tv ABC7 News Weekly ABC May 1, 2011 11:35pm-12:00am EDT
just beginning to gather as they learn the news that osama bin laden has been killed. been killed in a mansion in pakistan. this was a mission by u.s. forces. he was shot. the body has been recovered by united states forces. the dna has been matched. so, president obama will address the nation to say the man who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks in 2001. here comes the president now. >> good evening. tonight i can report to the american people and to the world that the united states has conducted an operation that killed osama bin laden, the leader of al qaeda. and a terrorist responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children. it was nearly ten years ago that a bright september day was darken the by the worst attack on the american people in our
history. the images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory. hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless september sky, the twin towers collapsing to the ground, black smoke billowing up from the pentagon, the wreckage of flight 93 in shanksville, pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved more heartache and destruction. yet we know the worst images are those unseen to the world. the empty seat at the dinner table, children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father, parents who would never know the feeling of their child's embrace. nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts. on september 11, 2001 n our time of grief, the american people came together. we offered our neighbors a hand
and we offered the wounded our blood. we reaffirmed our ties to each other. and our love of community and country. on that day, no matter where we came from, what god we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one american family. we were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. we quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al qaeda, an organization headed by osama bin laden, which had openly declared war on the united states and was committed to killing innocence in our country and around the globe. so, we went to war against al qaeda. to protect our citizens, our friends and our allies. over the last ten years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals,
we've made great strides in that effort. we've disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. in afghanistan, we removed the taliban government which had given bin laden and al qaeda safe haven and support. around the globe we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot. yet osama bin laden avoided capture. escaped across the afghan border into pakistan. meanwhile, al qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world. so, shortly after taking office, i directed leon pinetta, director of cia, to make the capture or killing of osama bin lad laden.
then, last august, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, i was briefed on a possible lead to bin laden. it was far from certain. it took many months to run this thread to ground. i met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin laden, hiding within a compound deep inside pakistan. finally, last week, i determined that we had enough intelligence to take action and authorized an operation to get osama bin laden and bring him to justice. today, at my direction, the united states launched a targeted operation against that compound in pakistan, a small team of americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. no americans were harmed. they took care to avoid civilian casualties. after a fire fight, they killed osama bin laden and took custody of his body.
for over two decades bin laden has been al qaeda's leader and symbol and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. the death of bin laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al qaeda. his death does not mark the end of our effort. no doubt, al qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. we must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad. as we do, we must also reaffirm the united states is not and never will be at war with islam. i have made clear just as president bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against islam. bin laden was not a muslim leader. he was a mass murderer of muslims. indeed, al qaeda slaughtered scores of muslims in many countries, including our own. so his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and
human dignity. over the years, i've repeatedly made clear that we would take action within pakistan if we knew where bin laden was. that is what we've done. but it's important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with pakistan helped lead us to bin laden. and the compound where he was hiding. indeed, bin laden had declared war against pakistan as well and ordered attacks against the pakistani people. tonight, i called president and my team has also spoken with their pakistani counterparts. they agree this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. going forward, it is essential pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al qaeda and its affiliates. the american people did not choose this fight. . came to our shores. and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens.
after nearly ten years of service, struggle and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. these efforts weigh on me every time i as commander in chief have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one or look into the eyes of a service member who's been gravely wounded. so, americans understand the cost of war. yet as a country we will never tolerate our security being threatened nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. we will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. we will be true to the values that make us who we are. and on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al qaeda's terror, justice has been done. tonight we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who have worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome.
the american people don't see their work nor know their names, but tonight they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice. we give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. they are part of the generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that september day. finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11. that we have never forgotten your loss, nor waived in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores. tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. i know that it has at times frayed, yet today's achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the american
people. the cause of securing our country is not complete, but tonight we are once again reminded that america can do whatever we set our mind to. that is the story of our history. whether it's the pursuit of prosperity for our people or the struggle for equality for all our citizens, our commitment to stand up for our values abroad and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place. let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are. one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. thank you. may god bless you. and may god bless the united states of america. >> president obama from the east room of the white house saying after ten years of service, struggle, sacrifice, justice has
been done. osama bin laden has been killed. he was also saying to all the families of those killed on 9/11 this is proof we have never forgotten your loss. i'm joined by stacy pelosi, her father was killed in the world trade center on the 98th floor. how do you feel tonight, stacy? >> it's a little shocking. i'm trying to process it all. you know, it's been ten years. i just never thought that this kind of closure was in the cards for me. i never thought we would get justice. so, while i'm cautiously optimistic, i'm a little nervous there might be some sort of retaliati retaliation. i'mov overjoyed that america pulled it together and got it done. >> i could not say it better. after ten years. the president hoping this will bring about the kind of unity we had in those days after 9/11. and i can only imagine how your family, stacy, will be feeling in the coming days. >> it's -- yeah.
it's all bittersweet. there's a part of you that almost wants to celebrate, even though that's not the right word. but it's -- like i said, it's closure we never expected we would get and we're thrilled for that closure. >> thank you. we're thrilled for you. thank you for coming on tonight. i want to bring in brian ross, our chief investigative correspondent. the president giving more details on what happened and kind of remarkable details. after ten years, when osama bin laden is public enemy number one, killed in a fire fight not far from the capital of pakistan. >> right. this is not in a cave in the mountain regions. this is a city in pakistan. the operation, according to president obama, began last august when they had a lead that was he was in a come poun, they've been watching this compound since then. the president said today he ordered u.s. forces, joint special operation forces into pakistan and they engaged in a fire fight and killed bin laden. this was not far from the pakistan capital.
that does raise questions about how he was sheltered there for so long without being turned in. who protected him? >> the president did call the president of pakistan and say we're going to be vigilant against al qaeda. >> george w. bush said president obama called to inform me american forces killed osama bin laden. i congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. they have our everlasting gratitude. he goes on to continue his statement, and i can add a few words from president clinton as well who said, i congratulate the president, the national security team and members of our armed forces in bringing osama bin laden to justice after more than a decade of murderous al qaeda attacks. both president clinton and george w. bush know all too well how difficult it was to find, capture and kill osama bin
laden. >> this is going to send shock waves through the arab world. >> indeed. of course, president clinton dealing with it because this came about even in 19 98 when osama bin laden blew up those embassies in east africa and the rest of the world has been dealing with this. as president obama said tonight, it wasn't just 3,000 americans who were killed here, but tens of thousands of muslims killed all over the world in this fight that osama bin laden has been leading around the world. so, it's going to be an incredible reaction around the world as well. particularly since they -- he and zawahiri, his deputy, have been quite quiet as these revolutions have happened. so many have said these democratic uprisings signal the ideological death now for al qaeda. >> now not a metaphorical or id. thank you. tom ridge, secretary of homeland
security under george w. bush. your reaction, sir? >> george, my first reaction was, frankly, that the gold star mothers who have lost sons and daughters in the fight against terrorism and the families who lost loved ones on 9/11, it brings some closure to a painful chapter in their lives and some closure to a painful chapter in the history of the united states of america. president obama committ president bush committed to bringing him to justice. president obama increased pressure in pakistan and it's quite obvious there had to be some collaboration with the pakistani government to achieve the goal of bringing him to justice. indeed, much credit goes to the counterterrorism units and particularly brave individuals associated with the operation conducted some time in the past day or two. >> does it surprise you, sir, he was found so close to islamabad, a major pakistani city and not
in the remote mountains of the northwest? >> you know, i think on a night when we want to commend the pakistani government, there's always been some concern among counterintelligence community, counterterrorism community, there had been support for al qaeda and bin laden within government circles. obviously, at some point in time they found a very -- found very discreet sources and kept it that way for a period of time and ultimately the result means that the cooperation with pakistani government and the pressure of president bush and president obama and continued work of leon panetta did their work. >> you had a homeland security department that probably wouldn't be here today but for osama bin laden. he has changed -- he had changed the entire national security appear are t apparatus of our country in so many ways, this one man.
>> every time people travel through an airport, not only in this country but in most of the world, they're reminded of what one man, one terrorist and the sma small cadry of individuals did to change the norm in which people try to live, raise their families and grow their economies. it's pretty clear this is a chapter, george, that is closed. unfortunately, i'm afraid, there will be a few others written. many men and women talking with you this evening talked about continued concerns in yemen and somalia. we know we have yemen cleric now who could become the inspirational leader. we also see a new wave of terrorism. we see homegrown terrorism in many countries, including our own. so, this is a -- this is an incredible evening. >> it is an incredible evening. take us back inside and what you think might be happening in your former department, department of
homeland security. whenever something like this happens, a major victory for the united states, a major blow to al qaeda, but at the same time, have you to be on alert for what might be triggered by his death. >> well, you know, i cannot prejudge but i do suspect, without any inside information, that there have been the appropriate alerts sent out to law enforcement community about ramping up security around certain sectors, both private and public. since 9/11 we've been on guard constantly. osama bin laden and zawahiri have been taunting the united states. at some times i think the united states as individuals have not lost the sense of urgency, but the farther we got from 9/11 the more distant it became in their concerns but i don't think our
professionals have lost that sharp and that keen sense of commitment to make sure we're day and that's the same attitude they bring to their job and heightened for the next several weeks or months, obviously with great concern this may precipitate some retaliation if not in the united states then around the world. >> thank you very much for your time tonight. i know this -- i know how gratified you are by this victory. david muir here, as the secretary talks about how this has changed everyone's life, every time you go into the airport. >> for the past ten years, no matter where we go to take a flight in this country, we're affected by the aftermath of 9/11. i'll never forget being at boston logan airport after those two planes took off and ticket counter agents were stunned they allowed one of those hijackers to walk past them with a one-way ticket, with cash, that's never happened again, and the high security in this country we've all gone through because of
these hijackers. christie cooms, she lost her husband on the flight, i called her to let her know. she just eemd me. she said, while this is good news for our country, the end of one chapter of a never-ending book, not a closure. doesn't change everything for us. eason coming home. my kids are still without a father. george, she talks about the fears we addressed earlier. that while bin laden might be gone, she fears what kind of retaliation could come next. the families who have lived this for ten years know very well this could instigate, this could fuel other people who still follow his cause even more now with him being dead. >> as secretary said, everyone in the government would no doubt be on alert for that. i want to go back to jake tapper at the white house. jaime ja jake, the president went through his decision-making process here. said the operation happened today but osama bin laden has
been in sights for the better part of a week here. >> that's right. they got the lead last august. president obama said that he had told, when he started as president, he told his cia director panetta he wanted the capture or killing of osama bin laden to be the number one priority when it came to the fight against al qaeda. and then in august they got a lead. they followed the threat through. then it was today that he gave the order and u.s. troops were told from our reporter on the ground there in pakistan, nick schifrin, that it was a joint u.s./pakistan operation. we'll hear more about that in the days to come. but we're told it was an on the ground operation in this one mansion, this one compound, and it was a successful mission. no civilians were killed. no u.s. troops were killed. and the u.s. has bin laden's body. jubilation inside the white house, outside the white house,
tourists and others gathered outside, singing usa, sincing nah, nah, good-bye to bin laden. 9/11 was bin laden's deadliest attack but other attacks linked to al qaeda including the 1998 bombings of the u.s. embassies in tanzania and kenya, where more than 20 0 individuals were killed. of course the bombing of the "uss cole" where 17 service members were killed in 2000. those families have got to be experiencing the same thing that the families of the victims of 9/11 are feeling, which is a great sense of closure, a great sense of relief and a real happiness that the u.s. has not taken its eye off the ball throughout the bush administration and continuing into the obama administration. >> we're joined by one of those family members right now, debora. your feelings tonight, deborah? >> i'm elated. i'm elated this man, this evil, evil bad man who has so much blood on his hands is now dead. and i hope very much that we get
to see pictures of his lifeless body because i think it's going to be very important for the world to see that. >> this has been so much a part of your life since 9/11. just tell us what you felt, what you thought as you heard this news. >> well, i was stunned. i got the call from my brother, brad, who was the concern who called me on the morning of 9/11 to tell me that our brother had been killed in his airplane crashing into the pentagon. and so it was very fitting i get this call from brad tonight. and i -- i have -- i have a million questions because, you know, for the families, this has been -- this man and his mignons have hawned us for the past ten years. so this -- i heard you say, speaking about another family member, it's true, that his -- the close of a very big chapter, but we are worried going
forward. we worry because al qaeda has ma metastasized. it's a great row leaf to know this man is no longer walking. >> when you saw the president take the podium, was it what you thought? >> no. i thought it would come years ago and the announcement would come from president bush. but i have to say, i was thrilled and i was rooting for him tonight, the way i rooted for the president on that day because we are one country. and i think that our military deserves -- deserved the credit he gave them tonight. i was very happy to hear him say that because these guys have wanted him so bad. i mean, i'm talk about bin laden. so, i was thrilled that they could do an up close and personal attack rather than
getting him from the skies with a predator. >> and i don't know if you saw as we were on earlier tonight, you must have been thrilled to see that spontaneous scene at the white house have hundreds have started to gather and sing the star spangled banner. >> i actually became very emotional hearing that. i wish i could be with them. the american people have been magnificent. they've been very, very supportive. they've never forgotten 9/11. i wish i were there with them. >> it is an amazing scene. let's watch. >> usa! usa! usa! usa! usa! usa! usa! usa! usa! >> that is the scene outside the white house tonight. jubilation at the word from president obama that osama bin laden has been killed. we're joined on the phone now by debora burl