Osama bin Laden has been killed and his body has been recovered by U.S. authorities in Afghanistan.
President Barack Obama's televised address from the White House included, in part, "Shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the
director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top
priority of our war against Al Qaeda. 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 and 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
in a compound deep inside Pakistan. And 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 Abbottabad, 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 causalities.
After a firefight they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body. The death of bin Laden marks the most significance achievement
to date in our nations effort to defeat Al Qaeda."
The president reiterated that this war is, in no way, a war
with Islam, and that bin Laden was not a religious leader, describing him as a mass murderer,
and that his victims included many Muslims. The President continued, "So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace
and human dignity."
"Tonight we are once again reminded that American can do whatever
we set out mind to," the President continued. "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 word 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."
Authorities have been searching for the terrorist leader since the September 1, 2001, attacks. Capturing or killing Osama bin Laden fulfills a goal first set by President George W. Bush.