Osama bin Laden, the terrorist scourge who created the organization that murdered 3,000 Americans on 9/11, has been killed by American special forces in Pakistan.
The head of al-Qaeda was shot to death by US troops in a mansion outside of Abbottabad, Pakistan. Initial reports are sketchy, but the attack was carried out by Joint Special Operations Command forces working with the CIA. Confirmed reports say that the United States has the body of bin Laden and that DNA tests have confirmed that the remains were of the terrorist.
Full credit is due to the hardworking, patriotic professionals in American intelligence. Their singularly focused determination to track the terrorist and bring him to justice — a story just beginning to be told — is a testament to their hard work and dedication in the face of what appeared to be impossible odds. Finding one man in a country the size of Pakistan is an immense achievement in the history of American intelligence.
In remarks addressed to the American people, President Obama offered few details of the operation except to say that it was a small US force that moved into Pakistan, actuated by solid intelligence going back to August. In the past week, a high degree of certainty that Osama had been located was achieved, and the operation was launched on Sunday, according to the president. Officers killed bin Laden and took custody of the body.
CNN is reporting that Navy SEALs took part in the operation that President Obama says was sanctioned by the government of Pakistan. The network also reports that the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI participated in the operation, and that Pakistan gave vital assistance in processing the intelligence that led to bin Laden’s death. But anonymous administration officials say that they did not share the fact that the attack was going forward with anyone outside of the US government. This makes more sense than any reports of Pakistani assistance, since the ISI has always had close ties to al-Qaeda. It is believed the ISI tipped off bin Laden in 2002, allowing him to escape from Tora Bora.
No doubt President Zardari of Pakistan is trying to put the best face on the embarrassing fact that Americans can move without his knowledge and with impunity inside Pakistan, engage in a firefight on Pakistani soil, and remove the body of the world’s number one terrorist. If he were to admit that, it is likely he wouldn’t last a week. As it is, even with the fig leaf of “cooperation” supplied by the White House, demonstrators will be out in force on Monday protesting against the US and Zardari’s complicity in the death of bin Laden.
The helicopter raid originated in Afghanistan and the SEAL team tapped to carry out the attack was able to practice the assault several times before the operation went live. The entire operation took about 40 minutes to execute, according to the Pentagon.
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