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tv   ABC2 News The Latest at 11  ABC  May 1, 2011 11:00pm-11:35pm EDT

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october 2008. since becoming president he has not used that rhetoric in public. at the same time, the obama administration has been rapidly and massively increasing the number of predator drones that they have been using to attack al qaeda and al qaeda targets, extremist targets in pakistan through a campaign that the u.s. does not talk about openly because it's run through the intelligence agencies. it appears as though if he was killed in pakistan, as we're being told by brian ross and other sources, that that is the success of -- that has been the successful way he's gotten bin laden, according to sources telling us that he has been killed. >> jake tapper, thanks very much. just after 11:00 on the east coast, 8:00 on the west coast. we are on the air because we have learned osama bin laden has been killed. osama bin laden, the founder of al qaeda, president obama to speak shortly at the white
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house. i'm joined by our chief investigative correspondent brian ross. brian, for so many years, we had thought the trail on bin laden had gone completely cold. >> that was the case. they have been looking for him high and low. there was a huge reward, $25 million plus. they could not find him. they continued to attack, go up the trail that led to him, finding occuricouriers that mov tapes, moved food. there was a strike in northwest pakistan that killed 20 to 25 suspected militants and we are told he was probably one of those killed in that massive attack. >> eluded capture for more than -- more than ten years, almost a decade now since the 9/11 attacks. >> a huge victory, not just symbolically for the u.s. going back to the attacks on the u.s. embassies in after kashgs the "uss cole," and the 9/11 attacks, he was boasting he was the only one who knew they were going down. he was the most hated man in
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this country. >> martha raddatz, from a drone strike in northwest pakistan. these drones have been launched by the cia, actually intelligence operations for the last several years. do we have any more details of how it might have happened? >> george, i can tell you this is -- i cannot explain how mow m m momentous this is. for the past several weeks and months they look at these compounds and go out like a circle. everyone who's in a come poun, everyone who's in an area, those drones track each of those people back to where they are and then they track those people who know them. it is working outward from these compounds to try to figure out who might know bin laden, how they get to him. they have never been able to track the couriers. they have never been able to figure out how the couriers get messages out. but what they do is they just expand their circle, who goes
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into those circles, who comes out, who they know, who they know. it's a great diagram and just an amazing accomplishment. >> an amazing accomplishment. it will be interesting to see in the coming days whether anyone comes forward to collect that $25 million reward. >> yes, it will be. certainly, no one has -- before then, they've never been motivated to do that. if they try to collect that $25 million reward, i'm sure they'll get it very quickly. as far as i know, this is very good intelligence work and they kept at it. >> dave muir, you were talking about the 9/11 families who never gave up. this hunt either for osama bin laden. we're coming up now on the tenth anniversary of those 9/11 attacks. how different that anniversary will be this year now that osama bin laden is dead. >> incredible difference, particularly when you mark a decade these families have waited for some sort of justice. jake mentioned the polls as recently as this last fall that 67% of americans never thought
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osama bin laden would be captured or killed. he continued to taunt the united states with those audiotapes. three in the last year. the last was in march where he threatened to kill captured americans if sheikh mohammed khalid was not key leased. just this evening on "world news" we featured a young boy who grew up in lower manhattan, a kindergartener when those towers were falling that morning. he saw it happen, saw people jump from the offices and a firefighter running to him at the scene, a little boy, he said it never left him and that's what drove the documentary. that's the sentiment we'll hear over and over again as we continue to report out this story in the next 24 hours. this was a headline american families, the relatives of those 2974 victims have been waiting for for now nearly a decade. >> and, brian ross, not only had the united states lost the trail of bin laden at various times, also reports he had died from
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kidney failure. >> right. there were concerns about his health. supposedly he had been poisoned by saudi intelligence who thought he had gone off the wheels. don't forget, he was originally set up by saudi and the u.s. to help fight the russians in afghanistan. then went on to turn on the u.s. there were concerns that he had problems with his health, reported kidney dialysis and analyzing the videos over the last ten years, you can see him graying. he was 5 4 years old. just turned 54 in march. appeared to be in continued good health, even for the sparse conditions under which he was living. >> jake tapper, as you point out, president obama had made it a central plank of his campaign that he was not going to let osama bin laden out of his sights, that he was going to be even tougher and even more determined to get bin laden than president bush was. he was fierce in that debate, in the 2008 campaign. and the white house will be
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careful not to put this in a political context tonight, but what a political boost this will be for president obama. >> yes. he said the war in iraq was an example of the u.s. -- the bush administration taking their eyes off the ball when afghanistan and al qaeda, osama bin laden was the real target. obviously, in recent years, since he became president, there's been a surge of troops. now more than 100,000 u.s. troops in afghanistan. and as we discussed earlier in the program, in this special, he has increased significantly the number of unmanned predator drones in pakistan. of course, that is where al qaeda is said to have been hiding, in pakistan, when we interviewed cia director leon pin etta last year, he said there were less than 100 members of al qaeda in afghanistan, that most were across the border. of course, those borders are
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porous so there were thoughts osama bin laden was in afghanistan. so cia, intelligence officers for years were unable to find out where he was, if he was in afghanistan. it seems that this predator drone campaign was really successful. we'll have to find out more details as they come forward. >> jake, thanks. we're joined by andy card, chief of staff for president bush in the white house. your reaction tonight? >> this is a terrific day for america. quite frankly, for the whole world that cares about winning the wore on terrar on terror. it's particularly significant for our intelligence community and people involved in this. they are the ones who have kept their nose to the grindstone for a very long time and worked very hard to allow this day to be realized finally. >> in your time, in the white house, can you remember any time when you got close, when you
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believed that osama bin laden had been in your sights to be either captured or killed? >> yes. in fact, i was one person at one time who thought he had been killed. but i was wrong. so, i think we were close. the intelligence was never as good as we wanted it to be. i can tell you that people in the intelligence community have worked so hard for so long. >> thank you, mr. card. thank you for joining us on the phone tonight. i also want to bring in now richard clark, head of counterterrorism for many years under president bush and president clinton. this is someone who you tracked day and night for years. can you believe it's happened? >> well, it's very personally satisfying. not just for me, george, and the other people who tried to get him but for the victims' families, finally a sense of closure here. and comes at a really good times in terms of what's going on in the middle east because al qaeda itself has looked in the last few months like it was on the ropes. this will allow the united states to take real advantage of
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this timely death. it comes to late to save the thousands of lives he's taken, but it is satisfying. it shouldn't divert us, however, from the fact there are still lots of al qaeda cells out there. al qaeda in arabian peninsula, related groups like shabab in somalia and various camps. it's not over, george, but it is satisfying and we should finally feel some sense of closure on this chapter. >> dick, thanks for calling in. please stand by. i want to come back to you in a second but i want to go back to jake tapper at the white house. what do you have? >> just what richard clark had to say, of course, is accurate. the fight against terrorism is not over. we should step back and reflect on the emotion. there is jubilation here at the white house and across government. this has been -- this is the man who is the face of al qaeda. this is the man that caused the
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united states so much pain on september 11, 20 01. after almost a decade of the u.s. doing everything it could, including loss of many lives of u.s. soldiers and intelligence officials in afghanistan and the region, finally there is a big victory with the killing of osama bin laden. this is something that is going to mean a great deal to a number of americans, to millions of americans who remember that day. it was a day that changed the world in no small way, changed america. and i think this is -- it is important we take a step back and reflect on how important this is to so many americans when they hear this, that the u.s. officials who have been tasked with going after bin laden have succeeded. that this man, the number one enemy of the united states of america, has been killed. he has been brought to justice. >> you're exactly right, jake tapper. there's no question about that.
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he has been the face of evil for so many americans, for so long. even taunting the united states as he eluded capture. i want to bring that back to richard clark. i mean, there is going to be immediate reaction all around the world, here in the united states, around the arab world, around the rest of the globe. but can you try to tease out what difference this is going to make on the ground for al qaeda, for the al qaeda brand? >> well, that's the question, george. there's a debate in the intelligence community, has been for a long time, as to whether or not he had any ongoing guidance role or management role. i think the bottom line is, it shouldn't make any difference in the operations of the organization because he really wasn't doing micromanagement. it is going to hurt their reputation at a time when it has already been hurt badly by the arab spring. most rebellion has been taking place on arab countries have not
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involved al qaeda, at least not visuall initially. have involved a more youth rejecting al qaeda and succeeding in placing the government al qaeda tried for years to replace, like the government in egypt and couldn't. >> okay, richard, i want to go to martha raddatz right now. you've learned the united states actually has bin laden's body? >> security sources are saying they do have his body in custody. that is, of course, why they had to do the dna testing. they had the body. they wanted to do the test on the body. >> okay. >> okay, george, i'm sorry pip lost you for a moment. yes, we are hearing -- i am hearing as well that they have osama bin laden's body. that's what we were referring to
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earlier because they had to check that body to make sure it was osama bin laden. that's why there was all that activity at the white house for the past several days because they believe they got him but they weren't certain. the president wanted to make certain tonight. we should also -- i just want to add a personal note here, too, george, listening to jake. i was literally on a plane on my way to afghanistan tonight and was pulled off that plane when we heard the president was going to make this announcement. i'm thinking how many trips i've made to afghanistan, how long this war has been going on because of osama bin laden. so, it was really quite amazing to get that news. >> what a difference, martha, this is going to make to all those american troops still fighting there every single day. >> i cannot imagine how elateded those troops will be. that will be the biggest boost they could possibly get because you talk to those troops, george, and you know this, you talk to them and they say, we are fighting for the nation. we are fighting for the nation. we are going to get osama bin
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laden some day. i'll tell you, so many people were doubtful about this. even intelligence officials. i had one tell me a few years ago, i think he'll die of old age before we get him. we have no idea where he is. they kept at it. they kept going. you can't say diplomacy didn't have a lot to do with it, too. you had david petraeus over there, leon pinetta over there but i'm thinking about those troops who will be truly elated. >> i want to go back to andy card. you mentioned there were times you believed osama bin laden had been captured or killed. take us inside that for a moment. this was a daily focus for president obama, for your white house. the president would get those intelligence briefings every single morning, the thing he's looking for every single morning
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is where is osama bin laden, had he been getting, is there any chance? take us back to those days when you believed you had him in your sights. >> well, first of all, the president -- president bush's focus was on protecting america. . the first thing he would say is, what are we doing in protecting america? yes, he was interested in getting osama bin laden and he wanted him preferably alive, but he wanted him dead or alive. we did focus on that. and there was -- we would get regular reports about the intelligence and where we thought he was or the frustration when we couldn't figure out where he was. there were a couple of times when we thought we had him. sometimes it would be a drone strike we thought had been authorized to giet him and it wouldn't have been him. or he would have been someplace and the information came in, it was a few hours' old and we would just miss him. there were frustrations but i tell you, this is a tremendous night for the american people. but it's also a night where we
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have to remember, we have to be particularly vigilant about danger that is still out there. this act could cause people to do things that maybe they had planned to do for a long time if this day came. so, we have to be on our toes. there's not a doubt in my mind the intelligence community and law enforcement community and the fbi are working very hard to make sure that this does not trigger attacks on americans or american interests. >> that's an excellent point. i want to take this to pierre thomas. you cover the fbi every single day and they have benes specially concespecia especially concerned about homegrown attacks here in the united states. they'll be especially vigilant for attacks to go off automatically when osama bin laden was captured or killed. >> that's right. law enforcement officials had
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long placed plans that they'll be looking for anything that suggests something could be coming. i want to go back for a second to this notion of the symbolism. every senior law enforcement and intelligence official i've talked to over the last decade has talked about the need to get this man for the murder of nearly 3,000 people. and you can be talking to them and you will see their eyes sometimes almost nearly tear up when they talk about it. they didn't want to talk about it all that open on a regular basis because they knew that that would set up expectations. but believe me, throughout the government tonight, these officials are ecstatic. one official i talked to earlier who was, you know, giving information about this said, this is one of the greatest days in memory because they all remember those faces of people showing up in new york and in washington, with pictures of loved ones that were missing. so, this is a huge night for u.s. law enforcement and intelligence. >> for the entire country,
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exactly right. we have our web cam of ground zero right now. a live shot of ground zero. as we go to that, i want to go back to richard clark. richard, it was your job across many white houses every single day to track osama bin laden. if you could reflect a little more on what this means to you personally and the people you work with. richard clark? >> the program to use the predators to find them highly succeeded. i always believed this would be the only way we could find him and do something about that information when we got it. so, it's satisfying and satisfying to see the obama administration's plan of really turning up the heat with these predator strikes is what i think smoked him out. kept him moving and they found him on the move. >> and, richard, talk a little more about what kind of preparations will be in place right now inside the government
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to guard against any kind of follow-on strikes by al qaeda. >> well, george, there's an overall contingency plan the white house has put together for when this happens. martha is sdpribing it from one end, the secrecy of the meetings, the attempt to get the dna. all of that is part of the plan worked out in advance. the other part is to step up security at key u.s. facilities around pakistan, afghanistan, and elsewhere in the middle east and orders are going out tonight to all of those posts to step up security just in case there is some sort of protest or some sort of spontaneous attack. >> okay. let's pause, as you were speaking, richard clark. that is the picture from ground zero. two planes ordered by osama bin laden to go into the world trade
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center 2,974 americans dead. brian ross, no doubt people will be flocking to that site tomorrow. >> indeed. i think the death of bin laden will raise questions about who, if anyone, has been protecting him, if, in fact, he was killed in pakistan. we're getting reports now that it was u.s. ground forces who were involved in this. if that took place in pakistan, that would raise its own questions although ground forces and u.s. are not supposed to operate inside pakistan. but the larger question is, in those years that he's been on the run, who has protected him? who has helped hide him? that's one of the questions that needs to unravel. once jubilation is over, there will be serious issues regarding that. >> we are getting reports it may be u.s. ground forces. his body is in custody. that gets into the whole question of what the rules of engagement were for osama bin laden, whether he was to be
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captured or killed. everyone believed he would fight to the death. >> he reportedly had given his body guards orders he was not to be taken alive. that they -- their instructions were to kill him should it get to the point he was about to be captured. he expected that. he boasted that. looking at some of the old tapes that he issued in 20 09, september he said, obama is a weakened man. he'll never be able to stop this man. he taunted president obama. he taunted president bush. boasted his aability to evade the u.s. and continue his operations. >> so many people inside and outside the u.s. government who never believed he could, indeed, be caught or killed. >> right. it was the perseverance of both the cia and the military. they could find him. it is really the end of the earth when you go to the areas where he has been hiding. nevertheless, they developed ways to look into caves, to track purchases of food in those regions. they believed he was traveling with a large group of people.
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that required certain logistics. that's one of the things they were looking for. they looked in these areas. was there a purchase of large amounts of rice, gasoline for cars. the thought was that would help track him down. this information, jonathan karl is reporting, the information now is that u.s. ground forces were involved in going after bin laden, tracking him down and that all around him were killed in apparently a very fierce battle. >> and that his body will be buried at sea. david muir here at the desk as well. we're starting to get real-time reaction now. >> you can see it traveling at lightning speed. one of the differences in the ten years this country has been waiting for osama bin laden to be captured or killed. we don't have to wait until tomorrow to hear what the families of these victims are saying. it's all over twitter and the social sphere. one writing, wow, osama bin laden is dead. god bless our military. martha spoke to that a moment ago on the plane as she went to travel overseas wondering how
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the troops must be feeling as we go into the evening hours here, reporting this. somebody else writing, nearly a decade after the 9/11 attack, osama bin laden is finally dead. someone else simply writes, oh, my god, osama bin laden dead, finally justice. this country reacting already. >> there will be immense -- i want to go to mike in kabul, impedestrian bi imbedded with the troops. there's going to be an electric reaction as they find out. >> absolutely. i just left kunar province just a couple of days ago, and in one operation we lost six soldiers. we have video of that we shot at abc. the soldiers kept charging on. they kept charging on for the soldier to the right and left. a lot of times when you're out there, you lose your buddies in the field, you know, they ask questions, you know, what are we doing? now, bin laden is dead. i can't tell you the impact that is going to have on troops out
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there. it's going to be tremendous because they have made so many sacrifices. the terrain on the border alone is enough to kill somebody. they were going after taliban and al qaeda operatives, operating on that border. and this operation we were on took nine days. and as i said, six were killed. people were exhausted at the end of it. these soldiers have just now left to go home. they've been transferred out. and i can tell you, it will have a great impact on them as they reflect on that sacrifice that they did here in afghanistan. >> mike, it comes in such an important time in afghanistan as taliban expected to launch a major offensive. >> reporter: well, yes, george. that is of grave concern here. yesterday they said they were beginning their spring offensive. now, what is of great concern here is suicide bombers. there is a reported in a
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province south of here that a 12-year-old strapped with explosives detonated a suicide vest, killed himself and others. have i videotaped i obtained just recently of a 14-year-old girl wearing a burqa, sitting with her father saying she he trained with others in pakistan for suicide attacks. a young boy was arrested in pakistan before he could blow up his vest, and he said he trained with 350 others in a camp in north waziristan, which is that outlaw province that even the pakistanis will not go into, that he trained with 350 other suicide bombers. what we're concerned about here is the reaction, the onslaught. the reaction here and in pakistan. i was in pakistan earlier this year. there is a huge amount of anti-american sentiment. we're going to brace ourselves here. we're preparing ourselves here
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for the reaction that might occur. it's not going to be the same reaction you get in the united states. >> not at all. president obama about to speak. we're standing by waiting for president obama to address the nation tonight from the white house as you look at pictures of ground zero in new york city. everyone remembers where they were that day, 9/11/2001, two planes going into the world trade center, ordered by osama bin laden. >> he boasted he was the only one who thought that would succeed and bring down the towers, not to mention the flight that attacked the pentagon and the flight that was brought down by the passengers outside pennsylvania, flight 93. >> jake tapper, the white house -- lights on everywhere right now. this is a day so many thought would not come at the white house. he had been the focus of george w. bush's white house, now of president obama. real, real excitement behind the scenes there tonight. >> that's right.
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they've been in the situation room since late morning today i'm told. vice president biden reached out to some members of the republican leadership -- vice president biden has been checking with leadership of congress -- >> okay, jake, thanks very much. sorry, we had some audio trouble right there. he was just talking about brian ross bringing the leadership of congress. they were notified this evening as well. in just the last couple of hours, as the white house became sure that osama bin laden had been captured. >> one issue, as you know, george, with wr there's very little partisanship. republicans and democrats do anything possible to get bin laden. no doubt this was symbolic and beyond that key victory in going after al qaeda to capture or kill bin laden. no one thought they'd have a chance to capture him, but they certainly made every effort to
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kill him and those around him. this success tonight is a ringing success. a major victory. >> a huge success for the american military, american intelligence. we just received a two-minute warning. he'll be speaking shortly from the white house. president obama will address the nation to say that osama bin laden has been killed. reports it happened several days ago, that he was in a fight with u.s. ground forces, that the body of osama bin laden has been checked, the dna has been double-checked. united states is sure. president obama would not be coming out to address the nation if he was not sure that public enemy number one, the man united states has been going after since 9/11, $25 million bounty on his head, the face of evil for so many americans, the man responsible for the 9/11 attacks has been killed, osama bin laden has been killed. his body is in the united states custody. and president obama will be addressing the nation in just a minute. >> absolutely. and the significance of this for
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law enforcement as pierre has reported, now to keep an eye on, will there be reaction? those people who were planning attacks use this as a signal to go ahead? this comes as a year to the day when a young man tried to blow up a truck bomb in times square. he was unsuccessful but he was inspired by the message of bin laden. there are others like him out there. >> since then, al qaeda has not been able to carry out the more spectacular attack they were hoping for after 9/11. >> that's right. there's been no big attack like 9/11. they tried and tried. they shifted tactics to go for a series of small attacks that would have a psychological effect on the public and keep america and the west on guard. >> president obama had declared in the campaign he would make osama bin laden his number one target, that he would not rest, that he would put even more resources into going after osama bin laden than had been put into the hunt by george w. bush's white house.
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as we approach the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, we have learned osama bin laden has been killed. as we wait for president obama to address the nation, i want to go quickly to martha raddatz. i think martha might have gone away for a moment. richard clark, are you with us? >> yes, george, i am. >> if i could just talk about the -- what had gone into the effort. you're the head of counterterrorism at the white house for so many years, to target bin laden. >> well, there were attempts to kill him beginning in 1998 when president clinton put his name on a hit list and the cia was ordered to do that inside afghanistan. that didn't work. there was an attempt to get him by u.s. forces when we invaded under president bush in october of 2001. that didn't work. and he was able to escape into pakistan. and it appears from where he was captured, where he was killed, that he may have been in
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pakistan all of these last ten years in that wild outback area where american forces had a very, very difficult time going. that's why the predators were so key in flushing him out. but it sounds like, perhaps, the u.s. forces went across the border to get him. clearly the u.s. force hs to go across at least to get the body. that does mean there will be a reaction in pakistan. of course, i think that's inconsequenti inconsequential. this is exactly what president obama said he would do, he would go across the line into pakistan to get a high-value target. that was a controversial thing when he said it during the campaign. both republicans and democrats criticized him, but he meant it when he said it and he obviously ordered it to happen. >> pierre thomas, you cover the justice department, fbi, bin laden had been in their sights for some years. are you getting any information on how this may have gone down? >> my sources are saying what we've reported.
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military/intelligence, not law enforcement involved. i do have a source confirming they do have the body. we believe a law enforcement agency, probably the fbi, did do the dna analysis. now, one of the things that's very important here is that the u.s. government has made bin laden the focus. i can tell you, the attorney general, the fbi director, homeland security secretary all make terrorism the number one thing they do every day. >> okay, thank you, pieier. i wa i want to go to john karl. they have started to get briefed? >> they have. i've been talking to national security sources. the key thing that i've learned is that this was an attack on the ground. that u.s. joint special operations command forces went in, did this attack on a compound. the compound they had been monitoring for months. they thought they had a good line on where bin laden was for
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months. wanted to be absolutely sure and wanted to go in on the ground, george, which as you can imagine what kind of a dangerous operation this would have been. they wanted to do this so they could get the body so there would be no doubt they had killed bin laden. so, this was not like so many of other attacks we've seen on al qaeda targets in pakistan over the last few years. which had been drone strikes from the air. this was an attack on the ground by u.s. special operations. >> there is no doubt now, president obama will address the nation shortly. jake tapper, at the white house, a remarkable scene now. a couple of hundred people starting to gather, singing the star-spangled banner, chanting usa, usa, usa. the reaction already coming in. >> that's exactly right. you might remember, this was a similar outpouring after 9/11 of people coming together and singing the national anthem. of course, it was a different mood. this is more jubilation. the jubilation outside the white house with tourists gathering, chanting, usa, singing the national anthem is not unlike
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the jubilation here at the white house with aides and officials huddling in the situation room since late morning. president obama, of course, about to address the nation. we're told a few more details to add to what others have said. bin laden was killed at a mansion in pakistan. this was a human mission. he was shot. the u.s. has the body. as we've talked about the important of the u.s. making sure this was osama bin laden with dna evidence. there is some real joy at the white house, both inside and as you see on the streets of pennsylvania avenue, outside the white house. tourists, washatonians coming together to celebrate the death of this man who cost so many americans their lives. >> and that is a remarkable scene right now. we're looking outside the white house right now. the american flag being whatevered by a crowd. just beginning to gather as they learn the news that osama bin laden has been kil


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