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Entries in Raid (8)

Monday
Sep102012

SEAL: Why We Shot Bin Laden on Sight

AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — As top American officials and a Navy SEAL who was on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden grapple over whether the al Qaeda leader "resisted" before he was shot, the SEAL said in a recent interview that in the heat of battle, the men on the ground weren't going to take any chances with their target.

In a firsthand account of the May 2011 raid, written under the pseudonym Mark Owen, the Navy SEAL Team Six member who was right behind the "point man," who first shot Osama bin Laden, said that before they took off for bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the commandos were told that it was not a kill-only mission.

"A lawyer from either the Department of Defense or the White House made it clear that this wasn't an assassination," Owen writes in his book, No Easy Day. "'If he is naked with his hands up, you're not going to engage him,' he told us. 'I am not going to tell you how to do your job. What we're saying is if he does not pose a threat, you will detain him.'"

But later in the book, Owen writes that bin Laden was shot the second he poked his head out of a door frame, apparently before he had a chance to resist or present a visible threat. At the time, Owen said he didn't know who his teammate's bullets had hit, if anyone.

"We were less than five steps from getting to the top [of the stairs] when I heard suppressed shots," Owen writes. "BOP. BOP. The point man had seen a man peeking out of the door on the right side of the hallway about ten feet in front of him. I couldn't tell from my position if the rounds hit the target or not. The man disappeared into the dark room."

It wasn't until other members of the team entered the room that they realized the man had been hit in the head and then, after shooting him in the chest a few more times until he stopped twitching, they realized it was bin Laden, the book says. America's most wanted man was unarmed and though there was a rifle and a handgun in a room nearby, neither had a bullet loaded in the chamber.

"He hadn't even prepared a defense. He had no intention of fighting," Owen writes.

In a recent interview with CBS News' 60 Minutes, Owen explained why the shot was taken apparently before the man presented a direct, visible threat. He said the team had already been in a short firefight in another part of the house, an AK-47 assault rifle had been found right next to one of bin Laden's sons who had just been killed and, due to a delay in getting the team inside the compound, bin Laden had already had plenty of time to arm himself or strap on a suicide vest.

"All those boxes had been checked [so] that if a guy sticks his head around the corner, he could very easily have a gun," Owen said. "You don't wait [for him to] get that AK or get that grenade thrown down the hall or that suicide vest. So in that split second, that's when [the point man] engaged."

As for why Owen and another SEAL opened fire on bin Laden as he lay on the ground, Owen said they could not see bin Laden's hands and were concerned he could still be hiding a grenade.

Owen's book has sparked controversy both for the discrepancies between his story and the "official" version as told by the White House in which bin Laden "resisted," as well as his decision to write and publish the book without first allowing government officials to vet it for classified information.

Owen and his publisher, Dutton, maintain that the book was vetted by a former special operations attorney and discloses no sensitive information, but last week the Pentagon said it disagreed and was considering legal action against Owen.

Late Friday, CNN reported Adm. William McRaven, the head of U.S. special operations, had gone back to the other Navy SEALs involved in the operation -- including the "point man" -- to check Owen's story and found that the author was not accurate in his retelling. According to CNN, Pentagon officials said that bin Laden was standing in his room and, as CNN put it, "showed no signs of surrendering" when he was shot.

A Pentagon spokesperson told ABC News the Department of Defense is not confirming or denying Owen's account, saying "his account is his own."

Owen's book, which went on sale last week, was originally intended to hit bookshelves Tuesday on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks for which bin Laden was responsible. The sale date was moved up after the book's existence leaked, causing a tidal wave of controversy and demand for the first-ever inside look at the historic raid.

Owen said he plans to give a majority of the proceeds from the book to charities that support the families of fallen SEALs, but at least one major SEAL charity, The Navy SEAL Foundation, already announced it would not be accepting donations from the book sales, citing Owen's possible legal troubles.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug302012

Pentagon Threatens Ex-SEAL over Osama bin Laden Raid Book

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Pentagon has determined the former Navy SEAL who has authored a book about his role in the Osama bin Laden raid is in "material breach" of non-disclosure agreements and warned him it is considering legal action against him as a result.

It added that it is considering legal action against all those "acting in concert" with the SEAL on his book, No Easy Day, which is scheduled to be released Tuesday.

A letter by Pentagon general counsel Jeh Johnson informed the former SEAL that he had violated non-disclosure agreements against releasing classified information.

"In the judgment of the Department of Defense, you are in material breach and violation of the non-disclosure agreements you signed," wrote Johnson. "Further public dissemination of your book will aggravate your breach and violation of your agreements."

Johnson said the department is considering pursuing "all remedies legally available to us."

The letter was addressed to the author's pseudonym, "Mark Owen," because the Pentagon will not publicly reveal the SEAL's real name.

The letter noted that, in January 2007, "Owen" signed two non-disclosure agreements with the Navy, and though he is no longer in the military, "you have a continuing obligation to 'never divulge' classified information."

Furthermore, the letter added, "this commitment remains in force even after you left the active duty Navy."

Johnson noted that in signing the agreements the SEAL "acknowledged your awareness that disclosure of classified information constitutes a violation of federal criminal law. It also meant he would submit any manuscript to the Pentagon for a security review, as well as obtain permission."

Interest in the unreleased book has led to a surge in pre-orders and the book's publisher, Dutton, has boosted the number of books to be published.

Though the former SEAL said he will donate a majority of the book's profits to charities that help the families of fallen SEALs, the letter suggested that all of the book's royalties belong to the U.S. government.

In signing his non-disclosure agreements, the former SEAL acknowledged he "assigned to the U.S. government ... 'all royalties, remunerations, and emoluments that have resulted, will result or may result from a disclosure, publication or revelation of classified information not consistent with the terms of this agreement,'" the letter added.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug242012

Cops Raid Illinois Home Where Teen Was Held Captive for Three Years

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON PARK, Ill.) -- In a dramatic nighttime raid, police stormed the Illinois home of a man accused of holding a teenager captive for three years, raping her, and impregnating her, law enforcement officials said.

Washington Park police, assisted by SWAT teams from neighboring counties stormed the home Thursday evening, arresting a 25-year-old man and his mother, officials from two counties confirmed.

Cops also removed from the home two children and placed them in the custody of the state Department of Children and Family Services, said St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly.

One of the children is reportedly the 2-year-old son of the victim and the suspect. The age of the other child has not been released.

The man and his mother are in police custody but have not yet been charged pending a review by prosecutors, Kelly said.

"There was an enormous amount of evidence discovered at the scene. All of the evidence and material is being examined and will be presented to the state attorney in the next 24 hours for us to review," Kelly said.

Neither the names of the suspects, nor the victim have been released.The woman, now 19, was reported missing three years ago. Authorities confirmed that police were pursuing a sexual assault case against the suspect.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul122011

CIA Ran Fake Vaccine Program to Target Osama Bin Laden

CNN via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The CIA created a fake vaccination program in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in an attempt to gather DNA evidence that would prove Osama bin Laden and his family were hiding there, according to media reports.

The New York Times reported Monday that an American official said the Pakistani doctor who ran the phony program was able to get access to the bin Laden family's high-walled compound, but did not get DNA samples from bin Laden family members and did not see the al Qaeda leader.

A CIA spokesperson declined to comment to ABC News on the alleged vaccination program or reports in The New York Times and the Guardian.

Bin Laden, his son and two other men were killed by Navy SEALs during a raid on the compound in May. Relations between Pakistan and the U.S. were strained by the raid, which was not disclosed to Pakistani officials beforehand. Bin Laden is believed to have lived in the compound, which is less than a mile from Pakistan's leading military academy, for more than five years, adding to U.S. suspicions that Pakistani authorities were protecting bin Laden and other Islamist militants.

In June, CIA Director Leon Panetta confronted the head of Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI, with evidence that Pakistani officials were tipping off Taliban militants prior to raids, allowing the militants to escape. The U.S. government is now withholding $800 million in military aid that was designated for Pakistan.

The Times also reported that Dr. Shakil Afridi, said to have run the fake vaccination program for the U.S., is being held by Pakistani authorities because he collaborated with the U.S. After the SEAL raid, over a period of several weeks in May and June, Pakistani authorities rounded up a handful of people who helped the CIA find and kill bin Laden, according to Pakistani and U.S. officials. Afridi was detained in late May, according to media reports.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May192011

Leon Panetta Warns CIA Employees: No More OBL Raid Leaks

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- CIA Director Leon Panetta sent a message Wednesday to CIA employees cautioning that there should be no more leaks about the bin Laden raid and how it was conducted.

In the message,  obtained by ABC News, Panetta acknowledges that it’s likely some of the classified information about the raid that has emerged in the press has come from beyond the CIA, but he warns employees to protect classified information or they could face investigation and possible prosecution by the Justice Department.

On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen told reporters at a Pentagon briefing that they too wanted to see an end to leaks about the raid.

Mullen said very forcefully, “From my perspective it is time to stop talking. And we have talked far too much about this. We need to move on. It's a story that, if we don't stop talking, it will never end. And it needs to.” He explained that enough information had been made public that “we are close to jeopardizing this precious capability that we have, and we can't afford to do that. This fight isn't over.”

Gates said there had been agreement by senior administration officials not to disclose the details of the operation.  He characterized that arrangement as having lasted “about 15 hours.”  He said his concern is that future operations might be compromised because  “when so much detail is available, it makes that both more difficult and riskier. ”

Panetta echoes those thoughts in his letter: “Disclosure of classified information to anyone not cleared for it -- reporters, friends, colleagues in the private sector or other agencies, former Agency officers -- does tremendous damage to our work.  At worst, leaks endanger lives.”  More bluntly, he explained, “Unauthorized disclosure of those details not only violates the law, it seriously undermines our capability to do our job."

Among the CIA details that have come out: the existence of a safe house in Abbottabad and the use of a stealth drone that monitored the bin Laden compound without detection for months.

Panetta told employees that the bin Laden raid gave them reason to be proud, but “let’s live up to our secrecy oath in protecting it so that our Agency can look forward to even greater accomplishments in the future.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
May072011

Government Releases Osama bin Laden Videos

CNN via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. government, on Saturday, released five videos found in Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, showing the al Qaeda leader preparing a message to the United States and watching himself on television.

The first was a previously unreleased message from bin Laden directed to the United States that was believed to have been filmed between Oct. 9 and Nov. 5 2010. In the video he appears to have dyed his beard black.

The second video, which runs over a minute long, shows bin Laden watching himself on television and holding the remote control to change the channel. It is unclear when this video was made and whether bin Laden was watching a live broadcast or a tape.

The remaining three videos appear to be practice sessions, possibly for the first video.

This footage is among the trove of evidence found after the United States raid on the compound Sunday, when bin Laden and four others were killed.

"This is the single largest collection of senior terrorist materials ever," a senior intelligence official said.

The cache includes digital, audio, video and personal correspondence and documents.

The materials found "clearly show that bin Laden remained an active leader in al Qaeda strategically, tactically and operationally," and not the figurehead he was assumed to be, "making the recent operation even more essential to our nation’s security," the official said.

He was plotting and conspiring terrorism focused on the U.S., the official said.

The DNA analysis shows unquestionably that the body of the person killed in Sunday's raid was that of bin Laden, the senior intelligence official said. The odds of the body not being bin Laden's stand at 1 in 11.8 quadrillion, he said.

The cache of electronic and handwritten materials obtained by the SEALs includes numerous hallmark al Qaeda plots including attacks on infrastructure targets such as water supply and transportation including rail and air, in what one official described as a "strategic guide for how to attack the U.S."

It is unclear just how active bin Laden was in coordinating any operations or in blessing overall strategies and plots. One official said bin Laden appears to have thought of himself as something of a head coach to al Qaeda.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
May062011

SEALs Brought Highly-Trained Dog with Them into Bin Laden Compound

U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter D. Lawlor/Released(WASHINGTON) -- They may look like your normal house dog, but these military dogs are highly trained, invaluable assets in the war on terror.  They are capable of detecting explosives, finding enemies and chasing down anyone who tries to escape.

SEAL Team Six, the elite military operatives who killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan on Sunday night, were accompanied by one such canine companion.

"The capability they [the dogs] bring to the fight cannot be replicated by man or machine," said Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.  "By all measures of performance, their yield outperforms any asset we have in our industry.  Our Army would be remiss if we failed to invest more in this incredibly valuable resource."

The dogs are a fighting force on four legs that are able to parachute into action, rappel into combat and swim into a skirmish.  They are outfitted with protective body armor and a powerful bite.  According to the U.S. Air Force, the bite from a German shepherd, one of the breeds used by the military, has a force of between 400 and 700 pounds.

While its bite may be impressive, it is a military dog's exceptional ability to detect bombs that makes it indispensable to soldiers.

"They've spent millions of dollars trying to come up with the best bomb detection technology," said Rebecca Frankel, deputy managing editor of foreignpolicy.com, who writes War Dog of the Week for the site.  "After all that money and all that time devoted to it, they've come to the conclusion that in fact a dog and a handler best any technology on the ground today."

The Taliban has also noticed the value of the dogs.

"It's unfortunate, but the Taliban has wisened to the fact that these dogs are so successful at uncovering IEDs and so they are actually a target," Frankel told ABC News.  "If they have them [the dogs] out on a lead or let them go in front of the unit often times I do think they attract sniper fire earlier."

Last year, at a cost of more than $20,000 per unit, the SEALs bought four tactical vests for their dogs, according to The New York Times.  The vests are reported to have infrared and night-vision cameras that allow handlers to use a monitor from up to 1,000 yards away to see what the dog sees.  The handler is also able to communicate with the dog through a speaker on the vest.

Frankel says there are upwards of 3,000 dogs deployed and that using dogs in war is nothing new.

"Dogs have been fighting with U.S. soldiers for centuries...unofficially in the Civil War and then officially inducted into the U.S. Army in 1942 for World War II." 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb172011

One US Marshal Killed, Two Wounded in West Virginia Raid

Deputy U.S. Marshal Derek Hotsinpiller. Photo Courtesy - U.S. Marshals Service(ELKINS, W. Va.) -- One U.S. marshal was killed and two others were wounded in a raid on a home in Elkins, W. Va., Wednesday morning.

The raid began at 8:30 a.m. when the three deputy marshals were attempting to arrest Charles E. Smith, who was wanted on cocaine charges.  As the marshals made their move, according to authorities, someone inside fired a shotgun blast.

The marshal who was fatally wounded was identified as Deputy U.S. Marshal Derek Hotsinpiller, 24, of Bridgeport, W. Va., who had worked for the U.S. Marshals Service for slightly over a year.  The two wounded officers were not identified.  One remains hospitalized, while the other was treated and released.

The suspect, Smith, 50, was also killed in the incident.

Hotsinpiller's death comes less than a day after a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent was shot and killed in Mexico, along with another agent who was wounded.

This all comes after a particularly violent stretch in late January in which 10 police were shot in roughly a day's time: two in Port Orchard, Washington; another in Lincoln City, Oregon; four officers in Detroit who were wounded when a gunman stormed their precinct; and in St. Petersburg, Florida, two local officers were killed and a U.S. deputy marshal was seriously injured after serving a warrant.

While law enforcement fatalities are down this year compared with the same time last year, the number of officers killed by gunfire is up sharply.  According to the National Law Enforcement memorial, 13 officers have been killed by gunfire so far this year, a 44 percent jump compared to the same time last year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio