How We Got Him

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The CIA had a target but now had to figure out how to proceed. It was not as simple as trailing him back to the compound, given the chance that even a hint that the courier was being watched would have sent bin Laden scurrying for cover. Rather than take that chance, the CIA set up a more “elaborate” surveillance regime, probably involving small, nearly silent drones and real-time satellite coverage.

Eventually, the courier led them to the compound in a quiet neighborhood of Abbotobad. From the start, the CIA knew it was on to something. The mansion was 8 times larger than any other house in the area, featured a 16 foot wall topped with barbed surrounding the property, and appeared to be heavily guarded.

According to the New York Times, the CIA had concluded by September, 2010 there was a “strong possibility” that Osama bin Laden’s hideout had been found. At that point, it became a matter of using all the tools of the trade to figure out how many people were living in the house, the layout of the compound and the house, and pursing confirmation of the presence of bin Laden.

It was discovered that there were three families living in the mansion: the courier, his brother, and a family on the third floor that fit the profile of who Osama bin Laden had taken into hiding with him. But the intelligence still wasn’t “actionable” because there were so many uncertainties involved.

Despite the most sophisticated technical means on earth, in the end, it came down largely to brute brainpower and human judgment. Over the next few months, analysts used multiple methods to analyze every angle, and what kept coming out of their gaming the scenarios was that it was a “high probability” that Osama bin Laden was located in the compound.

At this point — early March — SEAL Team 6 was activated and tasked with carrying out the operation. These warriors are probably the most elite unit in the US military. Officially called the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, but known as just DevGru, they got right to work constructing a mock-up of the compound and rehearsing the raid several times.

After 5 top level meetings of the National Security Council, President Obama gave a go-ahead for the mission on Friday night. On early Sunday morning, the SEALs took off from a base in Afghanistan and proceeded to the compound. CNN reports there were about 2 dozen commandos flying in 4 helicopters — quite possibly MH47E special operations aircraft, flown by another elite unit, “The Night Stalkers.”

The SEALs originally planned to rappel down to the ground but were forced to change plans when fire from the roof of the mansion made a “soft” crash landing necessary. The operation proceeded flawlessly with the SEALs making their way through the first floor, killing both couriers and one of Osama’s sons. Bin Laden was on the third floor. He was shot once in the head and then in the chest after he had gone down. The president and his advisers were able to watch the attack in real time in the situation room that Brennan characterized as “probably one of the most anxiety filled periods of time I think in the lives of the people who were assembled here yesterday.”

Perhaps not as big a coup as killing the terrorist, but the capture of several computer hard drives as well as a treasure trove of documents will no doubt contribute a great deal to our intelligence about al-Qaeda and perhaps their future operation plans. The SEALs are well trained to go through a house that size and pull out every possible relevant piece of intelligence and do it quickly. From start to finish, the operation took only 40 minutes.

We were able to confirm that the body was Osama bin Laden’s through a combination of facial recognition software and DNA analysis using samples from several of bin Laden’s close relatives. Also, the SEALs reported that bin Laden’s wife identified him. She was slightly wounded and along with her children, escaped from the house.

Near tragedy was averted when one of the copters suffered mechanical failure or was damaged in the attack and couldn’t take off. With Pakistan’s air defenses alerted and jets scrambled to intercept them, the SEALs calmly switched to “Plan B,” scooping up the occupants of the damaged aircraft and then destroying the copter to prevent its extraordinary technology from falling into the wrong hands. Once the SEALs were clear of Pakistan, President Zardari was informed of the assault.

In all, the feat was an incredible display of American military prowess, adding much moral clarity to an increasingly jaded, confused political climate. Every member involved in the operation — spanning administrations past and present — have certainly earned their bragging rights.

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  • Shyam kumar

    HOOYAAAAAAHHHHH !!!!!!!!………. " Justice Shall and Will be done !!!". :)

  • ImaFreeAmerican

    The government needs to show pictures of him. We need proof that they really did kill this freak. There's a fake picture out there making the rounds so that causes people to mistrust. The White House should get this out quickly and shut down any doubt.

    • Mike

      The onus should be on Bin Laden and his supporters to prove that he is alive.Let the doubters doubt.Vital information should be secret.There's no need for tell-all.

      • ImaFreeAmerican

        Please don't get me wrong "I" believe he's dead but as you said the doubters and I might add the conspiracy people need to see for themselves then they can check for Photoshop fixes etc. and get it out of their system. The only thing I have a problem with is that they had a traditional muslim service for him? That just seems to stretch it a bit but, that might have been for the muslim community around the world. Who knows for sure.

  • Gunner57

    How does Rick Moran know how they got him? He doesn't. I agree with ImaFreeAmerican. Its time to show the proof that he is dead in the first place. Now the Muslims are using this lack of proof against us. All we have is the Obama Administration's word which is all the neocon/liberal Moran has as well.

  • davarino

    First off, if Osama is alive he will be thumbing his nose at us within days. I am sure we got him. It still would be nice to see him with his ventilated head, and chucking him in the sea would be nice as well. See ya later fish food. Oh and as far as honoring the traditions of islam, they should have vaporized him and shot him out of a cannon.

    How bout that Al Kada, do you have satellites? Oh you dont have those? How bout drones? No? How bout elite commandos that can sneak into any country and nab anybody you want? No? We got your intel and any one of you rats could be next. Go ahead take revenge and really piss us off.


  • Steve Chavez

    Did they say the bullets that killed UBL? I'm thinking since they shot him at close range, and the use of powerful weapons, that the bullets went right through him. Wouldn't they be put in the Oval Office desk for viewing of high ranking visitors? Of course, they could have his head in the freezer to show at State Dinners!

  • tagalog

    I think a fitting way of proving that it was Osama bin Laden that our SEALs killed would be for one of our TV news channels to film the Secretary of Defense sawing off bin Laden's head on TV and send the film to al-Jazeera.

    • LibertyMan

      …. and wrapped in pig skin.

  • tanstaafl

    "It's an old Sicilian message – tonight, Osama sleeps with the fishes" – Godfather I

  • steven l

    Done with OBL. The next adversary is a lot more vicious and has multiple tentacles all over the world.


  • Steve Chavez

    How many time have I written this over the years?

    "When the Berlin Wall and Iron Curtain fell, we cheered, our American Communists cried! When the Twins fell, we cried, they cheered!"

    Now I can add, "When Osama died, we cheered, they cried!"


    • Steve Chavez

      "Osama bin Laden is dead, Obama come home!" from Communist Party USA's,!by: John Case May 2 2011

      I feel no relief at the assassination of Osama bin Laden. I thought I would – his leading role in the attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11 nearly killed my wife who was attending a conference in the South Tower.

      Three-quarters of a million dead in Iraq with a U.S.-military-dependent government no less corrupt than Saddam Hussein's.

      On the same weekend Osama bin Laden is killed, British and Italian planes kill Muammar Gadaffi's son and three grandchildren.

      What goes around comes around. We need no more imperialistic karma to come back and kill us."

  • tagalog

    Three-quarters of a million dead in Iraq because of the U.S.-led coalition's invasion is not true. It is a wild exaggeration. The website Iraq Body Count lists a minimum of 100,627 deaths and a maximum of 109,924 civilian deaths as of May 2, 2011. They state: "Wikileak's Iraq War Logs may add 15,000 civilian deaths."

    So the maximum number of civilian dead is (theoretically) 124,924 deaths, nowhere near the 750,000 ("three quarters of a million") cited.

    I don't know how corrupt the Iraqi government is, but at least they're not committing genocide, as Saddam Hussein's government was doing with the Kurds and the Marsh Arabs. And they're not developing nuclear weapons and other WMDs.

    I felt relief when Hussein was captured and later executed, I feel relief that Osama bin Laden has finally reaped the oats he sowed so long ago, and I have no strong feelings about Khaddafi's son and grandchildren being killed, certainly no more feelings for them than they would have for me had I been on, say, the Lockerbie Pan Am flight. My strongest feeling about the Libya brouhaha is that the U.S. shouldn't be involved in it.

  • Jim

    Isn't it nice Osama was stabilized in that one place at that one time.
    He could have still been wandering around Waziristan as he did for a number of years.
    There in the fortress he felt safe and invincible ;so no escape tunnel no detectors
    no guards?
    And a large sore thumb of a building sticking out with out any CIA types finding out
    what it was for,or who was in it for many years.
    When the messenger showed up did that prove Osama was actually there at the time.
    Who decided that Obama was actually at home? Well maybe for some unknown reason he couldn't leave. What was that reason?

  • brimp

    Didn't I hear Madeline Albright claim that Bin Ladin was dead and on ice back in 2003? I think she claimed that Bush would produce is body in 2004 to get reelected. Something is fishy here. Dumping the body at sea is very odd if he was killed hundreds of miles away from the sea. Now they are going to produce a report on his DNA? If his birth certificate (the one that he claimed for 2 years that did not exist) is easily proven to be a fake, how can we believe anything this current crop of public servants say?

  • SAM000

    The people say;
    The Americans do always the right things, after having tested all the wrong ways.

    OBL could be killed at 2002, and Alqaida could be aborted in that time,
    Unfortunately State Dept. of that time wanted to deal with Mullah Khatami who was the Iranian President before AhmadiNejad.
    Collin Powell was negotiating with the Mullahs via UK foreign Minister JACK STRAW.

    OBL's son and 500 Alqaida members had got safe heaven in IRAN (the cities of ZANJAN and KARAJ).

    CIA and FBI of 2002 were arresting anybody who tried to alert USA Authorities about the presence of OBL familly and Alqaida Members in IRAN!!

    Al Qaida became operative in IRAQ after 2003 with the support of the Iranian services.

    Now, Al-Qaida is everywhere, Iraq was extracted from Saddam and offered to the Mullahs.

    OBL, was inactive, while OBL's GODFATHER (Ahmadinejad) travels freely to USA.

    The BIG BOSS of OBL is labeled PRESIDENT by your USA Government, WE CALL HIM GENOCIDER.