As three of the SEALs reached the top of the steps on the third floor, they saw bin Laden standing at the end of the hall. The Americans recognized him instantly, the officials said.
Bin Laden also saw them, dimly outlined in the dark house, and ducked into his room.
The three SEALs assumed he was going for a weapon, and one by one they rushed after him through the door, one official described.
Two women were in front of bin Laden, yelling and trying to protect him, two officials said. The first SEAL grabbed the two women and shoved them away, fearing they might be wearing suicide bomb vests, they said.
The SEAL behind him opened fire at bin Laden, putting one bullet in his chest, and one in his head.
It was over in a matter of seconds.
Back at the White House Situation Room, word was relayed that bin Laden had been found, signaled by the code word “Geronimo.” That was not bin Laden’s code name, but rather a representation of the letter “G.” Each step of the mission was labeled alphabetically, and “Geronimo” meant that the raiders had reached step “G,” the killing or capture of bin Laden, two officials said."
‘G’ is usually represented as ‘Golf’ not ‘Geronimo’ but okay.
A senator on Sunday called for a “no-ride list” for Amtrak trains after intelligence gleaned from the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound pointed to potential attacks on the nation’s train system.
Sen. Charles Schumer said he would push as well for added funding for rail security and commuter and passenger train track inspections and more monitoring of stations nationwide."
nightmare-inducing. There’s so little incentive to ride trains today, why add security headaches? Increase funding for rail maintenance, commuter rail expansion, and faster trains first. Besides, everyone knows it’s the high speed freight trains carrying hazardous chemicals that are the real dangers.
Conservatives have attempted to credit George W. Bush for President Barack Obama’s success in killing Osama bin Laden in various ways, from exaggerating the role of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” to praising Bush’s unsuccessful seven year attempt to do so.
While there are indeed many examples of Obama continuing Bush-era policies to the frustration of liberals, killing bin Laden is not one of them. Rather, Obama’s focus on bin Laden represents a departure from his predecessor, who had decided shortly after 9/11 that bin Laden was “just a person who’s been marginalized,” just a small part of a much larger battle. As Michael Hirsh wrote last week, Obama rejected the Bush approach that “conflated all terror threats from al-Qaida to Hamas to Hezbollah,” replacing it with “with a covert, laserlike focus on al-Qaida and its spawn.”
During the 2008 election, Bush mocked Obama for asserting he would target bin Laden if he was hiding in Pakistan. GOP presidential candidate John McCain attacked Obama as “confused and inexperienced” for saying so.” It is a bit rich to regard the results of an operation that Bush and McCain would have opposed as “continuity” with the prior administration. There are a number of disturbing continuities between Bush and Obama on national security, but the singular focus on bin Laden isn’t one of them.
What is notable however, is that the major distinction between Obama and Bush that has formed the basis of GOP criticism of Obama — the President’s rejection of torture — has proven so decisively wrongheaded. Conservatives attempting to attribute successfully killing bin Laden to torture are merely attempting to take credit for what President Bush pointedly failed to do. Far from yielding the necessary intelligence, the two al Qaeda suspects who were waterboarded pointedly resisted identifying the courier whose activities lead to the U.S. discovering Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts. The pro-torture argument ignores the obvious — that if torture was so effective, bin Laden would have been dead long ago. Bin Laden was found through years of painstaking intelligence gathering, not through the barbarous methods supported by many Bush apologists.
One cannot discount how shattering the Obama administration’s killing of Bin Laden has been to the self-image of conservatives who have convinced themselves of that the fight against al Qaeda hinges not just on torture, but on how many times the president says the word “terrorism,” or on Obama’s refusal to engage in juvenile expressions of American toughness.
While we’re far from the moment where terrorism ceases to be a threat, what torture apologists fear most now is a future in which al Qaeda is destroyed without the U.S. embracing the war-on-terror “dark side” that’s become central to their identity. Indeed, having rejected torture, Obama has nevertheless lead the country to its greatest victory in the fight against al Qaeda.
While the killing of Osama bin Laden may help protect the U.S. from terrorism, as much or more credit should go to the Obama administration’s decision to shut down the Bush-era CIA interrogation program. Under this secret program, the details of which are still not fully disclosed, the U.S. abandoned the rule of law and embraced a system of detention and interrogation that was not only illegal and immoral, but severely damaged U.S. national security.
In fact, each time the U.S. has strayed from core values there have been national security consequences. Senior military officials report that foreign fighters joined the war in Iraq following the release of the Abu Ghraib abuse photos, and the continued existence of Guantanamo has been used as a recruiting tool for al Qaeda. Earlier this year when a detainee died at Guantanamo of apparently natural causes, the fact that it happened at Guantanamo made it a major focal point for anti-U.S. and militant propaganda. The Taliban issued a statement condemning the U.S. for violating international law and thousands attended his funeral in Afghanistan.
We will never know how much information the U.S. lost because it failed to use time-tested, effective, and humane methods of interrogation. We will never know how many years earlier bin Laden could have been captured and how many lives spared if, instead of whisking them off to a prison outside the law, the U.S. had instead charged Mohammed and al Libi in federal courts and treated them properly and in accordance with due process. We do know that bin Laden’s death does not end the threat terrorists pose to the U.S. and other nations. But we also know that the best way to guard against future attack is by rejecting the use of torture outright and staying faithful to the rule of law and basic tenets of decency. This is true not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it works."
Prasow is a senior counsel in Human Rights Watch’s Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program and previously served as defense attorney with the Office of Military Commissions and assistant counsel for Salim Hamdan in the only contested military commission trial to date.
Media outlets publish incorrect name of the station head as relations worsen between spy agencies
Fresh tension has erupted between the CIA and Pakistani intelligence after several Pakistani media outlets published the alleged name of the CIA station chief in Islamabad.
Two senior Pakistani officials said the name published, Mark Carlton, was incorrect, but one said it was similar to the real one.
Despite the inaccuracy, publication of the name was seen as a sign of worsening relations between the two spy agencies a week after the death of Osama bin Laden in a garrison town north of Islamabad.
The CIA chief, Leon Panetta, said last week that he did not warnPakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) about the raid because he feared the information could leak in advance, prompting furious ISI denials of complicity.
Publication of an American spy’s name caused friction between the two agencies six months ago.
The previous station chief, Jonathan Banks, was identified in court papers and the media in December, causing him to leave Pakistan immediately. Some US officials blamed the ISI for the leak.
This time, the name was published by the private television station Ary One on Friday, then reprinted in the rightwing Nation newspaper on Saturday.
According to reports, “Mark Carlton” was given an angry reprimand by the ISI chief, General Shuja Pasha, over the operation to kill Bin Laden.
The published name sounded similar to the real one, a senior Pakistani official said, suggesting the leak had come from a lower-level ISI source rather from than the top.
“It sounds similar. Mike can be misheard as Mark,” he said. “It sounds like something someone misheard in the corridor, perhaps someone who is ideological or not very well educated.”
The official declined to give the real name. US media did not report the incorrect name, saying that the information remained classified under US law.
A senior ISI official said the agency did not release the name. “If you’re asking, no we didn’t,” he said. Asked about the state of relations with the CIA, he declined to comment.