Al-Qaeda leader tracked to compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, killed during fire fight ordered today by Commander-in-Chief...
By Brad Friedman on 5/1/2011, 7:49pm PT  

New York Times, CNN, NBC, Fox "News" are all now reporting that Osama Bin Laden has been killed. CNN reports three sources have confirmed, and that the U.S. has his body and have matched it with DNA evidence.

CNN reports: "Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in a mansion outside the Pakistani capital of Islamabad along with other family members, a senior U.S. official tells CNN."

The White House has called back the press pool to make the dramatic announcement shortly. Crowds outside the the north lawn of the White House are now gathering and cheering, as we sill await the president's official announcement...

8:37pm PT:...


In live televised statement to the nation, the president says Bin Laden was killed today in Abbottabad, Pakistan after actionable intelligence led him to order an attack by the U.S. military. A fire fight ensued, though no U.S. forces were killed.

He added that the effort, ten years after the 9/11 attacks, comes as a result of one of his first acts in office two years ago, ordering that the capture or killing of the al-Qaeda leader would be the nation's top priority in the "War on Terror."

"Justice has been done," said the President...

From his full statement:

[S]hortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.

Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.

Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

8:48pm PT: George W. Bush, who after 9/11 on September 17, 2001, vowed to capture Bin Laden "dead or alive," only to admit six months later on March 13, 2002 (video here), "I just don't spend that much time on him, to be honest with you," releases a statement to say he congratulated Obama, who called him earlier tonight with the news.

10:15pm PT: "In his presidential campaign, Mr. Obama bluntly declared, 'We will kill bin Laden,'" notes Jeff Zeleny at NYTimes in "President's Vow Fulfilled."

And, on Twitter, Amanda Marcotte notes, "Not to be all like we told you so, 101st Fighting Keyboardists, but you know, turned out that police actions got him and war didn't."

Here is a very good early accounting of the months of "police actions," as combined with a surgical military operation today in which, according to the report, "Bin Laden himself participated in the firefight."

10:33pm PT: From NYTimes [via David Roberts on Twitter]...

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