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 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 2 Charles Kennedy dead: Former Lib Dem leader dies at home aged 55 - latest news
- 3 Ayyan Ali: Pakistan's top model now appears in the courtroom rather than on the catwalk
- 4 Fifa corruption: Europe plots to stage an 'alternative World Cup' in place of Russia 2018
- 5 Jaden Smith wears gender fluid dress to high school prom with Hunger Games actress
Photographer who performed naked shoot in China's Forbidden City sparks outrage
Ed Miliband returns to the backbenches but it's all a bit awkward as he tries to avoid eye-contact with fellow Labour MPs
Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
Charles Kennedy dead: Former Lib Dem leader dies at home aged 55 - latest news
Isis tortures 14-year-old Syrian boy and films it in graphic video for 'propaganda purposes'
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history
£22000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital advertising infras...
£100000 - £125000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a top tier supplier to the...
£17100 - £22900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading...
£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an intermediate help de...