments after Obama spoke, the State Department put U.S. embassies on alert and warned of the heightened possibility for anti-American violence. In a worldwide travel alert, the department said there was an "enhanced potential for anti-American violence given recent counterterrorism activity in Pakistan."

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PostSubject: Re: BREAKING NEWS: BIN LADEN DEAD   Tue May 03, 2011 1:14 pm

After Uncertainty, a Moment of Triumph in the Situation Room: 'We've IDed Geronimo'

In this image released by the White House and digitally altered by the source to diffuse the paper in front of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House.

By Michael Scherer – Mon May 2, 6:15 pm ET

The people who gathered Sunday in the Situation Room know all about high-pressure situations. But this was something else. For 40 minutes, the President and his senior aides could do nothing but watch the video screens and listen to the operation and ensuing firefight on the other side of the world. At Barack Obama's orders, special operations teams were invading the airspace of a foreign country, targeting a compound with unknown occupants, and hoping to get out unscathed. The target was America's No. 1 enemy, Osama bin Laden. But no one knew for sure if he was even there.

The President sat stone-faced through much of the events. Several of his aides, however, were pacing. For long periods of time, nobody said a thing, as everyone waited for the next update. In the modern age, Presidents can experience their own military actions like a video game, except that they have no control over the events. They cannot, and would not, intervene to contact the commanders running the operation. So when word came that a helicopter had been grounded, a sign that the plan was already off course, the tension increased.

Minutes later, more word came over the transom. "We've IDed Geronimo," said a disembodied voice, using the agreed-upon code name for America's most wanted enemy, Osama bin Laden. Word then came that Geronimo had been killed. Only when the last helicopter lifted off some minutes later did the President know that his forces had sustained no casualties.

The decision to attack had been made days earlier by the President. He gathered his senior intelligence, military and diplomatic team together in the Situation Room on Thursday afternoon to hear his options. There were already concerns about operational security. At that point, hundreds of people had already been read into the potential whereabouts of bin Laden. Any leak would have ruined the entire mission.

The intelligence professionals said they did not know for sure that bin Laden was in the compound. The case was good, but circumstantial. The likelihood, officials told the President, was between 50% and 80%. No slam dunk. Obama went around the table asking everyone to state their opinion. He quizzed his staff about worst case scenarios - the possibility of civilian casualties, a hostage situation, a diplomatic blow-up with Pakistan, a downed helicopter. He was presented with three options: Wait to gather more intelligence, attack with targeted bombs from the air, or go in on the ground with troops. The room was divided about 50-50, said a person in the room. John Brennan, the President's senior counter-terrorism adviser, supported a ground strike, as did the operational people, including Leon Panetta at the CIA. Others called for more time. In the end, about half of the senior aides supported a helicopter assault. The other half said either wait, or strike from above.

Obama left the meeting without signaling his intent. He wanted to sleep on it. At about 8:00 a.m. on Friday, just before he boarded a helicopter that would take him to tour tornado damage in Alabama, Obama called his senior aides into the Diplomatic Room. He told them his decision: A helicopter assault. At that point, the operation was taken out of his hands. He was trusting the fate of his presidency to luck. He was putting his presidency in the hands of history.

(See pictures of Osama bin Laden's Pakistan hideout.)

Abbottabad, Pakistan, May 2, 2011
This is the house where Osama bin Laden was killed in a ground operation by U.S. special forces.

On Fire
A still image taken from video shows the compound in flames during the attack; this image was released on May 2, 2011.

An Interior Bedroom
A video frame grab obtained from ABC News shows the inside of the house in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011.

A video frame grab from inside the house, released May 2, 2011.

Deadly Scene
The floor of one of the rooms in the compound is seen in an image released on May 2, 2011.

The U.S. Department of Defense released this photo on May 2, 2011, showing the compound (highlighted) from above.

The Department of Defense released this graphic of the compound on May 2, 2011.

Crashed Helicopter
The remains of a helicopter that had mechanical failure during the operation lies near the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011.

Pakistani soldiers remove pieces of the downed helicopter in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011.

Military trucks cart the covered debris of the helicopter away from Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011.

Soldiers escort the trucks with the helicopter's remains out of Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011.

A soldier stands on the roof of the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011.

Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden are from the elite ‘Team 6’

A U.S. Navy SEAL member provides cover for his teammates advancing on a suspected location of al-Qaeda and Taliban forces, Jan. 26, 2002. No current photos of the Navy SEALs team that killed Osama bin Laden exist, as they operate in absolute secrecy.

Years of hunting down the world’s most wanted terrorist ended Sunday afternoon when a CIA-led Navy SEALs squadron of just a few dozen men stormed Osama bin Laden's compound and killed him.

The elite team of Navy SEALs tapped for the job were a group who were stationed at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach.

The team is part of a counterterrorism group so specialized that no one can apply to join it. The operatives are recruited from existing SEAL teams. They are an elite group within the elite.

The team was formed in response to the 1980 American hostages rescue attempt in Iran, which had been a huge failure and showed the need for a counterterrorist team that could operate under the utmost secrecy.

They exist outside military protocol and engage in operations that are at the highest level of classification and often outside the boundaries of international law.

Initially, the group was known as Team 6, a name that was created to confuse Soviet intelligence about the number of SEAL teams in operation at the time. (There were only two others.)

The name was changed in 1987 to the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, but the group is still commonly known as Team 6.

Team 6 has hunted down major al-Qaeda and Taliban figures since 2001, and also operated in Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Members are not allowed to talk about the elite group at all.

When Business Insider contacted a former Navy Seal, he said: “You know I'd love to help you man, but I can't say a word about Team 6. There is no Team 6.”

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