Entries in Osama Bin Laden (71)


Sen. John Kerry Has Preliminary Meeting with Pakistan Army Chief

ABC News(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- U.S. Senator John Kerry, D-Mass., has warned that the relationship between the United States and Pakistan is currently at a “critical moment.”

Kerry, who is in Afghanistan, met with top U.S. and Afghan officials on Sunday and following those meetings the Massachusetts senator said that he has deep reservations about “whether or not Pakistan is committed to the same goals or are prepared to be a full partner in pursuing those goals.”

The relationship between Pakistan and the U.S. was hit by turbulence following the killing of Osama bin Laden by Navy SEALs in Pakistan on May 1. Pakistan was not informed about the raid until it was completed, and some have questioned whether Pakistani officials knew that the world’s most wanted man was hiding out in the city of Abbottabad. Pakistani officials claim they were not aware that bin Laden was hiding out in the city, in a mansion located near a top Pakistan military academy.

On Sunday Kerry also met with the head of Pakistan’s army for approximately 30 minutes in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. A senior Pakistani military official said that during the meeting Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani told Senator Kerry about the “great resentment” the Pakistan army had with the raid in which bin Laden was killed. It is not clear exactly how Kerry responded to Kayani’s statements. U.S. officials were not immediately available to comment on how the meeting went.

Kerry, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, is scheduled to have more extensive meetings with Kayani on Monday, with Pakistan’s president and prime minister also expected to be in attendance.

Copyright 2011 ABC New Radio


House Honors Operation That Killed Osama Bin Laden

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- On Friday, the House of Representatives unanimously commended the men and women from the intelligence community involved in the operation that killed Osama bin Laden while reaffirming the Congress’s commitment to bringing terrorists to justice.

While the House Republicans have a rule in place that bans honorary or commemorative measures from coming to the House floor for a vote, the rule applies only to stand-alone bills, and not amendments, so Reps. Michael Grimm and Tom Reed, both Republicans from New York, introduced an amendment to H.R. 754 - the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 “honoring the members of the intelligence community for their role in the mission that killed Osama bin Laden on May 1, 2011.”

The Grimm/Reed amendment, which passed by a vote of 406-0 with four members voting “present,” was based on the language of Senate Resolution 159, which passed the Senate 97-0 on May 3.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


George W. Bush Gives First Public Reaction to Bin Laden Death

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- Former President George W. Bush made his first candid public comments on the killing of Osama bin Laden during an appearance Wednesday at a conference of hedge fund managers in Las Vegas.

"I was eating souffle at Rise restaurant with Laura and two buddies," Bush said when asked what he was doing when he received the call from President Obama, according to an ABC News contributor who attended the event.  "I excused myself and went home to take the call.  Obama simply said, 'Osama Bin Laden is dead.'"

Bush said Obama described in detail the secret mission to raid bin Laden's Pakistani compound and the decision he made to put the plan into motion.  He told Obama, "Good call."

The 43rd president and man who initiated the hunt for bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks has shied from the spotlight since news broke nearly two weeks ago.  Bush has declined interview requests and Obama's invitation to join him at Ground Zero to meet with victims' families and first responders four days after the raid.

But appearing before the crowd of 1,800 at the glitzy Bellagio resort and casino, Bush appeared light-hearted and relaxed in talking about bin Laden's death.

When asked by forum moderator Melissa Lee of CNBC how he felt upon learning the news, Bush said he was "not overjoyed," explaining that the campaign to track down the 9/11 mastermind was done not "out of hatred but to exact judgment."

The development is ultimately a victory for the American people, he said.

"The guy is dead.  That is good," Bush said of bin Laden.  "Osama's death is a great victory in the war on terror.  He was held up as a leader."

"The intelligence services deserve a lot of credit.  They built a mosaic of information, piece by piece," he said, claiming no credit for himself.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ron Paul Would Not Have Ordered Osama Bin Laden Killing

Jason Merritt/Getty Images(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- Rep. Ron Paul took an interesting position for a likely presidential candidate Tuesday -- he explained to an Iowa radio station why he would not have ordered the killing of Osama bin Laden.

“It was absolutely not necessary and I think respect for the rule of law, international law -- what if he’d been in a hotel in London?" Paul asked. "We wanted to keep it secret. Would we have sent the helicopters into London? Because they were afraid the information would get out. No you don’t want to do that.”

Paul said the U.S. government should have worked with the Pakistani government, respecting borders, to get at Osama bin Laden.

He pointed to other terror suspects who were captured and tried. Paul pointed to the arrest of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, widely accepted as the 9/11 mastermind, by Pakistani authorities. Mohammed now sits at Guantanamo Bay awaiting trial by a military tribunal.

Paul also pointed to the capture and trial of “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman, who was arrested in Brooklyn and tried and convicted in U.S. court.

“What’s wrong with that?” Paul asked. “Why can’t we work with the government?”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


John McCain: Torture Did Not Help Hunt for Osama Bin Laden 

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Arizona Sen. John McCain, a former POW who was tortured for years at the hands of Vietnamese captors, delivered an impassioned argument Thursday that so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” did not produce intelligence leading to Osama bin Laden.

“It was not torture, or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees that got us the major leads that ultimately enabled our intelligence community to find Osama bin Laden,” McCain said in a stirring 22-minute speech from the Senate floor.

McCain called the techniques -- implemented by CIA interrogators during the George W. Bush administration and later barred by President Obama -- “indisputably torture,” and said waterboarding amounted to a “mock execution.”

“I do not believe they are necessary to our success in our war against terrorists, as the advocates of these techniques claim they are,” he said.

McCain directly criticized former Attorney General Michael Mukasey for publicly suggesting recently that waterboarding of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed led investigators to the courier who ferried information to and from bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan.

Mukasey has said Mohammed “broke like a dam” during the 183 waterboardings performed on him.

“That is false,” McCain said, citing a report from CIA director Leon Panetta who said the courier’s identity was obtained elsewhere.

Waterboarding KSM “actually produced false and misleading information,” McCain said, explaining that Mohammed’s information on the courier was ultimately incorrect.

McCain argued the harsh interrogation techniques more fundamentally degrade “our national character and historical reputation” and put American soldiers at greater risk of torture in the future.

“We are America, and we hold ourselves to a higher standard,” he said.

McCain also wrote about his opposition to "enhanced interrogation techniques" in an op-ed in Thursday's Washington Post.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


In Effort to 'Validate the Death' of Bin Laden, Inhofe Is First Senator to See Photos

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Jim Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, Tuesday became the first senator to view the bin Laden photos after he took up the CIA on its offer to see the graphic pictures in an effort to "validate the death" of the al Qaeda leader.

"It is an important responsibility as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee to view these photos and be able to validate the death to the people of the nation," Inhofe said in a statement released prior to viewing the pictures. "By viewing these photos, I can help dispel conspiracy theorists who doubt that bin Laden is in fact dead. That is why I recommended that they make them available to members of the committee, and I appreciate Director Panetta following up on my suggestion."

Inhofe made the request to Panetta at a classified briefing on May 4. Inhofe's office said the senator was the first member of Congress to view the bin Laden photos since the CIA on Tuesday offered lawmakers on the Armed Services and Intelligence panels the chance to make an appointment to see them. Last week Inhofe, a member of the Armed Services Committee, argued that the Obama administration should release the photos to the public.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


House Intel Chairman: 'Step on the Gas,' 'Break Back' of Al Qaeda

United States House of Representatives(WASHINGTON) -- The chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Mike Rogers, says that with al Qaeda confused and on the run now that its leader Osama bin Laden is dead, now is not the time scale back the intelligence communities presence in the Middle East, but rather the time to “step on the gas” and “break the back” of the terrorist organization.

Rogers, R-Michigan, appeared at the Council on Foreign Relations Wednesday to warn policy makers against scaling back policies that contributed to the successful elite Special Forces operation that killed Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan May 2.

“Al Qaeda is alive and well. They are hurt, they’re damaged, their inspirational and operational leader has been taken off of the battlefield, which is a huge opportunity for us. The confusion with them is opportunity for us and this is the time to step on the gas and break their back,” Rogers said. “We need to make sure all the policy makers from the executive branch to Congress understand that all of the things that led up to Osama bin Laden have to be a) improved on and b) they need to have the leadership behind them so they can continue to produce the kind of information that will get us [al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman] al-Zawahiri.”

“This is our chance to break the back of al Qaeda,” he added. “It’s no opportunity for us to retreat.”

Rogers said “9/11 was result of what didn’t happen” and pointed to cuts to intelligence services in the 1990s as a critical error in enabling al Qaeda to get stronger and most sophisticated  – two elements that eventually proved to exceed intelligence estimates in the years leading up to the September 11, 2001.

Rogers insisted that now is the “wrong time to back off funding” the intelligence community and said calls from some Members of Congress to cut the nation’s intelligence posture in the wake of Bin Laden’s killing “couldn’t be further from the truth.”

The chairman also revealed that CIA Director Leon Panetta told him that if Bin Laden were to be captured alive, the only facility deemed secure enough to cage Public Enemy No. 1 was the Guantanamo Bay U.S. military prison that President Obama had campaigned to close down.

“The director of the CIA said if we got Bin Laden, he would have to go to Guantanamo Bay because that’s the one facility that not only is protected from  people inside from getting out, but also from outside people getting in,” Rogers said. “We do need to have a place to put [captured high value targets]. If we get Zawahiri off the battlefield, where do you put him?”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama: Bin Laden's Death 'Should Inspire Us to Finish What We Started'

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(AUSTIN, Texas) -- At the first of two fundraisers in Austin, Texas Tuesday night, President Obama stuck largely to his standard remarks for these types of events but was able to add a few references to recent news that that got the crowd revved up.

Going through a laundry list of legislative accomplishments over the past two and a half years, the president noted that the nation has made “incredible progress.”

“Sometimes folks forget,” he said.  "Progress shouldn’t make us complacent but should remind us that change is possible.”

A man in the audience then shouted out, “Thank you for getting Bin Laden!”

“Well, there you go -- case in point,” the president said as the crowd roared its approval.  “It should inspire us to finish what we started.”

Obama later brought up bin Laden’s death, again to great applause.

“Because of the extraordinary bravery of the men and women who wear this nation’s uniform and the outstanding work of the intelligence agencies, Osama bin Laden will never again threaten the United States of America,” he said.

The president also highlighted the news that General Motors will add 4,000 American jobs.  About half of those jobs will be filled by some of the 2,000 GM workers who were recently let go from the company.

Approximately 750 people attended the first event at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater, with tickets starting at $44 and going to up the legal maximum limit of $35,800.  The second event was a dinner for about 50 people at a private residence in Austin.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Lawmakers Allowed to View Osama Bin Laden Death Photos

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Members of two Senate committees can make an appointment with the CIA to view the photos of a dead Osama bin Laden, multiple congressional aides confirmed to ABC News Tuesday.

Lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee will now be able to see the photos if they wish.

Last week a trio of Republican senators claimed to have seen the photos, only for it to emerge that they had been duped by fake pictures. On Wednesday morning, as senators left a closed-door classified meeting with CIA head Leon Panetta, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Saxby Chambliss, told reporters that he had seen the photos. New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte said the same thing. And Scott Brown of Massachusetts told Fox-25 TV that he had seen one of the photos, too.

"I have seen one of them," Ayotte said of the bin Laden photos, adding that it was "clearly his features."

But later that day it emerged that the picture seen by Ayotte, Brown, and Chambliss was in fact not authentic. At least now they'll be able to see the real thing.

Critics -- including some family members of loved ones killed in the terror attacks on September 11th, 2001 -- have pressed President Obama to release photographic proof of bin Laden's death. President Obama maintains he will not make the pictures public.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Will Osama bin Laden's Death Quicken Afghan Drawdown?

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In an interview with CBS' 60 Minutes, President Obama seemed to signal that the successful mission that killed Osama bin Laden could speed up the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

The White House has not yet conducted a major review of operations after the successful Operation Neptune Spear, but the president voiced optimism that the death of bin Laden will encourage extremist elements in Afghanistan to join the reconciliation process, and seemed to voice a new confidence that the mission proved that smaller, more highly-trained teams like the SEALs, Green Berets, and Nightstalker helicopter pilots could be effective even as the U.S. begins to withdraw combat troops this summer.

"What has happened on Sunday, I think, reconfirms that we can focus on al Qaeda, focus on the threats to our homeland, train Afghans in a way that allows them to stabilize their country," the president said, "but we don't need to have a perpetual footprint of the size that we have now."

As for extremist elements in Afghanistan, the president said the death of the terror mastermind "...sends a signal to those who might have been affiliated with terrorist organizations, that might have had a favorable view towards al Qaeda, that they're going to be on the losing side of this proposition.  And it may make some of those local power brokers, those local Taliban leaders have second thoughts and say, 'Maybe it makes more sense for us to figure out how to participate in a political process' as opposed to engaging in a war with folks who I think we've shown don't give up."

The president credited his strategy of refocusing attention and assets on Afghanistan and Pakistan as having set the stage for last Sunday's raid.

"We did increase our troops levels in Afghanistan so that we could blunt the momentum of the Taliban and create platforms that would allow us to go after al Qaeda directly," the president said. "We've denigrated al Qaeda significantly even before we got Bin Laden and -- I think it's important for everybody to understand that --  the work that’s been done in Afghanistan helped to prepare us for being able to take Bin Laden out."

The president noted that "our job's not yet finished" in Afghanistan, with the U.S. needing to ensure that "we leave an Afghanistan that can secure itself, that does not, again, become a safe haven for terrorist activity," Obama added. "But I think that that can be accomplished on the timeline that I've already set out."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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