Bin Laden Is Dead: Updates, Reaction and Analysis

BY News Desk  May 2, 2011 at 1:18 PM EDT

Updated 9:10 p.m. ET | On tonight’s program, Ray Suarez reports on reactions to Osama bin Laden’s death. Special correspondent Saima Mohsin reports from Abbottabad, Pakistan, on locals’ amazement that the world’s most wanted man was living in their midst, and Margaret Warner has the latest from the White House on the raid that was months in the making.

Then, Gwen Ifill talks to New America Foundation’s Steve Coll and Booz Allen Hamilton’s Farhana Qazi about what’s next in the war on terror. Finally, Jim Lehrer discusses the policy implications of bin Laden’s death with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Sen. Chuck Hagel.

Updated 6:54 p.m. ET | Boehner: ‘What Unites Us as Americans Is Far Greater Than What Divides Us’



Updated 6:43 p.m. ET | Check out our photo essay of global reactions to the news of bin Laden’s death:

Updated 5:20 p.m. ET | In new behind-the-scenes photos released by the White House, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. A classified document seen in this photograph has been obscured.

Updated 4:08 p.m. ET | Our PBS colleagues over at NOVA have talked to a genetics expert about the quick turnaround on identifying bin Laden’s DNA.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check out Frontline’s “Hunting Bin Laden” report.

Updated 2:37 p.m. ET | White House: Photo Decision Still Pending

The White House said Monday that no decision has been made on whether to release a photo to offer more proof of bin Laden’s death.

John Brennan, President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, said it’s still to be determined whether to release a photo of bin Laden’s body, but said the administration would do everything possible to ensure no one can deny the al-Qaida leader is dead.

Brennan also said that the woman killed in the raid was believed to be a wife of bin Laden and she “was positioned in a way that indicated she was being used as a shield.” He added that it wasn’t clear if she put herself in the line of fire or had been held as a shield by bin Laden or his son.

In a conference call with reporters Monday, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said he believes the president is inclined toward a “robust reduction” of the roughly 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan this summer.

Updated 2:37 p.m. ET | Help us, via Universal Subtitles, to subtitle the president’s speech in English and other languages. If you have foreign language skills, you can help make the president’s speech available to communities all around the world.


DNA analysis is said to be part of the confirmation of bin Laden’s identity. Administration officials have told news agencies that DNA evidence has proven that bin Laden is dead, with 99.9 percent confidence.

Updated 12:40 p.m. ET | Check out our post with aerial photos and illustrations of bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound.

Updated 12:17 p.m. ET | At a White House ceremony to posthumously award the Medal of Honor to Korean War veterans Army Pfc. Anthony Kaho’ohanohano and Pfc. Henry Svehla, President Obama made brief remarks about the operation that killed bin Laden.

“I think we can all agree this is a good day for America,” he said. “Our country has kept its commitment to see that justice is done.”

Updated 11 a.m. ET | The Pew Global Attitudes project has just released new data about views of bin Laden among Muslim publics. Their survey showed little support for the al-Qaida leader.

Among the six predominantly Muslim nations recently surveyed by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, bin Laden received his highest level of support among Muslims in the Palestinian territories – although even there only 34% said they had confidence in the terrorist leader to do the right thing in world affairs. Minorities of Muslims in Indonesia (26%), Egypt (22%) and Jordan (13%) expressed confidence in bin Laden, while he has almost no support among Turkish (3%) or Lebanese Muslims (1%).

And National Journal has a play-by-play on the covert team that launched the operation that ultimately felled bin Laden.

Updated 10 a.m. ET | Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made remarks Monday about bin Laden, warning that al-Qaida’s “syndicate of terror” is not extinguished with his death.

The State Department has issued a worldwide travel alert for Americans abroad, warning of a risk of heightened violence after “counter-terrorism activity in Pakistan.”

Here are Clinton’s full remarks:

Posted 8:30 a.m. ET, Updated 9:30 a.m. ET | The world awoke Monday to the stunning news that long-hunted al-Qaida leader and Sept. 11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden was killed Sunday in a U.S. ground operation in Pakistan.

“Justice has been done,” declared President Obama in an unusual late-night announcement at the White House that sparked impromptu celebrations outside the White House and near ground zero in Manhattan.

Here are the topline details:

  • U.S. forces killed bin Laden in a CIA-led strike in Abbottabad, Pakistan, early Monday local time; The al-Qaida chief was shot in the head after he resisted capture.

  • A son of bin Laden and at least two other male adults were reported killed in the assault.

  • Elite counter-terror troops helicoptered in and out in 40 minutes and Pakistani officials say they used a Pakistani air base.

  • The U.S. buried the body at sea in accordance with Islamic custom and due to difficulties over what country would accept his remains.

  • Intelligence reports say the CIA slowly tracked down bin Laden to a custom-built compound after tracing a trusted courier.

“I heard a thundering sound, followed by heavy firing. Then firing suddenly stopped. Then more thundering, then a big blast,” Mohammad Haroon Rasheed, a resident of Abbottabad told the Associated Press about the scene of the strike.

One Pakistani man in Abbottabad unknowingly live-tweeted the operation, as he watched helicopters descend near his home.


A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope its not the start of something nasty :-S16 hours ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply


Saudi Arabia, the country of bin Laden’s birth, has told news agencies that it hopes his killing will stamp out the “misguided thought” behind international terrorism.

Reaction is flowing in from around the world. The Newseum in Washington is posting newspaper front pages from around the world, track those here.

We’ll be tracking the story all day here on the Rundown, and offering reaction and analysis from our editorial team.

And we want to know, what’s your reaction to the news? And how did you learn of bin Laden’s death? Leave your comments on this post or find us on Twitter or Facebook.