Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Obama Got Osama!

Well...It took ten years..but U.S. forces and justice finally caught up with Osama Bin Laden, the world's most wanted terrorist and the financer and mastermind behind the September 11th attacks in New York City, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.

In a nutshell, here is what happened..In case you've been living under a rock for the past 48 hours..U.S. intelligence officials were aware of bin Laden’s growing radicalism before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and began assembling a dossier on him.

"From the time that we first recognized bin Laden as a threat, the U.S. gathered information on people in bin Laden's circle, including his personal couriers," a senior official in the Obama administration said in a background briefing from the White House early Monday.

After the Sept. 11, attacks, "detainees gave us information on couriers. One courier in particular had our constant attention. Detainees gave us his nom de guerre, his pseudonym, and also identified this man as one of the few couriers trusted by Osama Bin Laden."

In 2007, U.S. Intellingence agents learned the man's name.It was not immediately clear where the information that opened the end game was obtained. The New York Times reported yesterday that detainees at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, gave the courier’s pseudonym to interrogators and identified him as a protégé of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the confessed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.(In custody) But the Associated Press quoted unidentified U.S. officials as saying that CIA interrogators at secret prisons developed strands that led to Osama Bin Laden.

In 2009, "we identified areas in Pakistan where the courier and his brother operated. They were very careful, reinforcing belief we were on the right track."The official said.

He went on to say-"In August 2010, "We found their home in Abbottabad, not in a cave, not right along the Afghanistan border, but in an affluent suburb less than 40 miles from the capital. When we saw the compound, we were shocked by what we saw: an extraordinarily unique compound."

The plot of land was roughly eight times larger than the other homes in the area. It was built in 2005 on the outskirts of town, but now some other homes are nearby.

"Physical security is extraordinary: 12 to 18 foot walls, walled areas, restricted access by two security gates." The residents burn their trash, unlike their neighbors. There are no windows facing the road. One part of the compound has its own seven-foot privacy wall.

And unusual for a compound valued at more than $1 million: It had no telephone or Internet service.

This home, U.S. intelligence analysts concluded, was "custom built to hide someone of significance."

Besides the two brothers, the U.S. "soon learned that a third family lived there, whose size and makeup of family we believed to match those we believed would be with bin Laden. Our best information was that bin Laden was there with his youngest wife." said another intelligence official.

There was no proof, but everything seemed to fit: the security, the background of the couriers, the design of the compound.

"Our analysts looked at this from every angle. No other candidate fit the bill as well as Osama Bin Laden did," an official said.

"The bottom line of our collection and analysis was that we had high confidence that the compound held a high-value terrorist target. There was a strong probability that it was bin Laden."

That conclusion was reached in mid-February, officials said. Beginning in mid-March, the president led five National Security Council meetings on the plans for an operation.

On Friday, President Barack Obama gave the order. "Go get him." This information was shared "with no other country," an official said. "Only a very small group of people inside our own government knew of this operation in advance." As Tony Soprano once said..."Three men can keep a secret if two of them are dead."

With Bin Laden believed found, focus shifted to taking him out. A senior U.S. security official told Reuters that it was a "kill operation," removing the option for the team to simply capture Bin Laden. Meaning...They weren't playing with old boy...All bets were off!

With Barack having authorized the operation,Leon Panetta, the CIA leader gave the order at midday Sunday for the joint special operations-military team that carried out the assault to raid the compound, the officials said. A senior U.S. official declined comment on whether CIA officers were on hand at the site, but Panetta's role as commander would suggest they were. The CIA and special operations forces have worked together for years in counterterrorism operations.

As you can tell..I'm enjoying telling this as though I was there...This reads like a movie I saw or something I might've written..According to current and former officials, Panetta was able to watch the operation in real time from the CIA, conferring live with Vice Adm. William H. McRaven, head of the Joint Special Operations Command, who was in Afghanistan.

A live video feed of the assault was available in both in the conference room and at the Situation Room at the White House, narrated by McRaven. One official described two moments in particular as "heart-stopping": the moment the choppers arrived on the scene, and when they left the country.

President Obama and the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, were among those on hand in the Situation Room. One official said it is unlikely that the entire video will be released because it contains operational information.

Following the death of Osama Bin Laden, a loud cheer went up from the CIA officials assembled in the conference room, which is just off the director’s main office.

At the same time, attention turned to identifying the remains as bin Laden. First, the commander on the ground (whose name has not been released) made a visual identification. Then, a digital image of OBL's remains was fed back to the CIA, where it was processed through a facial recognition system.

Also,Osama Bin Laden’s' widow, a young Yemeni woman, identified the remains as those of her husband. In addition to Osama Bin Laden, one of his adult sons, probably 19 year old Hamza Bin Laden, was killed as were a courier and the courier's brother. Bin Laden's widow remains in Pakistan, the officials said.

When the remains arrived in Afghanistan, an initial DNA test showed a high correlation of a match with the DNA on file. Saudi government had supplied the DNA long ago, having secured it from members of the bin Laden family. Bin Laden is one of 53 children of the late Mohammed Bin Laden.(Boy, those guys didn't buy many condoms did they?) Results of a more complete DNA testing later confirmed the identity with "100 percent certainty," the FBI said.

Early Monday, an official told NBC News that bin Laden's body had already been buried at sea — eliminating the possibility of a burial shrine.

Islamic tradition calls for a body to be buried within 24 hours, but finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world's most wanted terrorist would have been difficult, a senior administration official said.

According to the White House briefing, the military operation went smoothly except for a helicopter landing that was not part of the original plan. The choppers were only intended to hover over the scene, but due to a technical malfunction, one of them landed or fell — "not a crash," the official said — so the military dispatched a third "emergency" helicopter to the scene.

"This operation was a surgical raid by a small team designed to minimize collateral damage. Our team was on the compound for under 40 minutes and did not encounter any local authorities."

Bin Laden himself participated in the ensuing firefight, the officials suggested.

"Bin laden was killed in a firefight as our operators came onto the compound," an official said.

I heard he got a double tap...two shots to the dome...and it was "storyyyy over." So he's gone...Do you feel safer? I don't...He was basically a symbolic figure..He hadn't been running things or calling too many shots for years...There are others out there...and hopefully, they'll be gotten too..dead or alive..makes me no difference...

I'm happy for my President...This may just win him re-election...Who knows!! One thing it has done...If just for today and the rest of the week..It's brought all of us Americans together as one..If just for this moment!


Arlene said...

My friend's son was killed in Tower 1 on 9/11 and I'm glad OBL has been called to task for his deeds. I believe his greatest judgement is yet to come and the hand of man will not be involved. Vengence is the Lord's!

And you're right, I don't feel any more or less safe. As Chris Rock said, I have less concern for Al-Qaeda than Al Cracker! The teapublicans are on my front burner. I'm more concerned about full-day kindergarten, open fire houses and the price of gasoline and bread in Philly.

Mizrepresent said...

Great post Keith. There is so much we really don't know, but i am grateful to the Presidents resolve to end this thing.


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