Entries in Osama Bin Laden (71)


Killing of Osama Bin Laden: What the President Saw from the Situation Room

Pete Souza/The White House(WASHINGTON) -- ABC News was able to learn more Tuesday about what President Obama was able to see and hear of the Navy SEALs operation Sunday -- in real time -- as he and his national security team watched the operation from the Situation Room.

Experts say on the screens were likely night-vision images of the operation taken from a drone acting as a surveillance plane, with images of explosions and Navy SEALs moving around outside.

The president and his aides could hear audio communications from the command structure, including CIA Director Leon Panetta and JSOC commander Vice Adm. William McRaven -- but not from the Navy SEALs themselves or the chopper pilots, sources said.

Officials said the president and his top aides were not able to watch any images in real time being filmed by the SEALs themselves from inside the compound.

In fact, for roughly 20 minutes, when the SEALs were inside the compound, they could not see much activity at all -- which officials described as nerve-wracking.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Cheney: ‘Wouldn’t be Surprising’ if Bush Interrogation Methods Helped Get Bin Laden

ABC/Heidi Gutman(WASHINGTON) -- With reports swirling that intelligence that helped locate Osama bin Laden began with information obtained from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Vice President Dick Cheney said it “wouldn’t be surprising” if interrogation techniques authorized by President Bush provided critical intelligence that led to bin Laden’s death.

“It's an enhanced interrogation program that we put in place back in our first term,” Cheney told Jonathan Karl in an interview that aired on the ABC webcast Top Line Tuesday.

“And I don't know the details. All I know is what I've seen in the newspaper at this point, but it wouldn't be surprising if in fact that program produced results that ultimately contributed to the success of this venture.”

Cheney continued, “It's I think important to look at this as a continuum. I mean, it's not just on one day you get up, bang, and you got Osama bin Laden. It's the kind of thing where an awful lot of people over a long period of time, thousands have worked this case and worked these issues and followed up on the leads and captured bad guys and interrogated them and so forth.”

“Enhanced interrogation techniques” were a set of special, harsh tactics authorized by President Bush for use in limited circumstances to extract information from high-value suspects. President Obama ended the use of those techniques, including waterboarding.

Asked if information gleaned through such methods played a role in locating bin Laden, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that “multiple detainees provided insights” that helped find him.

“But reporting from detainees was just a slice of the information that has been gathered by incredibly diligent professionals over the years in the intelligence community,” Carney said. “And it simply strains credulity to suggest that a piece of information that may or may not have been gathered in -- eight years ago somehow directly led to a successful mission on Sunday.  That's just not the case."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bin Laden Death Gives Obama Approval Rating Spike

Pool Photo(WASHINGTON) -- The death of Osama bin Laden has given President Obama's job approval rating a significant boost, but did nothing to temper Americans' concerns about his handling of the economy, a new Washington Post and Pew Research Center poll finds.

Fifty-six percent of Americans now say they approve of Obama's performance in office overall, according to the poll -- nine percentage points higher than an ABC News/Washington Post poll found last month, and the highest rating for Obama since 2009.

But on the economy, Obama's numbers remain low and unchanged -- only 40 percent approve of his economic strategy, the lowest rating of his presidency, according to the Post

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Condoleezza Rice on Bin Laden's Death: 'Extraordinary Moment'

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- “Extraordinary” -- that’s what former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who spent eight years chasing Osama bin Laden, called the killing of the al Qaeda leader and the news that Navy SEALs had taken him down.

“It really said so much about the United States of America. I remember when President Bush said ‘We will not tire, we will not falter, we will not fail,” she told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an interview Tuesday for Good Morning America. “He really meant the United States of America. And President Obama and his team are to be congratulated to having brought this to an end.”

Rice said she was “surprised” to find out that bin Laden was hiding so close to Islamabad and said it raises some important questions for the Pakistani government.

“Questions that really the Pakistanis need to answer not just for us but for themselves. They have been victims of al Qaeda terrorism. They have been victims of terrorism leading to the death of Benazir Bhutto. So I am sure Pakistan will want to understand better why he could hide right there in plain sight,” she said.

Asked whether it’s time for the administration to rethink the mission in Afghanistan – since they caught Osama and so few members of al Qaeda are still there, Rice said “the mission is really finally making some achievements.”

“The reporting is good about what we have achieved over the last several months,” she said.

“We have a chance to leave an Afghanistan that is more secure with better security forces, a more decent Afghan government and then ultimately a safer South Asian region because it’s not just the stability of Afghanistan but the stability of Pakistan that is important too.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


GOP Congressman: Bin Laden Photos ‘Have to Be Released’

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- As the Obama White House weighs whether to release photographic evidence of Osama bin Laden’s death, voices in Congress are calling for that to happen fast, to put to rest conspiracy theories that have already sprung up online.

“The photos have to be released,” Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, told ABC News on Tuesday. “Most definitely -- to make sure we get rid of any conspiracy theorists that think that we didn't take care of bin Laden.”

Heck also held off on condemning Pakistan for not helping locate bin Laden, despite the fact that he was hiding in a large home in a populated area not far from the nation’s capital.

“I don't think we need to cut off aid just yet. We need to further clarify our relationship with Pakistan,” Heck said. “We certainly have had some challenges with sharing of information, with being allowed access to execute missions. But they are still a critical asset and ally in the fight against terror and we need to continue to maintain that relationship.”

“All indications at this time are that they did not know” that bin Laden was in Pakistan, Heck continued. “The higher-ups did not know. But you know, as we've said, [he was] hiding in plain sight.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama Heading to Ground Zero on Thursday

Chris Hondros/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will go to New York City Thursday to visit the site of the World Trade Center, where nearly 3,000 people died almost 10 years ago in a terrorist attack believed to have been plotted by Osama bin Laden.

According to the White House, while there, the president will meet with the families of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and mark the death of bin Laden, who was killed by Navy SEALS in a compound in Pakistan on Sunday.

Speaking at a bipartisan dinner in the East Room of the White House Monday night, President Obama called for the unity felt in the wake of the killing of bin Laden to be extended to the upcoming debates on Capitol Hill.

"I know that unity that we felt on 9/11 has frayed a little bit over the years, and I have no illusions about the difficulty of the debates that we’ll have to be engaged in in the weeks and months to come.  But I also know there have been several moments like this during the course of this year that have brought us together as an American family,” he said.

“Last night was one of those moments," he said referring to the announcement of bin Laden's death.  "And so tonight it is my fervent hope that we can harness some of that unity and some of that pride to confront the many challenges that we still face.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Chief Counterterrorism Adviser: No 'Specific Threats' on US Yet

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- There have been no "specific threats" made against America in the nearly 48 hours since an elite team of Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden, President Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser told ABC News Tuesday morning.

“We’re working very closely with Department of Homeland Security, FBI and others so that we understand here at the White House what those measures are as well as what threats might be out there but right now I think we feel pretty confident that we are at the right posture,” John Brennan said.

Brennan said it is “inconceivable” that bin Laden did not have some sort of support system inside Pakistan -- considering he was hiding about 1,000 feet away from a military academy -- and the administration is investigating if members of the Pakistani government gave him any help.

“At this time, what we’re doing is pursuing the leads and engaging with the Pakistanis and it’s too early to tell what type of support system he had,” Brennan said.

They hope to find out more about that support system in the evidence the SEALs took from the compound.

Brennan also backed up the news that the White House is considering releasing a photo of bin Laden’s corpse as early as Tuesday.

“We are looking at releasing additional information, details about the raid as well as any other types of material, possibly including photos," Brennan said.

“Any types of material related to the raid, we need to make sure that we make the right decisions.   What we don’t want to do is to compromise potential future operations by releasing certain things so we’re looking at all of this and making the right decisions,” he added.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bin Laden Operation Ended with Coded Message 'Geronimo-E KIA'

The White House/Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- The first indication for President Obama that Osama bin Laden had been killed came when a Navy SEAL sent back a coded message to Washington that said simply, "Geronimo-E KIA."

Geronimo was the code name for the operation that sent two teams of 12 SEALs by Blackhawk helicopters to a walled compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan, on Sunday to kill or capture the most wanted man in the world.  Anxious White House officials weren't positive that they would find bin Laden in the fortress-like complex and worried that he might leave while the SEALs were en route.

The first encouraging word came at the beginning of the raid, when the SEALS recognized the man who had eluded a U.S. manhunt for a decade.  They sent back the message, "Geronimo."

After a 40-minute search of the compound, punctuated by firefights, bin Laden was dead, and the cryptic "Geronimo-E KIA" code sent relief through the White House.  "E" stood for "enemy" and "KIA" for "killed in action."  Bin Laden was shot twice, once in the head and once in the chest, a senior administration official told ABC News.

The SEALS words, however, were not sufficient proof that the mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks was finally dead.  As the evidence piled up -- verbal ID, face recognition analysis and DNA matches -- the White House debate continued.  Obama ended the discussion with a terse, "We got him."

White House senior officials on Monday were still sorting through the details of the dramatic U.S. raid on bin Laden in Pakistan.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Dick Cheney: 'Obama Deserves Credit' for Osama Bin Laden's Death

ABC/Heidi Gutman(NEW YORK) -- Former Vice President Dick Cheney praised President Obama for the success of the mission against Osama bin Laden, but in an exclusive interview with ABC News warned that it would be "a tragedy" to spend so much time "patting ourselves on the back" that we miss the next attack.

"The administration clearly deserves credit for the success of the operation," Cheney told ABC News, adding that getting bin Laden has long been "the ultimate goal, the ultimate objective" of the U.S. counterterrorism program.

Cheney praised President Obama for the judgment he exercised in making the call to go forward with the raid.

"We all owe him the same sense of satisfaction that I'm sure they feel," Cheney said.

Cheney even had good things to say about President Clinton's early pre-Sept. 11 effort to get bin Laden, calling the operation part of "a continuum" spanning three administrations.

"I mean, it's not just one day you get up, bang, and you got Osama bin Laden," Cheney said. "It's the kind of thing where an awful lot of people over a long period of time -- thousands have worked this case and these issues and followed on the leads and captured bad guys and interrogated them and so-forth."

Above all, he credits the men and women of the military and the intelligence community.

"It's taken a long time," Cheney said. "They never gave up. They never backed off. They just kept pluggin' along until they got it right."

Cheney has been a harsh critic of Obama's anti-terrorism policies, especially his decision to end the CIA enhanced interrogation program started by President Bush. Even as he praised Obama, Cheney suggested that program, and its aggressive interrogation of detainees like 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, contributed to the ultimate success of the operation against bin Laden.

So, while Obama deserves credit for making the call, the former vice president said, the effort began long before he was in the White House and even before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Asked if he thinks Bin Laden's demise makes America safer, Cheney said, "I think so," but he added a grim warning.

"It would be a big mistake for us now to assume, 'There. That's taken care of. It's all over with.' Al Qaeda is a big organization and they're very active now in the Arabian Peninsula down in Yemen," Cheney said.

"There's every reason to believe there will be further attacks attempted against the United States," he said. "For us to spend so much time patting ourselves on the back because we got bin Laden that we miss the next attack would be a terrible tragedy."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Sarah Palin (Sort of) Praises Obama on Bin Laden

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(LAKEWOOD, Colo.) -- Sarah Palin gave passing praise to President Obama's "decisive leadership" in the operation to kill Osama bin Laden, though in a speech in Colorado Monday night the former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate did not once use Obama's name.

"We want to thank our president," Palin said, but then she quickly shifted focus to the previous administration for having laid the groundwork. "We thank President Bush for having made the right calls to set up this victory," Palin told a cheering crowd.

Later, Palin seemed to give President Obama credit for what she called a "tactical victory."

"The decision to insert American units in areas to hunt down and to kill bin Laden is an example of the needed decisive leadership that our troops deserve," Palin said, calling it a "proper use of force to protect America."

Palin's words were a departure from last year, when she called President Obama's approach to terrorism "fatally flawed" after the arrest of a Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is accused of trying to ignite explosives in his underwear on a plane with 290 people aboard. After Abdulmutallab's arrest, Palin criticized Obama for charging him as a criminal defendant rather than treating him as an enemy combatant.

Palin wrote on her Facebook page that Obama needed to "recognize that the real nature of the terrorist threat requires a commander-in-chief, not a constitutional law professor."

In her speech Palin also questioned whether Pakistani leaders were helping to hide bin Laden.

"How was the most wanted man in the world able to avoid detection, living in comfort, in a mysterious super compound in plain sight?" Palin asked. "We must demand that anyone who cooperated in hiding bin Laden be brought to justice," she said.

While not addressing Palin specifically, Pakistan's president, Asif Ali Zardari, dismisses such claims in a Washington Post op-ed article.

"Such baseless speculation may make exciting cable news, but it doesn’t reflect fact. Pakistan had as much reason to despise al-Qaeda as any nation," Zardari said.

Palin spoke Monday to an overflow crowd of about 1,300 people gathered inside and outside a gymnasium on the campus of Colorado Christian University in Lakewood.  The event was a fundraiser for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, an organization that offers support to military families.

During her speech Palin praised members of the Navy SEAL teams that carried out the mission against bin Laden.

"Their courage and determination brought us justice, especially justice for the victims of 9/11," Palin said.

Palin shared the stage with retired Lt. Gen. William Boykin, known for making controversial remarks about Islam and casting the War on Terror as a religious fight.  He later apologized and retired in 2007.  As recently as 2009 Boykin reportedly said that there is "no greater threat to America than Islam."

Palin was not available to answer questions from reporters and did not address whether she might run for president during her speech.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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