Osama Bin Laden Hid Behind One of His Wives During Firefight
( Brave guy eh? Dave )
Osama bin Laden had vowed to go down fighting, but in his last moments alive when cornered by elite U.S. troops the master terrorist hid behind one of his wives, White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan said today.
The woman who bin Laden tried to use as a human shield was killed in the U.S. raid, Brennan said. Whether she shielded him willingly is not known.
The force that swooped down on the world's most wanted terrorist has been identified as SEAL Team Six of the "Naval Special Warfare Development Group."
Brennan, a senior advisor on homeland security, said they were trying to "accomplish the mission safely and securely" for those involved and were not going to give bin Laden a chance to fire back on U.S. forces.
"He was engaged, and he was killed in the process," Brennan said. "If we had the opportunity to take him alive we would have done that."
Brennan called this operation a "defining moment" in war against terrorist groups where they "decapitated the head of the snake."
The three to four hours Sunday night when operation was ongoing, Brennan described as "one of the most anxiety-filled times" and that "minutes passed like days."
Upon learning of bin Laden's death, Brennan said that President Obama reacted by saying, "We got him."
Brennan acknowledged that there were some who didn't think the president should have pulled the trigger on the operation to go after bin Laden, who believed it was too risky, it was not guarenteed that bin Laden was there or had concerns that the mission would not succeed.
Administration officials are now trying to decide whether to release photos of bin Laden's corpse. Releasing the photos would prove that the terror leader is dead, but some officials fear the gruesome nature of the pictures could fan anti-American sentiment.
President Obama Praised Anonymous Heroes Who Killed Bin Laden
Earlier today, Obama praised the anonymous heroes who tracked and killed bin Laden, saying, "we are fortunate to have Americans who dedicate their lives" to defending our country.
"We may not always know their names, we may not always know their stories, but they are always there on the front lines of freedom and we are truly blessed," Obama said in a White House ceremony to honor Medal of Honor winners.
"As commander-in-chief, I could not be prouder of our men and women in uniform," the president said. "That is true now in today's wars, and it has been true in all of our wars and it is why we are here today."
Obama briefly but proudly addressed the top secret raid that killed bin Laden. "I think we can all agree this is a good day for America," he said. "Today we are reminded that as a nation there is nothing we can't do."
He gave special recognition in his speech to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, calling him "one of the finest secretaries of defense in our history."
Obama's comments today followed his dramatic announcement on national TV Sunday night that after 10 years of searching for bin Laden the Navy SEALS descended on a compound in the Pakistani suburb of Abbotabad, a scenic military town just 35 miles away from the capital Islamabad. The SEALS shot the terrorist leader dead after he refused to surrender.
Bin Laden's corpse was taken to Afghanistan to have his DNA tested for positive identification. The body was then flown to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, officials told ABC News and he was buried at sea. The burial was done in accordance with Islamic law, officials said. A Muslim seaman conducted the process and said the prayers, with bin Laden's body wrapped in the "appropriate way."
Obama administration officials said it was important to handle the body in accordance with Islamic practices so not to inflame the Muslim world.
Celebrations erupted over night in the United States after the president's televised announcement, but by this morning the triumphant mood was tinged with caution as security forces braced for possible revenge attacks.
"We will be true to the values that make us who we are," Obama said in a late night address Sunday. "And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda's terror: Justice has been done."
The United States first received a tip in August that the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks was hiding in a million-dollar mansion with 12 to 15 foot walls.
The evidence that bin Laden was hiding there was largely circumstantial and he had not been seen, sources told ABC News, and officials did not know where he may be in the sprawling compound that is located about 1,000 feet away from the Pakistan Military Academy.
"When crazy people call you crazy, you know you're sane.
When evil people call you evil, you know that you are a good person.
When lairs call you a liar, you know that you are truthful.
Know who you are and don't let others tell you who you are." - Dave Kitchen