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Entries in Osama Bin Laden (71)

Monday
May022011

Boehner Lauds US Forces, Pledges Renewed Commitment to Fighting Terror

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker John Boehner and the Republican leadership reacted to the U.S. operation to kill Osama bin Laden Sunday as reason for celebration and congratulations, and cheered the al Qaeda founder’s death as an “important moment” in the United States' War on Terror, but also vowed that it would renew America’s commitment to fighting terrorism throughout the world.

“The death of Osama bin Laden is an important moment in the war against radical extremism and terrorism, [and] an important moment for peoples all around the world who have been subject to the terror of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “Our fight for freedom and liberty around the globe continues. We face a complex and dangerous threat even today. It’s important to remain vigilant in our efforts to defeat terrorist enemies and protect the American people.”

Boehner said Sunday night’s news that the world’s most wanted terrorist was killed is now rallying Americans similarly to the way they responded to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and despite partisan divisions in the debate over the economy, the operation would serve as a reminder to the country “that what unites us as Americans is far greater than what divides us.”

Boehner expressed his gratitude for families of the victims of the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and those killed in the subsequent War on Terror, and also had a warning for any extremist aspiring to attack the United States.

“To the families who lost loved ones on Sept 11, 2001, we will never forget what you lost,” Boehner pledged. “For those who fought and died in the war against terror and their loved ones, we honor your sacrifice, and to those who seek to destroy freedom by preying on innocent human life, we will not rest until we bring you to justice.”

Boehner and the other leaders took no questions but said that bin Laden’s death “makes our engagement in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan more important, not less,” and congratulated those involved in the operation, dating back to the efforts of the Bush administration.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

Monday
May022011

South Carolina Republican Primary Debate: Romney Out, Cain In

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney announced Monday that he will not participate in the first presidential primary debate of the campaign season Thursday in South Carolina.

“Gov. Romney will not be participating in this week’s South Carolina debate because it’s still early, the field is too unsettled and he’s not yet an announced candidate," Romney strategist Matt Rhoades said. "Fox News and the South Carolina Republican Party have both been notified of this decision. Gov. Romney is planning to visit South Carolina on May 21 and he looks forward to debating there closer to their primary.”

Another potential Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, has also said he will not participate.

Businessman Herman Cain said Monday that he will file formal papers with the Federal Elections Commission in order to participate, but his aides cautioned it does not constitute a formal announcement of candidacy.

"I look forward to participating in the debate Thursday," Cain said in a statement announcing is participation. "It gives me the opportunity to share my 'Common Sense Solutions for America,' as well as my private sector experience in balancing budgets and creating jobs."

The debate will take place Thursday night in Greenville, S.C. and it is sponsored by the South Carolina Republican Party and Fox News.

Other potential candidates who have already confirmed their participation include former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex. and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May022011

Obama Approval Rating: Boost from Osama Bin Laden Death Likely

Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy(WASHINGTON) -- The death of Osama bin Laden is an enormous and immediate political victory for President Obama, who has faced periodic criticism for his handling of the fight against al Qaeda and struggles to resolve the conflict in Afghanistan.

While the immediate impact on the president's job approval rating is yet to be known, experts say, the killing of bin Laden -- one of candidate Obama's top campaign promises in 2008 -- will likely lead to a boost in his poll numbers and added credibility for Obama's foreign policy message on the campaign trail.

"It gives him a firewall on Afghanistan," said Stephen Hess, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a veteran of several presidential administrations.

To some extent, it "pulls the rug right out from under" the potential Republican presidential candidates who have criticized the president's strategy, Hess said, adding that many in the likely GOP field "are certainly not coming from a very strong position as foreign policy experts themselves."

In the most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, 49 percent of Americans last month said they disapproved of Obama's handling of the situation in Afghanistan -- an all-time low -- up 8 percentage points since the beginning of the year. Those numbers could begin to turn around, at least in the short term.

Immediately after the capture of Saddam Hussein in December 2003, then-President George W. Bush experienced a 10-point surge in U.S. approval of his handling of the war in Iraq, according to many polls. Bush's job approval rating gradually gained 6 points.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May022011

Carl Levin: Pakistan's Army, Intel Have 'A Lot of Explaining to Do'

Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Monday said Pakistan’s military and intelligence communities have “a lot of explaining to do” after Osama bin Laden was killed in a huge compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., told reporters on Capitol Hill that Pakistani military and intelligence officials need to answer “a lot of questions.”

“I think that the Pakistani army and intelligence have a lot of questions to answer given the location, the length of time, and the apparent fact that this facility was actually built for bin Laden and its closeness to the central location of the Pakistani army,” Levin said.

“I do think the Pakistani president’s statement today was a very reassuring statement, when he very specifically said that he thinks this is a great victory and he congratulated us on the success of the operation,” Levin continued. “So I’m reassured by his statement – not necessarily suspicious that he knew or that the civilian leadership knew, but I must tell you I hope that he will follow through, that the president of Pakistan [Asif Ali] Zardari will follow through and ask some very tough questions of his own military, his own intelligence. They’ve got a lot of explaining to do.”

Levin was accompanied at Monday’s news conference by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid said President Obama was “very somber” when he informed Reid around 9:30 p.m. Sunday that bin Laden had been killed.

“His death is the most significant victory in our fight against al Qaeda and sends a strong message to terrorists around the world,” Reid said.

“We know there are other terrorists out there, but this is a real shot in the arm to people of good will all over.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May022011

Obama Had Authorized Bombing of Bin Laden Compound in March

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama originally authorized a plan in March for the U.S. to bomb Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan with two B2 stealth bombers dropping a few dozen 2,000-pound JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions) on the compound, sources told ABC News.

But when the president heard the compound would be reduced to rubble he changed his mind.

It would've meant that there would be no evidence bin Laden was dead to present to the world -- no DNA evidence, as the administration anticipates it will have.

Plus, all 22 people in the compound including women and children, and likely many neighbors, would have been killed.

The president wanted proof, and he wanted to minimize collateral damage.

So instead, the president authorized this incredibly daring and difficult operation, scheduled for a time of “low loom” -- little moon luminosity -- so the U.S. helicopters could enter into Pakistan low to the ground and undetected.

The operation was authorized Friday morning.

It was originally planned for Saturday night but on Friday, for weather reasons, it was pushed to Sunday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May022011

Donald Trump Congratulates Obama On Osama Bin Laden Killing

Bill Clark/Roll Call(NEW YORK) -- Potential 2012 presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has emerged as one of President Obama's sharpest and most vocal critics, congratulated him after Sunday night's announcement of the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Trump also called for a temporary end to the debate over "party politics," suggesting that now is a time to remember the nearly 3,000 people who died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"I want to personally congratulate President Obama and the men and women of the Armed Forces for a job well done," Trump said in a statement to ABC News.

"I am so proud to see Americans standing shoulder to shoulder, waving the American flag in celebration of this great victory," he added.  "We should spend the next several days not debating party politics, but in remembrance of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and those currently fighting for our freedom.  God Bless America!"

Trump, the billionaire real estate mogul, is one of several potential Republican presidential candidates who praised President Obama for his administration’s efforts to kill bin Laden.  Other possible 2012 GOP contenders steered clear of mentioning Obama by name.  Each of them thanked American military forces, but some warned that the fight against terrorism is “not over” yet.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May022011

Game Faces for White House Officials at Correspondents Dinner

CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- At the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday night, White House officials had to put on their game faces. The risky and dangerous military operation originally had been scheduled for Saturday, but had been pushed to Sunday because of weather.

Poking fun at C-SPAN’s low ratings, comedian Seth Meyers joked that Osama bin Laden had a daily afternoon show on the cable channel.

But at the dinner, officials ranging from President Obama to CIA director Leon Panetta to White House chief of staff Bill Daley to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen acted as if nothing was on their minds.

Sitting with the ABC News table, Daley showed no reaction when actor Eric Stonestreet of ABC’s Modern Family received a disappointing email that his White House tour scheduled for Sunday had been canceled.

Others at the table turned to Daley to ask him why, to see if something big was going on.

Daley said, "I don't know. Maybe a pipe broke.”

The real reason was that all White House tours had been canceled since the administration didn’t want to arouse any suspicions when tourists saw Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Panetta buzzing around.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May022011

Candidate Obama: We'll Take Action Without Pakistan, If Necessary

ABC News (file)(WASHINGTON) -- On August 1, 2007, a young Democratic presidential candidate -- criticized by Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., for being naïve on foreign policy matters -- surprised many of his supporters by pledging to conduct military operations in Pakistan with or without that country's permission.

"I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges," Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said of the man who was then president of Pakistan, "but let me make this clear: There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."

Clinton, then leading in the polls, was then attacking Obama for having said he'd be willing to meet with the leaders of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela without preconditions in his first year in office.‬

At the time, Obama's speech, delivered at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., seemed an attempt by the young senator to ramp up his campaign to the next phase, where he hoped to be seen as a president who would pursue a muscular foreign policy and protect the United States from terrorist attack.

He proposed in his speech a more aggressive stance with that nuclear nation, making the "hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional, and I would make our conditions clear: Pakistan must make substantial progress in closing down the training camps, evicting foreign fighters and preventing the Taliban from using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks in Afghanistan."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May022011

Former Presidents Bush, Clinton Issue Statements on Bin Laden's Death

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former presidents are weighing in on Ssunday's killing of Osama bin Laden by American forces operating inside Pakistan.

Former President George W. Bush, whose entire presidency was defined by the Sept. 11 attacks, said in a statement Sunday night that President Obama called him to inform him of the news of bin Laden’s death.

Bush called the operation a “momentous achievement” that “marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on Sept. 11, 2001.”

“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,” the former president said in a statement.  “The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.”

Former President Bill Clinton, who was in office for the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, also issued a written statement.

"I congratulate the president, the National Security team and the members of our armed forces on bringing Osama bin Laden to justice after more than a decade of murderous al Qaeda attacks," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May022011

Osama bin Laden's Death Brings Praise from Capitol Hill

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- News of the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. Special Forces striking inside Pakistan Sunday brought praise from both sides of the political aisle in Washington, D.C., but all agree the U.S. must remain vigilant in the war on terrorism.

Here is what some lawmakers are saying:

Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, top Republican on Senate Armed Services Committee:

“I am overjoyed that we finally got the world's top terrorist.  The world is a better and more just place now that Osama bin Laden is no longer in it.  I hope the families of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks will sleep easier tonight and every night hence knowing that justice has been done.  I commend the president and his team, as well as our men and women in uniform and our intelligence professionals, for this superb achievement.  But while we take heart in the news that Osama bin Laden is dead, we must be mindful that al Qaeda and its terrorist allies are still lethal and determined enemies, and we must remain vigilant to defeat them.”

Sen. John Kerry, D-MA, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

"The killing of Osama bin Laden closes an important chapter in our war against extremists who kill innocent people around the world.  We are a nation of peace and laws, and people everywhere should understand that our ten-year manhunt was in search of justice not revenge.  Terrorists everywhere must never doubt that the United States will hunt them down no matter where they are, no matter how long it takes.

"We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the men and women of our intelligence agencies and our military for their tireless dedication and enormous sacrifice to bring justice to a man responsible for the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11 and thousands more men, women, and children around the world.

"I commend President Obama and his national security team for never forgetting the need to secure justice for those who lost their lives nearly 10 years ago and for those who have lost their lives in the war against extremism that continues today.

"A single death does not end the threat from al Qaeda and its affiliated groups.  We must remain vigilant and committed to keeping the world safe and secure."

House Speaker John Boehner:

"This is great news for the security of the American people and a victory in our continued fight against al Qaeda and radical extremism around the world.  We continue to face a complex and evolving terrorist threat, and it is important that we remain vigilant in our efforts to confront and defeat the terrorist enemy and protect the American people.  I want to congratulate -- and thank -- the hard-working men and women of our Armed Forces and intelligence community for their tireless efforts and perseverance that led to this success.  I also want to commend President Obama and his team, as well as President Bush, for all of their efforts to bring Osama bin Laden to justice."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:

“The death of Osama bin Laden marks the most significant development in our fight against al-Qaeda.  I salute President Obama, his national security team, Director Panetta, our men and women in the intelligence community and military, and other nations who supported this effort for their leadership in achieving this major accomplishment.  It is a testament to the professionalism of our dedicated national security professionals that no American lives were lost in this operation.

“As we approach the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I hope that today’s action provides some comfort to the 9/11 families who lost loved ones in the devastating attacks on our shores.

“Though the death of Osama bin Laden is historic, it does not diminish our relentless pursuit of terrorists who threaten our country.”

Rep. Peter King, R-NY:

“Today, the American people have seen justice.  The leader of the United States’ top enemy has gotten what he deserves for orchestrating the deaths of nearly 3,000 innocent Americans on Sept. 11, 2001.

“In 2001, President Bush said ‘we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.’  President Bush deserves great credit for putting action behind those words.  President Obama deserves equal credit for his resolve in this long war against al-Qaeda.

“This great success would not have been possible without the tireless work of countless brave men and women who have served around the world in this War on Terror.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-KY, top Senate Republican:

"The death of Osama bin Laden marks a long-awaited end to the work of the man responsible for the 9/11 attacks.  No one who remembers the horror of that day can help but feel relieved that Osama bin Laden is dead.  This is a great victory in the War on Terror and for all who have worked so tirelessly over the years to thwart the monstrous designs of this madman and his disciples.  On Sept. 11, 2001, America came together and vowed that we would never forget the memory of those whose lives were lost on that terrible day.  Tonight's announcement shows that we have made good on that pledge.  It is proof that no matter how difficult or how long it takes, our military, intelligence forces and law enforcement officials will never stop until the job is done.  America celebrates tonight, and is grateful for the heroic efforts of the many men and women around the world who have fought and who are still fighting to protect the world from terrorism.  Though they may never make the headlines, we are ever mindful of their many sacrifices.  This war on terror continues, but we can be happy tonight that with the death of Osama bin Laden, the world is a better place.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY:

"This is a thunderous strike for justice for the thousands of my fellow New Yorkers -- and citizens from all over the world -- who were murdered on 9/11.  It took close to ten years, but the world's most wanted terrorist has finally met his deserved fate.  New York's heart is still broken from the tragedy of 9/11, but this at least brings some measure of closure and consolation to the victims and their families.  This is a massive accomplishment for the countless military and intelligence personnel who have been urgently dedicated to this task for the past decade.  Because bin Laden's evil dogma has poisoned the minds of so many others, we cannot let up in the war on terror.  This successful mission sends a definitive message to those who would test the resolve of the people of the United States of America: do not doubt our resolve; if you do us harm, we will find you, we will mete out justice, and we will prevail."

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate:

“I was advised by Vice President Biden this Sunday evening that Osama bin Laden has been killed.  Though this is not the end of the threat of terrorism, it is a clear warning to our enemies that when they threaten and kill Americans, they will be pursued and held accountable.  Our nation owes a great debt of gratitude to our intelligence community and military for pursuing this manhunt for almost ten years and successfully eliminating the most high profile terrorist on earth.  Those who believed bin Laden and his network were invincible will now awaken to a new reality.”

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-GA, top Republican on U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence:

"This is a historic moment for the U.S. special operations and intelligence communities.  I highly commend the special operations units who undertook this mission and carried it out with no injuries to women or children inside the compound.  The CIA and others in the U.S. intelligence community did a phenomenal job over several months in carrying out this assignment."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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