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Monday, May 2, 2011

TIMELINE AND STORY OF BIN LADENS DEATH MAY 1, 2011...see bin Laden photos

40 minutes to capture or kill: Timeline, history of Osama bin Laden raid

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wjO2xXLn0w



The dramatic events early Monday, with a firefight that ended in Osama bin Laden's death in Pakistan, were preceded by years of intelligence gathering and extensive, painstaking planning.

BIN LADEN PHOTOS

http://framework.latimes.com/2011/05/01/osama-bin-laden-photos/#/3

It took months to build a picture of who was living in the compound, but eventually the CIA concluded that one of the families matched intelligence suggesting that Bin Laden was living with several wives and children in Pakistan.



"There wasn't perfect visibility on everything inside the compound, but we did have a very good idea," as surveillance continued, of the number of people living there, including how many women and children were in one of the families, said one of the intelligence officials. The number squared with the number believed to be living with Bin Laden.



It wasn't until early 2011 that the intelligence agencies became more certain that Bin Laden might be hiding there, one of the senior intelligence officials said,



"Earlier this year, our confidence level grew much higher," the official said.



'Several possible courses of action'



As that confidence grew, President Obama in March ordered his national security team to develop "several possible courses of action" for invading the Abbottabad site, according to senior administration officials.



The team brought several options to the president for review. Those options were "refined" over the course of the next several weeks, the official said.



All in all, the president convened at least nine meetings with his national security team, whose members also met among themselves at regular intervals.



The president did not authorize the bombing of the compound, the official said, preferring instead an extraction operation that called for Bin Laden either to be captured or killed by a U.S. team on the ground — although some officials believed his capture to be an unlikely outcome.



Officials denied that they had decided ahead of time to kill Bin Laden, rather than attempt to take him prisoner. "The purpose of the operation was to kill or capture Bin Laden," a senior Pentagon official said Monday. "There were certainly capture contingencies."



Though Pakistan's government was not told that the U.S. suspected Bin Laden was at the compound, it did provide information that helped focus efforts on the Abbottabad fortress, one of the senior intelligence officials said.



"There was body of intelligence brought" to Obama, one of the Pentagon officials said, "but in the weeks and months beforehand, his personal attention pushed the case to a new level."



On Friday, before traveling to Alabama to survey storm damage, the president gave the go-ahead for the team to go in. The original plan was for it to go in Saturday, but due to weather, they changed it to Sunday.



Had the operation gone on Saturday as planned, it would have coincided closely with a North Atlantic Treaty Organization strike on a house in Tripoli where Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi, another longtime U.S. foe, was believed to have been visiting. That strike killed Kadafi's son.



Saturday evening, the president offered light remarks at the White House correspondents dinner at a hotel in Washington, joking about his birth certificate and Donald Trump, but he had spent much of the day being briefed on the operation. And his national security staff was working furiously back at the White House.



At one point, the president left the dais at the dinner, but he soon returned.



On Sunday, Obama monitored the operation in the White House situation room, along with Tom Donilon, his national security advisor.



John Brennan, the administration's counter-terrorism adviser, said it was "probably one of the most anxiety-filled periods of times in the lives of the people assembled here yesterday. Minutes passed like days.''



Other officials present in the room included Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and James Clapper, the director of national intelligence.














At 3:50 p.m., he learned that Bin Laden had been "tentatively identified." A little more than three hours later, the president was told, after the operation, that there was a "high probability" that it had been the Al Qaeda leader who had been killed in the operation.



DNA testing would later confirm Bin Laden's identity. Seeking to dispel questions about whether Bin Laden was actually killed, a senior intelligence official said Monday that the CIA and other agencies had conducted "initial DNA analysis," comparing a sample taken from the body with DNA samples from several Bin Laden family members.



The results matched, leading the official to say that there was "virtually 100%" certainty that the body was that of Bin Laden.



In addition to DNA samples, a woman believed to be one of his wives identified Bin Laden by name during the operation, the intelligence official said. CIA specialists also compared photographs of the body with previous shots of Bin Laden, the official said.



Informing top lawmakers of Bin Laden's death



Soon after the operation was completed, the calls to Democratic and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill went out.



Obama personally called House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to inform them about the operation and Bin Laden's death.



Reid said Monday that Obama called shortly after 9:30 pm EDT. "The president was very somber," Reid said.



Vice President Biden called Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at 10 p.m. EDT. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) got a call Sunday night from the vice president, as did House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).



Defense Secretary Robert Gates called Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.



Reid indicated he had been briefed regularly by Leon Panetta, director of the CIA. The two had held one-on-one briefings, often in rooms in the Capitol, for several months. The briefings were broadly focused but also contained information about the compound being targeted in Pakistan.



"I've been following this with director Panetta for some time now," Reid said. When the president called Sunday night, Reid said, "I had in my mind's eye" the facility.



Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Monday he and other committee members were first briefed about the compound in January.



Then, intelligence officials believed there was not enough information to confirm it was Bin Laden's residence, Rogers said.



"They believed that someone important was using this facility … but just wasn't sure what the target was," he said. Rogers said intelligence that helped lead to Bin Laden's death first surfaced four years ago but declined to be specific.



Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was told the news by Panetta on Sunday but did not wait for the president's speech to share the development. She blurted it out at a memorial service in California.



Meanwhile, Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said she found out news of Bin Laden's death "like everybody else."



"I was watching 'Celebrity Apprentice' when they broke in," she said. "I felt sorry for the president. Every news station already had that it was Osama Bin Laden. But I wanted to stay up [for his speech] and hear how it happened."

__________________________________________________________________________

Reporting from Washington— After landing by helicopter at the Pakistani compound housing Osama bin Laden early Monday, local time, the U.S. special operations team tasked with capturing or killing the Al Qaeda leader found itself in an almost continuous gun battle.




For the next 40 minutes, the team cleared the two buildings within the fortified compound in Abbottabad, north of Islamabad, trying to reach Bin Laden and his family, who lived on the second and third floors of the largest structure, senior Defense Department and intelligence officials said Monday.



"Throughout most of the 40 minutes, they were engaged in a firefight," said a senior Pentagon official, who characterized the operation as intense but deliberate.



Photos: Osama bin Laden dead



Bin Laden "resisted" and was killed by U.S. gunfire in the larger building toward the end of the operation. He fired on the assault team, a U.S. official said, and may have tried to use his wife as a shield. Other officials said disputed that Bin Laden fired a weapon. A woman also was killed, but it was not Bin Laden's wife, officials said.



After the firefight, the special-operations force quickly gathered papers — valuable intelligence on Al Qaeda, officials said — and other materials in the two buildings and clambered back on helicopters, taking Bin Laden's corpse with them.



Before departing, the U.S. team blew up one of the helicopters, a Blackhawk, which had experienced mechanical problems, officials said.



No detainees were taken, and the women and children who survived the attack were left at the compound, Pentagon officials said.



"This wasn't an execution," one U.S. official later said. "The assessment going into it was that it's highly unlikely that's he's going to be taken alive, but if he decided to lay down his arms, he would have been taken captive."



Bin Laden's body was taken to the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson in the northern part of the Arabian Sea and buried at sea Monday at around 1 a.m. EDT.



Pentagon officials said the decision to bury Bin Laden at sea was made because no country was willing to take the body for burial. But it also seems clear that the United States wanted to avoid him being buried on land for fear that the location could become a shrine for Bin Laden's supporters.



The funeral was conducted using what a Pentagon official said were "traditional procedures for Islamic burials."



The body was washed and placed in a white sheet on a flat board as a U.S. military chaplain read remarks that were translated into Arabic. Then the board was lifted up, the official said, and the "deceased body eased into the sea." The funeral was conducted on the ship's hangar deck, not the flight deck, which is at the waterline.



The assault was quick, brutal, risk-filled — and ultimately a massive success, the product of months of careful planning and years of intelligence gathering.



Years of gathering intelligence



Before learning of the compound in Abbottabad last August, the U.S. had had little hard information about Bin Laden's whereabouts for many years, senior intelligence officials said Monday.



But after learning the identity of one of Bin Laden's couriers, they tracked him to the facility, which immediately raised suspicions because of its elaborate security and relative luxury compared with the surrounding neighborhood, the officials said.



Key information that enabled the Central Intelligence Agency to eventually identify the courier came from detainees held by the U.S., according to senior intelligence officials, and crucial information came from interrogations years ago of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, officials said. Mohammed had been subjected to waterboarding and other brutal interrogation methods.



"We were able to get pieces of information from detainees," the official said. "That took years, and these guys don't give it up all willingly."
The information enabled intelligence agencies to develop "a composite" of Bin Laden's courier network, which he used to smuggle out audiotapes and to communicate with underlings.




It took months to build a picture of who was living in the compound, but eventually the CIA concluded that one of the families matched intelligence suggesting that Bin Laden was living with several wives and children in Pakistan.



"There wasn't perfect visibility on everything inside the compound, but we did have a very good idea," as surveillance continued, of the number of people living there, including how many women and children were in one of the families, said one of the intelligence officials. The number squared with the number believed to be living with Bin Laden.



It wasn't until early 2011 that the intelligence agencies became more certain that Bin Laden might be hiding there, one of the senior intelligence officials said,



"Earlier this year, our confidence level grew much higher," the official said.



'Several possible courses of action'



As that confidence grew, President Obama in March ordered his national security team to develop "several possible courses of action" for invading the Abbottabad site, according to senior administration officials.



The team brought several options to the president for review. Those options were "refined" over the course of the next several weeks, the official said.



All in all, the president convened at least nine meetings with his national security team, whose members also met among themselves at regular intervals.



The president did not authorize the bombing of the compound, the official said, preferring instead an extraction operation that called for Bin Laden either to be captured or killed by a U.S. team on the ground — although some officials believed his capture to be an unlikely outcome.



Officials denied that they had decided ahead of time to kill Bin Laden, rather than attempt to take him prisoner. "The purpose of the operation was to kill or capture Bin Laden," a senior Pentagon official said Monday. "There were certainly capture contingencies."



Though Pakistan's government was not told that the U.S. suspected Bin Laden was at the compound, it did provide information that helped focus efforts on the Abbottabad fortress, one of the senior intelligence officials said.

There was body of intelligence brought" to Obama, one of the Pentagon officials said, "but in the weeks and months beforehand, his personal attention pushed the case to a new level."




On Friday, before traveling to Alabama to survey storm damage, the president gave the go-ahead for the team to go in. The original plan was for it to go in Saturday, but due to weather, they changed it to Sunday.



Had the operation gone on Saturday as planned, it would have coincided closely with a North Atlantic Treaty Organization strike on a house in Tripoli where Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi, another longtime U.S. foe, was believed to have been visiting. That strike killed Kadafi's son.



Saturday evening, the president offered light remarks at the White House correspondents dinner at a hotel in Washington, joking about his birth certificate and Donald Trump, but he had spent much of the day being briefed on the operation. And his national security staff was working furiously back at the White House.



At one point, the president left the dais at the dinner, but he soon returned.



On Sunday, Obama monitored the operation in the White House situation room, along with Tom Donilon, his national security advisor.



John Brennan, the administration's counter-terrorism adviser, said it was "probably one of the most anxiety-filled periods of times in the lives of the people assembled here yesterday. Minutes passed like days.''



Other officials present in the room included Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and James Clapper, the director of national intelligence.


At 2 p.m. Sunday EDT, Obama met with his national security team to review final preparations on the assault.




At 3:50 p.m., he learned that Bin Laden had been "tentatively identified." A little more than three hours later, the president was told, after the operation, that there was a "high probability" that it had been the Al Qaeda leader who had been killed in the operation.



DNA testing would later confirm Bin Laden's identity. Seeking to dispel questions about whether Bin Laden was actually killed, a senior intelligence official said Monday that the CIA and other agencies had conducted "initial DNA analysis," comparing a sample taken from the body with DNA samples from several Bin Laden family members.



The results matched, leading the official to say that there was "virtually 100%" certainty that the body was that of Bin Laden.



In addition to DNA samples, a woman believed to be one of his wives identified Bin Laden by name during the operation, the intelligence official said. CIA specialists also compared photographs of the body with previous shots of Bin Laden, the official said.












MAY 3. 2011 UPDATE

Hours after a team of U.S. Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in a secret raid on his compound in Pakistan, President Barack Obama went on television to tell the nation about the triumph.




"Justice has been done," the president said.



Americans have been absorbing the world-changing news ever since, and several briefings by Obama national security officials at the White House, Defense Department, and CIA have followed. But some of the details have proven inaccurate and were later corrected, as Politico's Josh Gerstein noted.



For instance, White House spokesperson Jay Carney said Tuesday that--contrary to earlier officials descriptions of a firefight--bin Laden didn't have a weapon during the Sunday raid. Bin Laden "was not armed," Carney said at the White House press briefing Tuesday. He was shot and killed after his wife "rushed the U.S. assaulter." You can watch Carney's exchange with the White House press corps in the video above.



Earlier, White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, in a press conference Monday, said that bin Laden's wife had been killed after bin Laden used her as a human shield. Officials are now saying that bin Laden's wife was injured, and it was a separate woman who was killed.



"Bin Laden died; the two al Qaeda facilitators--the brothers, who were--the courier and his brother in the compound; bin Laden's son Hamza; and the woman, presumed to be his wife, who was shielding bin Laden," Brennan said.



Asked by a reporter if bin Laden's wife was used as a shield for bin Laden, Brennan hesitated:



"I wasn't there so I hesitate to say," he said.



"But she was in front of him?" a reporter asked.



"But it was an effort to try to shield bin Laden from the ... " Brennan said, not completing the sentence, but presumably referencing the Navy SEALs then closing in on the terrorist leader.



Later in the press conference, Brennan was asked again if the woman killed was bin Laden's wife.



"That's my understanding. It was one of them," he responded.



"And he was using her as a shield?" the reporter, ABC's Jake Tapper, asked.

"She served as a shield. Again, this is my understanding--and we're still getting the reports of exactly what happened at particular moments--that when--she fought back; when there was the opportunity to get to bin Laden, she was positioned in a way that indicated that she was being used as a shield," Brennan said. "Whether or not bin Laden or the son, or whatever, put her there, or she put herself there, but, yes, that's again, my understanding that she met her demise, and my understanding is that she was one of bin Laden's wives."



A U.S. official told The Envoy Tuesday, on condition of anonymity, that Bin Laden's injured wife was left at the compound by the U.S. team. Another woman, who has not been publicly identified, was killed in the raid, the official said.



(Indeed, the New York Times reported that one of bin Laden's wives actually identified bin Laden. A former senior U.S. intelligence official told the Times it was his understanding that it was the wife who was injured and left on the scene.)



U.S. officials explained the mix-up as hardly unexpected in the early aftermath of such a high-tempo operation.



"Two women were shot here. It sounds like their fates were mixed up," a U.S. official told Politico's Gerstein. "This is hours old and the full facts are still being ascertained as those involved are debriefed."



In total, the U.S. official said Tuesday, five people were killed in the raid: Bin Laden, his adult son, the Al Qaeda courier, the courier's brother, and an adult female — "not [bin Laden's] wife."



Ambiguity still surrounds the key break in the effort to track bin Laden down--the al Qaeda courier U.S. officials monitored and followed to the Abbottobad compound. The Associated Press reported Monday the man in question was a Kuwaiti-born Pakistani who used the nom de guerre Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti; the CIA later determined that his actual name was Sheikh Abu Ahmed, the AP noted.



But there are some suggestions that the courier's name and identity may be provisional too. Earlier reports suggested that Abd al-Khaliq Jan was the identity of the courier in question.

________________________________________________________________________

Osama bin Laden was not armed when U.S. forces shot and killed him, the White House announced Tuesday.




Press Secretary Jay Carney delivered a fuller public readout of the 40-minute raid on the Al Qaeda leader’s compound, during which he also clarified that Bin Laden’s wife was shot, but not killed, as was stated Monday.






"There was concern that Bin Laden would oppose the capture operation and indeed he did resist," Carney, reading from notes, said. "In the room with Bin Laden, a woman, Bin Laden's wife, rushed the U.S. assaulter and was shot in the leg, but not killed."



He later said that "resistance" does not "require a firearm."



The "narrative," as Carney described it, was provided by the Pentagon, he said.



Carney also was asked to describe the circumstances around the iconic photo released Monday evening which showed the president and his top national security aides riveted as they received updates on the operation against Bin Laden.



The spokesman said only that the team was watching live updates of the operation as it occurred, "during the tense moments" before the outcome was known.



Below is the full description read by Carney from the press briefing room:



"On orders of the president, a small U.S. team assaulted a secure compound in an affluent suburb of Islamabad to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. The raid was conducted with U.S. military personnel assaulting on two helicopters. The team methodically cleared the compound, moving from room to room, in an operation lasting nearly 40 minutes. They were engaged in a firefight throughout the operation, and Osama bin Laden was killed by the assaulting force.



"In addition to the Bin Laden family, two other families resided in the compound, one family on the first floor of the Bin Laden building and one family in a second building. One team began the operation on the first floor of the Bin Laden house and worked their way to the third floor. A second team cleared the separate building.



"On the first floor of Bin Laden's building, two Al Qaeda couriers were killed, along with a woman who was killed in crossfire. Bin Laden and his family were found on the second and third floor of the building. There was concern that Bin Laden would oppose the capture operation and indeed he did resist. In the room with Bin Laden, a woman, Bin Laden's wife, rushed the U.S. assaulter and was shot in the leg, but not killed. Bin Laden was then shot and killed. He was not armed.



"Following the firefight, the noncombatants were moved to a safe location as the damaged helicopter was detonated. The team departed the scene via helicopter to the USS Carl Vinson in the north Arabian Sea.



"Aboard the USS Carl Vinson, the burial of bin Laden was done in conformance with Islamic precepts and practices. The deceased’s body was washed and then placed in a white sheet. The body was placed in a weighted bag. A military officer read prepared religious remarks which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up, and the deceased body eased into the sea."

MAY 7 2011 UPDATE
WASHINGTON – From a shabby, makeshift office, he ran a global terrorist empire. The world's most wanted man watched newscasts of himself from a tiny television perched atop a rickety old desk cluttered with wires.




For years, the world only saw Osama bin Laden in the rare propaganda videos that trickled out, the ones portraying him as a charismatic religious figure unfazed by being the target of worldwide manhunt.



On Saturday, the U.S. released a handful of videos, selected to show bin Laden in a much more candid, unflattering light. In the short clips, bin Laden appears hunched and tired, seated on the floor, watching television wrapped in a wool blanket and wearing a knit cap. Outtakes of his propaganda tapes show that they were heavily scripted affairs. He dyed and trimmed his beard for the cameras, then shot and reshot his remarks until the timing and lighting were just right.



The videos were among the evidence seized by Navy SEALs after a pre-dawn raid Monday that killed bin Laden in his walled Pakistani compound. The movies, along with computer disks, thumb drives and handwritten notes, reveal that bin Laden was still actively involved in planning and directing al-Qaida's plots against the U.S., according to a senior U.S. intelligence official who briefed reporters Saturday and insisted his name not be used.



"The material found in the compound only further confirms how important it was to go after Bin Laden," said CIA director Leon Panetta in a statement Saturday. "Since 9/11, this is what the American people have expected of us. In this critical operation, we delivered."









The notes and computer material showed that bin Laden's compound was a command and control center for al-Qaida, where the terrorist mastermind stayed in contact with al-Qaida affiliates around the world through a network of couriers, the intelligence official said. Bin Laden was eager to strike American cities again and discussed ways to attack trains, officials said, though it appeared that plan never progressed beyond early discussions.



Officials said the clips shown to reporters were just part of the largest collection of senior terrorist materials ever collected. The evidence seized during the raid also includes phone numbers and documents that officials hope will help break the back of the organization behind the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.



The videos showing "out-takes" — the miscues by bin-Laden that were destined for the cutting room floor — were offered as further proof of bin Laden's death. President Barack Obama decided this week not to release photos of bin Laden's body, which were deemed too gruesome to reveal. The U.S. has said it confirmed bin Laden's death using DNA.



But by selecting unflattering clips of bin Laden, the U.S. is also working to shatter the image he worked so hard to craft.



"It showed that bin Laden was not the superhero he wanted his people to think," said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.



One video clearly shows the terror leader choosing and changing channels with a remote control, which he points at what appears to be a satellite cable box. U.S. officials have previously said there was a satellite dish for television reception but no Internet or phone lines ran to the house. Cellphones were prohibited on the compound.



It's unclear how many tapes were pulled out of the house, and U.S. officials say they're scouring the intelligence so quickly it has not even been catalogued and counted yet. But there may be a trove of recordings. According to the book "Growing Up Bin Laden," by two of his sons, the terrorist leader nearly always kept a tape recorder nearby to take down his thoughts, plans and musings about politics and the world.



Among the material handed out was an al-Qaida propaganda video, apparently intended for public release, entitled "Message to the American People," likely filmed sometime last fall, the official said. Bin Laden has not released a video since 2007, and officials were sure why this one had not been released.



The official said the short taped message denigrated capitalism and included anti-American messages similar to his previous tapes, but he refused to say if it included a direct threat against the United States. The government released the video without sound because it did not want to disseminate a terrorist message.



Al-Qaida has confirmed the death of its founder, but did not announce a successor. Intelligence officials have taken that as an indication that the attack dealt a heavy blow dealt to the organization. The most likely successor, al-Qaida deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, is not as charismatic as bin Laden and is not as popular in the group. Officials have said he is unlikely to galvanize followers as bin Laden had.



A taskforce headed by the CIA is working through the material, combing it round the clock to find clues to plots that might already be underway. The U.S. launched airstrikes in Pakistan and Yemen this week, but the U.S. official would not confirm whether the bin Laden intelligence has already led to attacks.



Arabic speakers from around the intelligence committee have been tapped to help review the intelligence. The team includes intelligence specialists from throughout the national security community, including the code-breakers at the National Security Agency, the satellite specialists from National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, and the FBI.

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