President Obama, in an address to the nation late Sunday night, confirmed numerous reports: Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was killed in Pakistan.
Nearly 10 years after the atrocities on U.S. soil, Obama told the nation that Bin Laden died in Pakistan during a firefight in a compound in Abettabad, where the terrorist was hiding. The president said the U.S. had taken custody of Bin Laden's body and that no American personnel had been injured during the operation, which Obama authorized on May 1. The President said the move followed a tip first disclosed months ago about the Al Qaeda leader's whereabouts, and that there had finally been enough intelligence over the past week to set the operation in motion.
CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, ABC, CBS and NBC posted special reports before the 11 p.m. (ET) hour Sunday night that Bin Laden had been killed. Media outlets were reporting that President Obama was due to make a special address Sunday night, which he finally did around 11:40 p.m.
News coverage depicted a growing crowd gathering outside The White House, shouting "U.S.A. U.S.A." Later, the cable news networks also showed large gatherings of people at Ground Zero and in Times Square in Manhattan.
Coverage also centered on how this could change the dynamic in the battle against terrorism; the possibility of a heightened level of security in the nation and for Americans around the world; the potential for short-term retaliatory attacks; and U.S. citizens' reactions to the news, which prompted various comments about justice, relief and closure from those who were interviewed.
Obama, who said that "tonight, justice has been done,"called the killing of Bin Laden "the most significant victory" in the battle against Al Qaeda over the past two decades, but that this was not the end of that fight. The President also vowed to remain "relentless in our defense" of U.S. citizens, friends and allies.
He also gave thanks to the men who carried out the operation and asked the American people to once again rally to the sense of unity they had expressed in the aftermath of 9/11. More than 3000 people were killed on that fateful day in 2001 as the World Trade Center's towers were ultimately felled by two hijacked airplanes, while the Pentagon was partially destroyed by a third hijacked jetliner, and a fourth aricraft crashed in rural Pennsylvania.
Those crimes and his trophies confirmed Bin Laden as the face/symbol of Al Qaeda and steeled the U.S. resolve under then President George W. Bush and now Obama to track down the terrorist.
In a statement supplied to Multichannel News by the House Committee on Homeland Security, U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the committe, gave both president Obama and former President Bush props for their respective efforts in the war on terror.
"I commend President Obama on the announcement of the killing of Osama bin Laden," said King (R-NY). "Today, the American people have seen justice. The leader of the United States' top enemy has gotten what he deserves for orchestrating the deaths of nearly 3,000 innocent Americans on September 11, 2001. In 2001, President Bush said ‘we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.' President Bush deserves great credit for putting action behind those words. President Obama deserves equal credit for his resolve in this long war against Al Qaeda."