WNYC's Bob Hennelly is an award-winning investigative journalist. While at WNYC he has reported on a wide gamut of major public policy questions ranging from immigration and homeland security to power outages and utility mergers.
Raid That Killed bin Laden Was Months in the Making, White House Says
Monday, May 02, 2011
Osama bin Laden was killed following a raid that was months in the making, according to senior White House officials who detailed the deadly operation that brought down the architect of September 11 terror attacks.
bin Laden was killed during a 40-minute raid at an elaborate compound in a secluded portion of Abbotobad, 35 miles north of Islamabad in Pakistan.
The three-story structure — believed by White House officials to be custom built for bin Laden in 2005 — had no phone or Internet service and was surrounded by a perimeter with 12- and 18-foot high wall with barbed wire. It also had security gates.
Three families were residing in the home that was valued at $1 million dollars. The town is also a place where former Pakistani Army officers like to retire.
The raid killed an adult son of bin Laden, two Al Qaeda couriers and a woman who was used as a human shield by one on bin Laden's operatives. Two other women were wounded. Other non-combatants at the scene were removed without injury.
Officials said bin Laden "resisted the assault" and was killed in the ensuing firefight.
No American forces were injured in the raid. One U.S. helicopter malfunctioned and had to be destroyed by US forces on the ground. The Pakistani government was advised only after the completion of the operation, officials said.
The key breakthrough in the hunt for bin Laden came, according to the White House briefers, when four years ago post 9-11 detainees helped U.S. forces identify key Al Qeada couriers. But it was not until two years ago the US identified the courier, that along with his brother, was involved with maintaining the Abbotobad compound.
By the middle of March, President Barack Obama and his national security staff were having regular meetings on the mission. The final Presidential order to go operational was given Friday morning.
Before his address tonight President Obama shared the latest developments with President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton.
The Adminstration sources said travel advisories had been issued for U.S. citizens traveling in Pakistan and that in the immediate aftermath there existed a heightened threat of retaliation against the U.S. and Americans abroad.