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Entries in Compound (20)

Monday
Feb272012

Pakistan Razes Osama Bin Laden's Abbottabad Compound

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images(ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan) -- The walls came tumbling down in Abbottabad, Pakistan over the weekend at the place Osama bin Laden and his family called home for several years.

Determined to erase the memory of the compound invaded by U.S. Navy SEALs last May that led to the al Qaeda leader's assassination, bulldozers began their job on Saturday to knock the structure to the ground.

Work on the demolition was supposed to have begun soon after the SEALs raid, but was held up as the Pakistani military conducted an investigation into how bin Laden supposedly lived under their noses for so long and how the U.S. managed to conduct the operation in secret.

There was some disagreement over whether bin Laden's compound should have been demolished at all with some in Abbottabad preferring to turn it into a tourist attraction to raise money for the city.

No official reason was given for the deconstruction.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug232011

Gadhafi Breaks Silence, Says Quitting Compound Was 'Tactical'

-/AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi reportedly broke his silence Tuesday night, saying it was a "tactical move" to abandon his compound to the rebels and vowing to crush an uprising that seems to be on the verge of victory.

Al-Rai TV, a Libyan television channel, promised to broadcast the full statement from Gadhafi, who had not been heard from since Sunday, when rebel forces swept into Tripoli.

In the excerpt it reported, Gadhafi said his forces will face "the aggression with all strength" and will not give up until they have either achieved victory or been killed.

The besieged leader's comments come after a day in which cheers and celebratory gunfire rang out after hundreds of rebel forces fought their way into Gadhafi's compound and began to loot it of guns and other supplies.

Jubilation continued throughout most of the day until dusk began to fall, and the party abruptly ended. At one point, pockets of Gadhafi loyalists began firing mortars and thousands of gleeful celebrants suddenly started to run for cover. Some buildings outside the compound were hit.

The U.S. embassy in Tripoli sustained damage, although it was unclear when it occured over the course of the rebels' storming into the city.

"Our understanding is that there is some damage to our building, but I can't speak to whether it's habitable until we are able to get an advance team in there," said U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland.

Nuland added that for the time being, U.S. diplomats who have been based in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi will remain there.

Without any police or armed forces to establish order, which was made more difficult because most of Tripoli has no electricity, rampant vandalism continued in the streets.

Opposition radio reported that an independence flag was raised over Gadhafi's compound, according to the BBC.

The whereabouts of Gadhafi and members of his immediate family remain unknown. A rebel spokesman told ABC News that they believe Gaddafi is still in or near Tripoli.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul152011

Osama Bin Laden Plotted to Kill Obama Aboard Air Force One

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Investigators poring over information found at Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan have uncovered new details regarding the al Qaeda leader's aspirations to attack the U.S. and kill President Obama, ABC News has learned.

Officials tell ABC News that bin Laden was trying to hatch a plan to kill Obama by shooting down Air Force One or his helicopter, Marine One, presumably while the president was traveling overseas.

Bin Laden also hoped to kill Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and the soon to be director of the CIA, in the same way -- either in a helicopter or fixed-wing airplane with a missile or rocket-propelled grenade.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun212011

First Review of Bin Laden's 'Treasure Trove' Completed

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Round one of going through the intelligence taken from Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan is over.

The initial review of what's been described as a "treasure trove" of intelligence has been completed by an inter-agency team that includes CIA officials and other analysts.

The Navy SEALs who killed bin Laden during the May 1 raid managed to collect materials that included computer discs and the late al Qaeda leader's handwritten journal, describing plans to launch attacks on the U.S.

While bin Laden wrote about strikes against airports, railroads, subways and large places where people congregate, there apparently was no direct mention of an imminent assault, although al Qaeda seems intent on doing something on or around the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

There's also the impression, judging by what was found in the intelligence, that al Qaeda operatives are under great pressure to keep changing locations because of unmanned CIA drone attacks in the northwest region of Pakistan that borders Afghanistan.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun012011

Pakistani Panel to Probe Osama Bin Laden Raid

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images(ISLAMABAD) -- A Pakistani commission that will study the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in early May wants to be truly independent.

That means no intrusion from the military that most say is the real power in Pakistan.

The government has asked the panel to investigate how the al Qaeda leader was able to live undetected with his family for several years in the sprawling compound just a short distance away from Pakistan's version of the West Point military academy.

Commission members will also probe the U.S. Special Forces raid that killed bin Laden and learn what security lapses occurred on the Pakistani side.  The panel will then make its recommendations to parliament.

The probe comes at a time when Pakistan's military and intelligence services are under greater scrutiny than ever before, which might allow the government-assigned panel to be more critical than generally accepted of its national security forces.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May192011

Gates Believes 'Somebody' in Pakistan Knew of Bin Laden's Hideout

Charles Dharapak - Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- If there is really such a thing as giving someone the benefit of the doubt, the White House is stretching that idea to the limit in how it's dealing with Pakistan in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday that while it's his opinion "somebody" in Pakistan knew that bin Laden was holed up in an Abbottabad compound with his wives and children, the administration can't say with any certainty that senior Pakistani leaders were aware the al Qaeda leader was living under their noses for years.

Still, the White House is not letting go of the theory that some "support network" had to exist in order for bin Laden to continue living undetected just a short distance from the Pakistani equivalent of the West Point military academy.

Gates admitted, "We don’t know whether it was retired people, whether it was low level -- pure supposition on our part.  It's hard to go to them with an accusation when we have no proof that anybody knew."

Such evidence may eventually turn up as U.S. intelligence goes through a trove of computer files found at the compound where Navy SEALs killed bin Laden, along with one of his sons and three others.

Asked if senior Pakistani leaders should be penalized in some fashion if it's shown they were ignorant of bin Laden's whereabouts, Gates responded, "If I were in Pakistani shoes, I would say I've already paid a price -- I've been humiliated, I've been shown that the Americans can come in here and do this with impunity."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
May132011

Osama Bin Laden Wanted to Kill President Obama

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. officials are analyzing one million pages of data from the trove found in Osama bin Laden's compound during the raid that killed him, and say they have learned more in the past 10 days than in the past 10 years.

Among the things they've learned is that the al Qaeda leader wanted to find a way to kill President Obama.

Meanwhile, the first revenge attack for the bin Laden raid has killed 80 outside a military training center in Pakistan, and President Obama has acknowledged that threats against his own grandmother from another al Qaeda group are being closely monitored.

In the Kenyan village where she lives, the president's 88-year-old step-grandmother, Sarah Obama, shrugged off death threats against her from an al Qaeda affiliate in East Africa called al Shabaab.

"My life has not been affected in any way," Sarah Obama told ABC News.  "It has not restricted my movement."

But President Obama seemed more concerned when asked directly about his grandmother by a Miami Spanish-language television station.

"There is no doubt that when it comes to the American people," he told WLTV, "that after having killed bin Laden there may be a desire on some al Qaeda members to exact revenge and that's something that we have to be vigilant about and we're monitoring all these situations."

The leaders of al Shabaab, which operates in war-torn Somalia on Kenya's northern border, include an Alabama-born-and-raised 27-year-old named Omar Hammami who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Mansour al-Amriki, or Abu Mansour the American. The son of a white Southern Baptist mother and a Syrian Muslim father, Amriki grew up in Daphne, Alabama, near Mobile.

This week, Amriki, who is under indictment on federal terror charges in Alabama, was recorded issuing threats against the United States and President Obama.

"Today we remind Obama, and the rest of his cronies, that they have entered the wrong war," said Amriki.

Bin Laden's own writings discovered at his compound indicate he urged his followers to assassinate the president and find ways to disrupt the 2012 American elections.

"I would say this is probably very personal on bin Laden's part, to kill a president that he believes has violated the Muslim faith," said Brad Garrett," an ABC News consultant and former FBI profiler.  "He is incensed, inflamed, obsessed about killing the president."

In fact, the video of bin Laden watching television in his hideout shows that whenever President Obama came on the screen, bin Laden quickly tried to change the channel.

It was President Obama who got bin Laden first.

In Kogelo, Kenya, security has been increased around the home of President Obama's step-grandmother.

Kenyan police told ABC News they are patrolling round the clock after the threat from Al Shabaab.

Sarah Obama has been protected ever since Obama became president, and security was added to her house the day after bin Laden was killed because of fear of reprisals.  The number of patrolling officers has ballooned, however, since Al Shabaab's threat was issued.  One police chief told ABC News he now had enough officers "to patrol the entire village." 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May112011

Former Pakistan President: 'Possibility' Officials Knew About Bin Laden

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The former president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, admitted to ABC News that rogue lower-level members of Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence Agencies and military may have helped Osama bin Laden hide in plain sight near the capital, Islamabad.

Musharraf also said he agreed with Pakistan's refusal to allow the U.S. back into bin Laden's compound.

In the interview an ABC News Chief Law and Justice Correspondent Chris Cuomo, Musharraf called Osama bin Laden's six-year residence in the military town of Abbottabad, Pakistan, a "big blunder" on the part of Pakistani intelligence.  But he also warned the United States that if it continues to alienate Pakistan as they did in the bin Laden raid, the U.S. will be the "loser."

Musharraf said the Navy SEALs' raid could have also gone far differently than it did, with a seemingly uninterrupted entrance and exit through Pakistani airspace by the U.S. assault team.  According to reports this week, President Obama increased the size of the assault team sent to bin Laden's compound, concerned about a possible battle between U.S. and Pakistani forces.  Musharraf said the confrontation could have happened.

"Certainly it was a violation of our sovereignty, and I don't know if there were armed troops around, and if they saw some helicopters firing in a house without knowing who they are dealing with, there was a possibility of a clash like that, and firing from the Pakistani troops on ground could have taken place," he said.

In the days following the daring nighttime raid on bin Laden's walled compound, questions arose within the U.S. government about Pakistan's role in harboring the terror mastermind, including how much of an ally Pakistan really was in the fight against al Qaeda.  According to Musharraf, the feelings of mistrust are mutual.

"What kind of friend is that, that you haven't taken us into confidence?" he said.  "You can't clap with one hand.  If you don't trust Pakistan, how can Pakistan trust you?"

Musharraf called the belief that Pakistan sides with al Qaeda simply "sad."

Musharraf said instead that there was a possibility that rogue lower-level members of Pakistan's intelligence and military may have had knowledge of bin Laden's location.  He conceded they might have known during the last year of his six-year residency, and said there ought to be an investigation.

Regardless of who knew what, according to Musharraf, was the fact that the U.S. raid was a possible violation of Pakistan's sovereignty, that there was never a deal struck during his tenure to allow the U.S. to make a unilateral attack on Pakistan's soil if bin Laden was found.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May102011

Report: SEALs Were Ready to Fight Pakistani Troops in Bin Laden Raid

U.S. Navy/Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Eric S. Logsdon(NEW YORK) -- The White House was leaving nothing to chance if the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound turned into a fight with Pakistani security forces, according to The New York Times.

Assuming that some within the Pakistani military and police might engage in a battle with Navy SEALs had they arrived at the site in Abbottabad where bin Laden was killed, President Obama ordered additional Special Forces teams to be at the ready to get the SEALs out, especially if they captured the al Qaeda leader alive.

There were two plans, according to senior officials who spoke with the Times.  One was to quickly bury bin Laden if necessary, while the other was to take him alive to an awaiting Navy ship in the North Arabian Sea, where a team of lawyers, interrogators and translators was assembled.

A senior White House official said the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command were given instructions “to avoid any confrontation if at all possible.  But if they had to return fire to get out, they were authorized to do it.”

As a result, the president ordered two Black Hawk helicopters with troops to tail the lead choppers with the SEALs that conducted the mission.  It turned out to be a fortunate decision, since the SEALs needed another helicopter to get out of Abbottbad after one of the lead Black Hawks malfunctioned and had to be destroyed.

Had the military engaged in a firefight with hostile Pakistani forces, it would have likely caused an irreparable break in relations between Washington and Islamabad.  Those relations appear close to the breaking point anyway because the Pakistanis were not told beforehand about the mission. 

Obama’s choice not to involve or even inform the Pakistani government about the raid to get bin Laden suggests the administration believed that they weren’t either up to the job of being a partner in it, or couldn’t be trusted to keep it quiet.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
May062011

Was Killing of Osama Bin Laden Legal Under International Law?

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Since the death of Osama bin Laden Sunday, administration officials have repeatedly said that the mission to kill him complied with domestic and international law.

"Let me make something very clear," Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress on Wednesday, "the operation in which Osama bin Laden was killed was lawful.  He was the head of al Qaeda, an organization that conducted the attacks of Sept. 11.  He admitted his involvement."

But as new details of the operation emerge, and some Pakistani leaders protest the U.S. incursion into their state, legal experts say the administration must more forcefully lay out its case.

Law professor Kenneth Anderson, who specializes in legal issues related to war and terrorism, said that differing government accounts as to whether bin Laden was armed or invited to surrender or even involved in a firefight have muddled the legal debate and left the administration open to international criticism.

"Holder was not direct in stating that of course it was legal to target Osama bin Laden, legal to target with lethal force, legal to target without warning or invitation to surrender," said Anderson, who teaches at American University Washington College of Law.  "And that has always been the U.S. legal position."

"The United States actually has firm legal views on these points, which unfortunately, probably for reasons of operational secrecy, the senior leadership hasn't properly communicated," Anderson added.

To justify the use of force, the Obama administration relied on the Authorization to Use Military Force Act of Sept. 18, 2001, which allows the president to use "all necessary and appropriate force" against persons who authorized, planned or committed the 9/11 attacks, as well as international law derived from treaties and customary laws of war.

The Obama and Bush administrations have argued that the use of force is allowed under international law because of the continuing conflict with al Qaeda, and the need to protect the United States from additional attacks.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio