Obama watched live video as troops closed in on 'Geronimo'
Tuesday 03 May 2011
The tension on his face and those of his most trusted staff is clearly visible. As Barack Obama receives an update on the raid on Osama bin Laden's complex in Abbottabad, Pakistan, it is very far from clear whether the news is good – or what the national security team had expected to hear. "It was probably one of the most anxiety-filled periods of time in the lives of the people who were assembled," said the White House counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan. "The minutes passed like days."
The plans began to take shape in 2009, when it emerged that Bin Laden's most trusted courier was based near Islamabad. US intelligence was able to find the residence the courier shared with his brother in Abbottabad. It was clear from the $1m compound's reinforcements that it had been designed for someone important. That person, CIA chief Leon Panetta said after a month's further investigation, was Osama bin Laden.
Two more months of surveillance and intelligence-gathering passed before Mr Obama and the National Security Council met for the first of five meetings on 14 March. In the final session, on 8.20am last Friday, the President was ready to authorise the raid on "Geronimo" – Osama's codename. Obama spent some of Sunday playing golf, before returning to the White House situation room. The elite 24 "black ops" team of Seal Team Six, officially known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, took off from Ghazi airbase in north-west Pakistan, where they had been on standby.
They returned with Bin Laden's corpse, then transferred it to an aircraft heading for Bagram airbase in Afghanistan. At the base, the body was formally identified through DNA testing, and America's most wanted man was taken on his final journey for burial at sea.
- 1 Kim Jong-un shows off airport designed by architect he likely had executed
- 2 Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
- 3 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 4 Tunisian builder has been hailed a hero after knocking gunman to the ground with roof tiles
- 5 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
Kim Jong-un shows off airport designed by architect he likely had executed
Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
Tunisian builder has been hailed a hero after knocking gunman to the ground with roof tiles
Greece debt crisis: Athens has one day to find €1.6bn
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Extend Right To Buy to tenants of private landlords, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn says
David Cameron struck double blow in his hopes to win Britain a new EU deal
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...
£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading and innovative con...