Nearly ten years since the terrorist attacks on 9/11, it has been confirmed that President Obama will make an announcement shortly that the mastermind of that attack, Osama bin Laden, is dead. BBC adds that "The US is in possession of Bin Laden's body." You can watch a live feed of the announcement here.President Obama just announced: "Tonight I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden." [Video below]
As many people are noting, today is the 8th anniversary of President Bush's 'Mission Accomplished' speech. We wrote about the 5th anniversary here, and you can read more about the strange anniversary here. ABC reporter John Berman explains in a tweet how bin Laden's body may have been identified: "Amazing fact vis Brian Ross: years ago US subpoenaed brain from deceased Bin Laden sister...in order to make DNA match when necessary."
According to CNN, around 9:30 pm, the major news organizations were informed that the President would be making a rare Sunday evening statement about national security. According to MSNBC: "Will be speaking about a "Serious and grave CIA operation happening overseas." Wolf Blitzer of CNN is calling it "an extremely dramatic statement." NY Times reporter Brian Stelter just tweeted: "NYT NEWS ALERT: Osama bin Laden Is Dead, White House Says." According to the news wire: "osama bin laden is dead, and has been for over a week, was killed by a US bomb."
Update: NBC 's Chuck Todd claims that small group is cheering outside White House and sang "We are the champions." Tzvi Twersky tweets this tidbit: "Want to see amazing? Turn on ESPN and watch the Phillies-Mets. Players are dumbfounded as to why fans are chanting 'USA.'"
Update: ABC says it was a human mission with Navy Seals, and bin Laden was shot in a mansion. President Obama just announced that the operation took place in Pakistan earlier today, and bin Laden was killed "after a firefight." No civilians were killed, no U.S. soldiers were killed. But Reuters adds that, "U.S. official says believes Osama bin Laden's adult son, two other adults killed during raid on his compound." CNN says one woman was also killed, because she was used "as a shield" by one of bin Laden's men.
More quotes from President Obama's speech below:
- "Osama was not a Muslim leader, he was a mass murderer of Muslims."
- "The United States is not at war with Islam."
- “On nights like this one, we can say that justice has been done.’’
- “Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11, that we have never forgotten your loss."
NBC's Chuck Todd just added: "One of the most significant, if not THE most significant, accomplishment for this president in this term."
Update: The NY Times writes: "President Obama said that on Sunday, a small team of U.S. operatives launched a “targeted assault’’ on a compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad where months of intelligence work had established that Mr. Bin Laden was living. Mr. Bin Laden was killed after a firefight, and the troops took custody of his body."
Lexi Mainland just tweeted: "Just arrived at ground zero, where sirens are blaring and clapping and cheers are erupting."
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly's reaction: "The death of Osama Bin Laden is a welcome milestone for the friends and families of those killed on 9/11."
Former President George W. Bush made this statement:
Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me that American forces killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al Qaeda network that attacked America on September 11, 2001. 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. This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.
Mayor Bloomberg's statement is below:
After September 11, 2001, we gave our word as Americans that we would stop at nothing to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. After the contribution of millions, including so many who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, we have kept that word.
The killing of Osama bin Laden does not lessen the suffering that New Yorkers and Americans experienced at his hands, but it is a critically important victory for our nation - and a tribute to the millions of men and women in our armed forces and elsewhere who have fought so hard for our nation.
New Yorkers have waited nearly ten years for this news. It is my hope that it will bring some closure and comfort to all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY) on ABC: "I give President Obama tremendous credit for this. He deserves it." The NY Times has bin Laden's very long obituary here. They dub him in the headline, "the most wanted face of terrorism." Here is Reuters take on bin Laden, the "9/11 author who defied Bush, Obama."
Dave Weigel tweeted this photo from outside the White House tonight, sometime after midnight. According to Times reporter Brian Stelter, "In Times Square now. Flags, cameras in the air. "The Star Spangled Banner" is being sung by the crowd." And there are also reports coming in from Ground Zero: Paula Froelich tweets, "Crowd at GZ jubilant.... Scenes like end of ww2.. Kissing in the street... Feel bad for tavis/cars stuck (for hours) below GZ on church." AIUU2 tweeted this dramatic photo of an American flag being raised above the crowd.
And you can read the full transcript of President Obama's speech tonight here.