PRESIDENT OBAMA ANNOUNCES OSAMA BIN LADEN DEAD JUSTICE HAS BEEN DONE VIDEO AND THE TRANSCRIPT HILLARY CLINTON NEARLY BLEW THE WHISTLE ON ISI SAFEHOUSE

WASHINGTON: The finger of suspicion is pointing squarely at the Pakistani military and intelligence for sheltering and protecting Osama bin Ladenbefore US forces hunted him down and put a bullet in his head on Sunday. The coordinates of the action and sequence of events suggest that the al-Qaida fugitive may have been killed in an ISI safehouse.

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.

It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory — hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.
And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.
On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.
We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda — an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.
Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort. We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.
Yet Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.
And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.
Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.
Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.
For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.
Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must –- and we will — remain vigilant at home and abroad.
As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.
Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done. But it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people.
Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.
The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded.
So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done.
Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work, nor know their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.
We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.
Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.
And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.
The cause of securing our country is not complete. But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.
Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

Within hours of the news of bin Laden’s killing, speculation raged about Pakistan and its spy agency’s role in the momentous episode. President Obama made it clear that the operation to hunt down bin Laden was conducted exclusively by US forces — ”a small team of Americans,” he said — at his direction. While he thanked Pakistan’s civilian government for its help, naming President Zardari in particular, he made no mention of any other active Pakistani role, especially in the operation. It was “all-American” and “Made in USA,” he seemed to say.

But in a glaring counter-narrative, Pakistani security officials claimed bin Laden was nailed in a joint operation between CIA and Pakistani forces. “It was carried out on a very precise info that some high-value target is there,” one Pakistani official was quoted as saying.

US analysts uniformly suggested this was clearly aimed at ducking charges of the Pakistani military’s possible role in hiding bin Laden. ”This is hugely embarrassing for Pakistan,” was a common refrain on US TV channels throughout the night.

In fact, top US officials have openly suggested for months that the Pakistani military establishment was hiding bin Laden. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came closest to publicly exposing Pakistan’s role last May when she accused some government officials there of harboring Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar.

”I am not saying they are at the highest level…but I believe somewhere in this government are people who know where Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida and where Mullah Omar and the leadership of the Taliban are,” Clinton said on May 10 last year, adding, ”We expect more cooperation (from Pakistan) to help us bring to justice capture or kill those who brought us 9/11.”

Taken together with President Obama’s pointed ‘thank you’ to President Zardari and leaving out any mention of Pakistani forces’ involvement, it would seem that Washington believes that Pakistan’s military intelligence establishment, including the ISI, was sheltering bin Laden. The ISI was accused as recently as last week by the top US military official Admiral Mike Mullen of having terrorist links, and named as a terrorist support entity by US officials, according to the Guantanamo cables.

Lending credence to the charges is the fact that US forces homed in on bin Laden in Abbottabad, which is a cantonment just 50 kms from Islamabad, where the Pakistani military has a strong presence. The place where bin Laden was killed is only kilometers from the Kakul military academy, where many Pakistani military elites, including some of its ISI cadres, graduate from.

While US officials are tightlipped about precise details, analysts are trying to figure out whether the compound that sheltered bin Laden was an ISI safehouse. There is also speculation as to whether Hillary Clinton was referring to this when she made her pointed remarks last May.

US officials have said for years that they believed bin Laden escaped to Pakistan after the American bombing campaign in Afghanistan. But Pakistani officials, including its former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, insisted that he was in Afghanistan, even as Afghan officials would angrily refute it and say he is in Pakistan. In the end, the Americans and Afghans were right on the money.

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Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, is dead
Osama Bin Laden is dead, President Obama announced Sunday night, in a televised address to the nation. His death was the result of a U.S. operation launched today in Abbottabad, Pakistan, against a compound where bin Laden was believed to be hiding, according to U.S. intelligence. After a firefight, a small team of American forces killed bin Laden and took possession of his body, the president said.
“Tonight I can report to the American people and the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden,” Obama said during brief remarks at the White House.
“Justice has been done,” he said, in comments that marked a formal end of the manhunt for the most visible and emotionally-charged symbol of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The president said U.S. intelligence operatives received a tip in August on bin Laden’s whereabouts, which ultimately led to Sunday’s attack. Obama said he determined last week that the U.S. had enough reliable information to take action; by Sunday morning, he had authorized “a small team of Americans” to conduct an operation targeting bin Laden.
“After a fire fight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body,” the president said. “No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties.”
Obama said the 9/11 attacks that bin Laden and his lieutenants orchestrated nearly 10 years ago remain “the worst attack on the American people in our history” and said the images of the crumbling Twin Towers “are seared into our national memory.”
The president emphasized that Americans “did not choose this fight” against al Qaeda, but rather, “it came to our shores.” He praised U.S. military and intelligence professionals for working “tirelessly to achieve this outcome.” To the families of 9/11 victims, he noted that the U.S. has “never forgotten your loss.”
“Tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11,” Obama said. “I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.”
Both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had targeted bin Laden during their presidencies, and both had failed to either capture him or kill him. The failure to snare bin Laden weighed most heavily, perhaps, on the Bush Administration, which occupied the White House during the 9/11 attacks, and the al Qaeda leader’s killing falls exactly eight years to the day when Bush famously declared “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq.
Bush said in a statement that Obama called him Sunday night to inform him of “the momentous achievement” of bin Laden’s death.
“I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude,” Bush said. “The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.”
Clinton, who was president when the first World Trade Center bombing occurred in 1993, issued a statement calling bin Laden’s murder “a profoundly important moment not just for the families of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and in al-Qaida’s other attacks but for people all over the world who want to build a common future of peace, freedom, and cooperation for our children.”
In a conference call with reporters just after President Obama spoke, senior administration officials provided a detailed sketch of how the intelligence on bin Laden’s whereabouts was gathered. Intelligence officials had been conducting lengthy reconnaissance work prior to receiving their key tip in August. According to senior administration officials, suspected terrorists in custody since 9/11 — including the attack’s mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — identified a courier who had a close relationship with bin Laden. “This man was one of the few al Qaeda couriers trusted by bin Laden,” one senior administration official said. “They indicated he might be living with and protecting bin Laden. But for years we were unable to identify his true name or his location. Four years ago we uncovered his identity… About two years ago, after months of persistent effort, we identified areas of Pakistan where the courier and his brother operated. Still, we were unable to pinpoint exactly where they lived due to extensive operational security on their part. The fact that they were being so careful reinforced our belief that we were on the right track.” When the intelligence community finally pinpointed the courier’s location, they were “shocked by what we saw,” said this official.
The neighborhood in Abbottabad was “relatively affluent with lots of retired military,” this official continued, and was insulated from urban areas or places susceptible to natural disaster and terrorist attacks. The home was “roughly eight times larger than the other homes in the area,” and it was surrounded by 12-to-18-foot-high walls, topped with barbed wire. It had two security gates and a value of roughly $1 million, although it lacked telephone and Internet connections.
An even more telling clue for intelligence operatives: The occupants of the house were burning their trash rather than putting it out for collection. One senior administration official suggested bin Laden had been staying at the compound for at least six months without moving. Bin Laden was known to have regularly shifted locations to evade capture, so it’s unusual that he chose to stay in on spot for such an extended period.
More recently, the Obama administration had reduced the number of drone strikes in the area — while ramping up surveillance — in an effort to give the al Qaeda leader a heightened sense of safety in his home. Prior to the operation, Obama convened nine meetings with his national security team to review intelligence. According to a White House aide, “Principals met formally an additional five times themselves and their deputies met seven times.”
The president made the decision to undertake the operation at 8:20 a.m. on April 29th in the White House’s Diplomatic Room before he left to survey tornado damage in Alabama. Tom Donilon, his National Security Advisor, prepared the formal orders and convened the principals at 3 p.m. that same day to complete the planning.
Final preparations were made on Sunday. At 2 p.m., the president met with top advisers for an hour and half, at which point he returned to the Situation Room for an additional briefing. Twenty minutes after that, he learned that bin Laden had been “tentatively identified.” By 7 p.m. he was told it was highly probable that bin Laden was at the compound. By 8:30 p.m., he received an additional briefing. He signed off on the attack after that.
No other intelligence operatives in other countries were told of the attack before it occurred — including Pakistani operatives — according to administration officials. Vice President Joseph Biden informed congressional leadership of the attack shortly before it took place, aides on the Hill told the Huffington Post.
Details about the fight itself are still difficult to come by. According to local reports in Pakistan, a helicopter involved in the attack had a mechanical problem and crashed.
U.S. forces intentionally destroyed the remainder of the wreckage to reduce signs of their presence in the area , according to NBC and other media reports. Two helicopters remained to provide cover for Joint Special Operations Command forces; in addition, there was a predator drone.
The fight lasted only 40 minutes and was described by a senior administration official as a “surgical raid” conducted by a Navy Seals unit. Bin Laden’s adult son was killed, as were two of his couriers and a woman being used as a human shield. Bin Laden himself “did resist the assault force,” a senior administration official said. Reports on Sunday night said the terrorist leader was ultimately shot in the head.
Officials warned that in the aftermath of the attack, Americans should be on alert for a reprisal from al Qaeda. However, one official added, there were “no specific threats” as of Sunday night. ABC News reported that authorities plan to bury bin Laden’s body at sea in order to leave no definitive location for his final resting place. It will be done, an official added, “in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition.”
“Americans understand the costs of war,” Obama said toward the end of his remarks. “Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies.”
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Today 2:36 PM Senior Admin. Official Credits ‘Years Of Careful And Highly Advanced Intelligence Work’

The White House Press Office reports that a Senior Administrative Official said at a press briefing:

The operation itself was the culmination of years of careful and highly advanced intelligence work. Officers from the CIA, the NGA, the NSA all worked very hard as a team to analyze and pinpoint this compound. Together they applied their very unique expertise and capabilities to America’s most vexing intelligence problem, where to find bin Laden.

When the case had been made that this was a critical target, we began to prepare this mission in conjunction with the U.S. military. In the end, it was the matchless skill and courage of these Americans that secured this triumph for our country and the world. I’m very proud of the entire team that worked on this operation, and am very thankful to the President for the courage that he displayed in making the decision to proceed with this operation.

Today 2:25 PM PHOTO: SMU Student Voices Support For President Bush

SMU Daily Mustang provided this image on yfrog of an SMU student and her family with a sign thanking President Bush outside his house.
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Today 2:15 PM PHOTOS: People Hold Candles Near Ground Zero

HuffPost’s Rob Fishman provides these images of people holding candles near Ground Zero:
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Today 2:10 PM PHOTO: Man Climbs Traffic Pole

HuffPost’s Rob Fishman provides a photo of a man climbing a traffic pole near Ground Zero:
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Today 2:03 PM The Trail To Osama Bin Laden

It started with a courier’s name.

Senior White House officials said early Monday that the trail that led to Osama bin Laden began before 9/11, before the terror attacks that brought bin Laden to prominence. The trail warmed up last fall, when it discovered an elaborate compound in Pakistan.
“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.
More here.

Today 1:49 PM PHOTO: Crowds Swell At Ground Zero

HuffPost’s Rob Fishman provides this image from Ground Zero:

Today 1:47 PM Amazing Image Of Firefighters In Times Square

Grist’s David Roberts has tweeted this image from The New York Times:
drgrist @ drgrist : This photo is absolutely amazing: http://yfrog.com/h3pt5ntj

Today 1:39 PM ’Justice Has Been Done’: What Osama Bin Laden’s Death Means For Obama, Our Country

HuffPost’s Howard Fineman reports:
WASHINGTON— Nearly a decade ago, President George W. Bush stood atop the rubble of the World Trade Center and became the sheriff with the bullhorn who vowed to kill or capture Osama bin Laden. But it was left to his successor, known more for faith in diplomacy than force, to Get Our Man.
“Justice has been done,” a relieved and proud President Barack Obama said in the East Room late Sunday. Americans had shown their unity and determination by bringing bin Laden to justice with a bullet to the head in a suburb compound of Islamabad, he said.
We need to remember we are one country, the president said, with an unquenchable faith in each other and our future.
It would be nice to think that he is right.
Read the full report here.

Today 1:37 PM New Yorkers Flock To Ground Zero

HuffPost’s Rob Fishman reports from Ground Zero:
It took Greg Baumam and Caz Crane about 12 minutes to bike to ground zero from the Lower East Side of Manhattan. They’ve lived in New York for two years, having moved from Delaware and Florida respectively.
“We just took him out, man!” said Crane. “He took out that building,” Crane added, pointing across the way toward ground zero.
“They just started coming from all over the place,” Crane said, signaling to the sprawling crowds that have enclosed the site of the former World Trade Center.
“We had to try like three different times to get in here,” said Baumam.
“Just celebrating justice,” said Crane, as they clapped their hands and joined the USA! chants.
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Today 1:31 PM Osama Bin Laden Reportedly Shot In The Head

CNN: Osama bin Laden was shot in the head during a U.S. raid, a congressional source familiar with the operation says.

Today 1:28 PM Crowd Celebrates Outside White House

HuffPost’s Ryan Grim reports from outside the White House:
The last spontaneous celebration outside the White House was on election night in November 2008. This crowd is about a third that size and smelling much less of alcohol. Some folks, though, are drinking beer on Pennsylvania Ave., where the crowd is spilling out into Lafayette Park.

Today 1:25 PM U.S. Monitored Compound For Months

ABC News reports:

The U.S. had been monitoring the compound in Abbottabad for months after receiving a tip in August that Bin Laden might be seeking shelter there. He had long been said to be in the mountainous region along the Afghanistan, Pakistan border, hiding in a cave as the U.S. sought to kill him with drone strikes from above. Instead, he was in a house eight times larger than its neighbors, with a seven-foot wall and valued at $1 million. The house had no phone of television and the residents burned their trash. The house had high windows and few points of access, and U.S. officials concluded it had been built to hide someone.

Read the full report here.

Today 1:23 PM PHOTO: The Night Is Captured On Cameras

HuffPost’s Rob Fishman says, “The night is surely being commemorated: Nearly everyone is holding up a phone or camera.”

Photo courtesy of Rob Fishman

Today 1:17 PM Hitler’s Death Reportedly Also Announced On May 1st

MSNBC reports that Hitler’s death was also announced on May 1st.

Today 1:16 PM Eight Years Ago, Bush Delivered ‘Mission Accomplished’ Speech

Eight years ago, Bush gave his “Mission Accomplished” speech.

Today 1:06 PM Brothers Celebrate Near Ground Zero: ‘It Means Everything’

HuffPost’s Rob Fishman reports:
Francesco and Mario Vivacqua, brothers from Queens, held aloft an American flag on Church St. near ground zero. They’ve lived in New York all their lives and saw smoke from outside their school windows in 2001.
“First we watched the president’s speech and then we came down here,” said Francesco. “Our pride brought us down here.”
“It means everything,” said Mario.
“Terrorism has overshadowed our world for so long.” added Francesco. “To get one of its biggest leaders marks a new chapter. Showing that we actually have the power to get the guys proves that we can move forward now.”
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Today 1:04 PM ’Small U.S. Team’ Reportedly Involved In Operation At The Compound

CNN’s Chris Lawrence, citing U.S. officials, reports that the compound where bin Laden was found – in Abbotabad, Pakistan, about 100 kilometers outside Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad – was three stories tall, and about eight times larger than any of the buildings around it.

An official said a “small U.S. team” was involved in the operation at the compound – the official would not confirm any U.S. military involvement. An official said bin Laden resisted the assault – and was killed in the firefight.
Three other men were killed in the firefight, and a woman being used as a human shield was also killed, the officials said. There were no U.S. casualties, the officials said. The U.S. team was at the compound for about 40 minutes, officials said.
A U.S. helicopter crashed during the raid because of mechanical reasons, an official said. It was destroyed, the officials said.

Today 12:50 PM U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron Remarks On Osama Bin Laden’s Death

Reuters @ Reuters : FLASH: British Prime Minister David Cameron says Osama bin Laden’s death “will bring great relief” across the world

Today 12:46 PM U.S. Reportedly Ensuring Osama Bin Laden’s Body Is Handled Properly

AP @ AP : BREAKING: US ensuring bin Laden’s body is handled in accordance with Islamic tradition, official says.

Today 12:44 PM Twitter Erupts With Reactions

Beginning with Keith Urbahn, the chief of staff for former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Twitter erupted with reactions on word of Osama bin Laden’s death Sunday night.
Urbahn said he was told by a reputable source that bin Laden had died. The news wasconfirmed shortly thereafter by numerous news outlets and later President Barack Obama himself.

Today 12:41 PM Impromptu Songs And Cheers At Ground Zero

HuffPost’s Rob Fishman reports from Ground Zero:
A few-hundred-strong crowd has gathered along Church Street across the way from the lighted skeleton of 1 World Trade Center.
Most of them holding iPhones and cameras, and mostly young, they’re breaking out impromptu into songs and cheers — “We Are the Champions,” The Star Spangled Banner, USA, USA! Moments of intensity are punctuated by silence until the next chant starts afresh.
One man in the crowd, Jack Krupey, has lived in New York for three years. He was away in college on 9/11 but grew up nearby.
“Shock and excitement,” he said. “We just wanted to come down and see what was going on and celebrate with everyone.”
“It’s weird to live so close to a piece of history like this.”
His friend, Christine Banker, had just come to visit from Rochester — only for the night.
“Who could have picked it?” she said.

Today 12:37 PM PHOTO: Celebration In New York

HuffPost’s Rob Fishman has provided the following image from Ground Zero:

Today 12:33 PM U.S. State Department Warns Of Violence

REUTERSFLASH @ REUTERSFLASH : U.S. State Department warns of greater risk of anti-American violence following Osama bin Laden death

Today 12:31 PM U.S. Navy Seals Were Reportedly Involved

CNN reports that U.S. Navy Seals were involved in mission that killed Osama bin Laden, a senior defense official said.

Today 12:29 PM U.S. Official Believes Osama Bin Laden’s Adult Son Killed During Raid

REUTERSFLASH @ REUTERSFLASH : U.S. official says believes Osama bin Laden’s adult son, two other adults killed during raid on his compound

Today 12:26 PM Full Text From President Obama’s Speech

Full text from President Obama’s speech on Sunday night, provided by the White House Office of the Press Secretary:

Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.

It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory — hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.
And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.
On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.
We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda — an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.
Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort. We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.
Yet Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.
And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.
Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.
Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.
For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.
Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must –- and we will — remain vigilant at home and abroad.
As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.
Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done. But it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people.
Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.
The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded.
So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done.
Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work, nor know their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.
We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.
Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.
And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.
The cause of securing our country is not complete. But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.
Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

Today 12:22 PM PHOTO: Crowds Chant Near 1 World Trade Center

HuffPost’s Rob Fishman reports that crowds have collected on Church street beside 1 World Trade Center, chanting “USA USA.”

Photo Courtesy of Rob Fishman

Today 12:18 PM Map Of Area Where Osama Bin Laden Was Killed

Below is a link to a Google map of the area where Osama Bin Laden was found and killed. The area is Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Today 12:14 PM Cheering, Honking Of Horns Heard In New York

PeterThorneNews @ PeterThorneNews : I’m in nyc at ground zero – cheering honking of horns strangers hugging singing god bless america

Today 12:11 PM WATCH: President Obama Announces Osama Bin Laden Killed

The Associated Press offers the following video of President Obama’s announcement that Osama bin Laden has been killed.

WATCH:

http://widget.newsinc.com/single.htm?WID=2&VID=23410510&freewheel=90057&sitesection=huffingtonpost

Today 12:06 PM Gov. Romney: ‘A Great Victory For Lovers Of Freedom And Justice Everywhere’

Today, the Romney for President Exploratory Committee released the following statement from Gov. Romney on the killing of Osama bin Laden:
“This is a great victory for lovers of freedom and justice everywhere. Congratulations to our intelligence community, our military and the president. My thoughts are with the families of Osama bin Laden’s many thousands of victims, and the brave servicemen and women who have laid down their lives in pursuit of this murderous terrorist.”

.

Posted by malaysia786 on May 2, 2011 · Leave a Comment (Edit)

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Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, is dead
Osama Bin Laden is dead, President Obama announced Sunday night, in a televised address to the nation. His death was the result of a U.S. operation launched today in Abbottabad, Pakistan, against a compound where bin Laden was believed to be hiding, according to U.S. intelligence. After a firefight, a small team of American forces killed bin Laden and took possession of his body, the president said.
“Tonight I can report to the American people and the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden,” Obama said during brief remarks at the White House.
“Justice has been done,” he said, in comments that marked a formal end of the manhunt for the most visible and emotionally-charged symbol of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The president said U.S. intelligence operatives received a tip in August on bin Laden’s whereabouts, which ultimately led to Sunday’s attack. Obama said he determined last week that the U.S. had enough reliable information to take action; by Sunday morning, he had authorized “a small team of Americans” to conduct an operation targeting bin Laden.
“After a fire fight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body,” the president said. “No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties.”
Obama said the 9/11 attacks that bin Laden and his lieutenants orchestrated nearly 10 years ago remain “the worst attack on the American people in our history” and said the images of the crumbling Twin Towers “are seared into our national memory.”
The president emphasized that Americans “did not choose this fight” against al Qaeda, but rather, “it came to our shores.” He praised U.S. military and intelligence professionals for working “tirelessly to achieve this outcome.” To the families of 9/11 victims, he noted that the U.S. has “never forgotten your loss.”
“Tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11,” Obama said. “I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.”
Both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had targeted bin Laden during their presidencies, and both had failed to either capture him or kill him. The failure to snare bin Laden weighed most heavily, perhaps, on the Bush Administration, which occupied the White House during the 9/11 attacks, and the al Qaeda leader’s killing falls exactly eight years to the day when Bush famously declared “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq.
Bush said in a statement that Obama called him Sunday night to inform him of “the momentous achievement” of bin Laden’s death.
“I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude,” Bush said. “The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.”
Clinton, who was president when the first World Trade Center bombing occurred in 1993, issued a statement calling bin Laden’s murder “a profoundly important moment not just for the families of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and in al-Qaida’s other attacks but for people all over the world who want to build a common future of peace, freedom, and cooperation for our children.”
In a conference call with reporters just after President Obama spoke, senior administration officials provided a detailed sketch of how the intelligence on bin Laden’s whereabouts was gathered. Intelligence officials had been conducting lengthy reconnaissance work prior to receiving their key tip in August. According to senior administration officials, suspected terrorists in custody since 9/11 — including the attack’s mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — identified a courier who had a close relationship with bin Laden. “This man was one of the few al Qaeda couriers trusted by bin Laden,” one senior administration official said. “They indicated he might be living with and protecting bin Laden. But for years we were unable to identify his true name or his location. Four years ago we uncovered his identity… About two years ago, after months of persistent effort, we identified areas of Pakistan where the courier and his brother operated. Still, we were unable to pinpoint exactly where they lived due to extensive operational security on their part. The fact that they were being so careful reinforced our belief that we were on the right track.” When the intelligence community finally pinpointed the courier’s location, they were “shocked by what we saw,” said this official.
The neighborhood in Abbottabad was “relatively affluent with lots of retired military,” this official continued, and was insulated from urban areas or places susceptible to natural disaster and terrorist attacks. The home was “roughly eight times larger than the other homes in the area,” and it was surrounded by 12-to-18-foot-high walls, topped with barbed wire. It had two security gates and a value of roughly $1 million, although it lacked telephone and Internet connections.
An even more telling clue for intelligence operatives: The occupants of the house were burning their trash rather than putting it out for collection. One senior administration official suggested bin Laden had been staying at the compound for at least six months without moving. Bin Laden was known to have regularly shifted locations to evade capture, so it’s unusual that he chose to stay in on spot for such an extended period.
More recently, the Obama administration had reduced the number of drone strikes in the area — while ramping up surveillance — in an effort to give the al Qaeda leader a heightened sense of safety in his home. Prior to the operation, Obama convened nine meetings with his national security team to review intelligence. According to a White House aide, “Principals met formally an additional five times themselves and their deputies met seven times.”
The president made the decision to undertake the operation at 8:20 a.m. on April 29th in the White House’s Diplomatic Room before he left to survey tornado damage in Alabama. Tom Donilon, his National Security Advisor, prepared the formal orders and convened the principals at 3 p.m. that same day to complete the planning.
Final preparations were made on Sunday. At 2 p.m., the president met with top advisers for an hour and half, at which point he returned to the Situation Room for an additional briefing. Twenty minutes after that, he learned that bin Laden had been “tentatively identified.” By 7 p.m. he was told it was highly probable that bin Laden was at the compound. By 8:30 p.m., he received an additional briefing. He signed off on the attack after that.
No other intelligence operatives in other countries were told of the attack before it occurred — including Pakistani operatives — according to administration officials. Vice President Joseph Biden informed congressional leadership of the attack shortly before it took place, aides on the Hill told the Huffington Post.
Details about the fight itself are still difficult to come by. According to local reports in Pakistan, a helicopter involved in the attack had a mechanical problem and crashed.
U.S. forces intentionally destroyed the remainder of the wreckage to reduce signs of their presence in the area , according to NBC and other media reports. Two helicopters remained to provide cover for Joint Special Operations Command forces; in addition, there was a predator drone.
The fight lasted only 40 minutes and was described by a senior administration official as a “surgical raid” conducted by a Navy Seals unit. Bin Laden’s adult son was killed, as were two of his couriers and a woman being used as a human shield. Bin Laden himself “did resist the assault force,” a senior administration official said. Reports on Sunday night said the terrorist leader was ultimately shot in the head.
Officials warned that in the aftermath of the attack, Americans should be on alert for a reprisal from al Qaeda. However, one official added, there were “no specific threats” as of Sunday night. ABC News reported that authorities plan to bury bin Laden’s body at sea in order to leave no definitive location for his final resting place. It will be done, an official added, “in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition.”
“Americans understand the costs of war,” Obama said toward the end of his remarks. “Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies.”
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Today 2:36 PM Senior Admin. Official Credits ‘Years Of Careful And Highly Advanced Intelligence Work’

The White House Press Office reports that a Senior Administrative Official said at a press briefing:

The operation itself was the culmination of years of careful and highly advanced intelligence work. Officers from the CIA, the NGA, the NSA all worked very hard as a team to analyze and pinpoint this compound. Together they applied their very unique expertise and capabilities to America’s most vexing intelligence problem, where to find bin Laden.

When the case had been made that this was a critical target, we began to prepare this mission in conjunction with the U.S. military. In the end, it was the matchless skill and courage of these Americans that secured this triumph for our country and the world. I’m very proud of the entire team that worked on this operation, and am very thankful to the President for the courage that he displayed in making the decision to proceed with this operation.

Today 2:25 PM PHOTO: SMU Student Voices Support For President Bush

SMU Daily Mustang provided this image on yfrog of an SMU student and her family with a sign thanking President Bush outside his house.
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Today 2:15 PM PHOTOS: People Hold Candles Near Ground Zero

HuffPost’s Rob Fishman provides these images of people holding candles near Ground Zero:
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Today 2:10 PM PHOTO: Man Climbs Traffic Pole

HuffPost’s Rob Fishman provides a photo of a man climbing a traffic pole near Ground Zero:
2011-05-02-IMG_0610.JPG

Today 2:03 PM The Trail To Osama Bin Laden

It started with a courier’s name.

Senior White House officials said early Monday that the trail that led to Osama bin Laden began before 9/11, before the terror attacks that brought bin Laden to prominence. The trail warmed up last fall, when it discovered an elaborate compound in Pakistan.
“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.
More here.

Today 1:49 PM PHOTO: Crowds Swell At Ground Zero

HuffPost’s Rob Fishman provides this image from Ground Zero:

Today 1:47 PM Amazing Image Of Firefighters In Times Square

Grist’s David Roberts has tweeted this image from The New York Times:
drgrist @ drgrist : This photo is absolutely amazing: http://yfrog.com/h3pt5ntj

Today 1:39 PM ’Justice Has Been Done’: What Osama Bin Laden’s Death Means For Obama, Our Country

HuffPost’s Howard Fineman reports:
WASHINGTON— Nearly a decade ago, President George W. Bush stood atop the rubble of the World Trade Center and became the sheriff with the bullhorn who vowed to kill or capture Osama bin Laden. But it was left to his successor, known more for faith in diplomacy than force, to Get Our Man.
“Justice has been done,” a relieved and proud President Barack Obama said in the East Room late Sunday. Americans had shown their unity and determination by bringing bin Laden to justice with a bullet to the head in a suburb compound of Islamabad, he said.
We need to remember we are one country, the president said, with an unquenchable faith in each other and our future.
It would be nice to think that he is right.
Read the full report here.

Today 1:37 PM New Yorkers Flock To Ground Zero

HuffPost’s Rob Fishman reports from Ground Zero:
It took Greg Baumam and Caz Crane about 12 minutes to bike to ground zero from the Lower East Side of Manhattan. They’ve lived in New York for two years, having moved from Delaware and Florida respectively.
“We just took him out, man!” said Crane. “He took out that building,” Crane added, pointing across the way toward ground zero.
“They just started coming from all over the place,” Crane said, signaling to the sprawling crowds that have enclosed the site of the former World Trade Center.
“We had to try like three different times to get in here,” said Baumam.
“Just celebrating justice,” said Crane, as they clapped their hands and joined the USA! chants.
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Today 1:31 PM Osama Bin Laden Reportedly Shot In The Head

CNN: Osama bin Laden was shot in the head during a U.S. raid, a congressional source familiar with the operation says.

Today 1:28 PM Crowd Celebrates Outside White House

HuffPost’s Ryan Grim reports from outside the White House:
The last spontaneous celebration outside the White House was on election night in November 2008. This crowd is about a third that size and smelling much less of alcohol. Some folks, though, are drinking beer on Pennsylvania Ave., where the crowd is spilling out into Lafayette Park.

Today 1:25 PM U.S. Monitored Compound For Months

ABC News reports:

The U.S. had been monitoring the compound in Abbottabad for months after receiving a tip in August that Bin Laden might be seeking shelter there. He had long been said to be in the mountainous region along the Afghanistan, Pakistan border, hiding in a cave as the U.S. sought to kill him with drone strikes from above. Instead, he was in a house eight times larger than its neighbors, with a seven-foot wall and valued at $1 million. The house had no phone of television and the residents burned their trash. The house had high windows and few points of access, and U.S. officials concluded it had been built to hide someone.

Read the full report here.

Today 1:23 PM PHOTO: The Night Is Captured On Cameras

HuffPost’s Rob Fishman says, “The night is surely being commemorated: Nearly everyone is holding up a phone or camera.”

Photo courtesy of Rob Fishman

Today 1:17 PM Hitler’s Death Reportedly Also Announced On May 1st

MSNBC reports that Hitler’s death was also announced on May 1st.

Today 1:16 PM Eight Years Ago, Bush Delivered ‘Mission Accomplished’ Speech

Eight years ago, Bush gave his “Mission Accomplished” speech.

Today 1:06 PM Brothers Celebrate Near Ground Zero: ‘It Means Everything’

HuffPost’s Rob Fishman reports:
Francesco and Mario Vivacqua, brothers from Queens, held aloft an American flag on Church St. near ground zero. They’ve lived in New York all their lives and saw smoke from outside their school windows in 2001.
“First we watched the president’s speech and then we came down here,” said Francesco. “Our pride brought us down here.”
“It means everything,” said Mario.
“Terrorism has overshadowed our world for so long.” added Francesco. “To get one of its biggest leaders marks a new chapter. Showing that we actually have the power to get the guys proves that we can move forward now.”
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Today 1:04 PM ’Small U.S. Team’ Reportedly Involved In Operation At The Compound

CNN’s Chris Lawrence, citing U.S. officials, reports that the compound where bin Laden was found – in Abbotabad, Pakistan, about 100 kilometers outside Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad – was three stories tall, and about eight times larger than any of the buildings around it.

An official said a “small U.S. team” was involved in the operation at the compound – the official would not confirm any U.S. military involvement. An official said bin Laden resisted the assault – and was killed in the firefight.
Three other men were killed in the firefight, and a woman being used as a human shield was also killed, the officials said. There were no U.S. casualties, the officials said. The U.S. team was at the compound for about 40 minutes, officials said.
A U.S. helicopter crashed during the raid because of mechanical reasons, an official said. It was destroyed, the officials said.

Today 12:50 PM U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron Remarks On Osama Bin Laden’s Death

Reuters @ Reuters : FLASH: British Prime Minister David Cameron says Osama bin Laden’s death “will bring great relief” across the world

Today 12:46 PM U.S. Reportedly Ensuring Osama Bin Laden’s Body Is Handled Properly

AP @ AP : BREAKING: US ensuring bin Laden’s body is handled in accordance with Islamic tradition, official says.

Today 12:44 PM Twitter Erupts With Reactions

Beginning with Keith Urbahn, the chief of staff for former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Twitter erupted with reactions on word of Osama bin Laden’s death Sunday night.
Urbahn said he was told by a reputable source that bin Laden had died. The news wasconfirmed shortly thereafter by numerous news outlets and later President Barack Obama himself.

Today 12:41 PM Impromptu Songs And Cheers At Ground Zero

HuffPost’s Rob Fishman reports from Ground Zero:
A few-hundred-strong crowd has gathered along Church Street across the way from the lighted skeleton of 1 World Trade Center.
Most of them holding iPhones and cameras, and mostly young, they’re breaking out impromptu into songs and cheers — “We Are the Champions,” The Star Spangled Banner, USA, USA! Moments of intensity are punctuated by silence until the next chant starts afresh.
One man in the crowd, Jack Krupey, has lived in New York for three years. He was away in college on 9/11 but grew up nearby.
“Shock and excitement,” he said. “We just wanted to come down and see what was going on and celebrate with everyone.”
“It’s weird to live so close to a piece of history like this.”
His friend, Christine Banker, had just come to visit from Rochester — only for the night.
“Who could have picked it?” she said.

Today 12:37 PM PHOTO: Celebration In New York

HuffPost’s Rob Fishman has provided the following image from Ground Zero:

Today 12:33 PM U.S. State Department Warns Of Violence

REUTERSFLASH @ REUTERSFLASH : U.S. State Department warns of greater risk of anti-American violence following Osama bin Laden death

Today 12:31 PM U.S. Navy Seals Were Reportedly Involved

CNN reports that U.S. Navy Seals were involved in mission that killed Osama bin Laden, a senior defense official said.

Today 12:29 PM U.S. Official Believes Osama Bin Laden’s Adult Son Killed During Raid

REUTERSFLASH @ REUTERSFLASH : U.S. official says believes Osama bin Laden’s adult son, two other adults killed during raid on his compound

Today 12:26 PM Full Text From President Obama’s Speech

Full text from President Obama’s speech on Sunday night, provided by the White House Office of the Press Secretary:

Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.

It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory — hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.
And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.
On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.
We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda — an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.
Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort. We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.
Yet Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.
And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.
Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.
Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.
For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.
Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must –- and we will — remain vigilant at home and abroad.
As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.
Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done. But it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people.
Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.
The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded.
So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done.
Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work, nor know their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.
We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.
Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.
And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.
The cause of securing our country is not complete. But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.
Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

Today 12:22 PM PHOTO: Crowds Chant Near 1 World Trade Center

HuffPost’s Rob Fishman reports that crowds have collected on Church street beside 1 World Trade Center, chanting “USA USA.”

Photo Courtesy of Rob Fishman

Today 12:18 PM Map Of Area Where Osama Bin Laden Was Killed

Below is a link to a Google map of the area where Osama Bin Laden was found and killed. The area is Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Today 12:14 PM Cheering, Honking Of Horns Heard In New York

PeterThorneNews @ PeterThorneNews : I’m in nyc at ground zero – cheering honking of horns strangers hugging singing god bless america

Today 12:11 PM WATCH: President Obama Announces Osama Bin Laden Killed

The Associated Press offers the following video of President Obama’s announcement that Osama bin Laden has been killed.

WATCH:

http://widget.newsinc.com/single.htm?WID=2&VID=23410510&freewheel=90057&sitesection=huffingtonpost

Today 12:06 PM Gov. Romney: ‘A Great Victory For Lovers Of Freedom And Justice Everywhere’

Today, the Romney for President Exploratory Committee released the following statement from Gov. Romney on the killing of Osama bin Laden:
“This is a great victory for lovers of freedom and justice everywhere. Congratulations to our intelligence community, our military and the president. My thoughts are with the families of Osama bin Laden’s many thousands of victims, and the brave servicemen and women who have laid down their lives in pursuit of this murderous terrorist.”
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