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Bin Laden wives found in compound, one used as human shield

Bin Laden wives: During the night attack on Osama bin Laden, one of his wives was reportedly used as a human shield to protect bin Laden from US commandos' fire.

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Obama hailed the pride of those who broke joined overnight celebrations as the stunning news spread around the globe. Crowds celebrated throughout the night outside the White House and at ground zero in Lower Manhattan where the Twin Towers once stood. Obama was planning to visit there Thursday and meet with the families of those killed nearly 10 years ago, an administration official said.

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Both Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said cooperation from the Pakistani government had helped lead U.S. forces to the compound where he died. But a cloud of suspicion hangs over Pakistan, where authorities have routinely denied bin Laden was in the country. U.S. officials, however, said the sprawling bin Laden compound, with its elaborate security and high walls, was built in 2005, apparently to serve as the terrorist leader's safe house.

Unanswered is the obvious question of how bin Laden could have gone unnoticed just down the road from the country's equivalent of the U.S. military academy at West Point, New York, in a town swarming with military and intelligence personnel.

"People have been referring to this as hiding in plain sight," Obama's counterterrorism chief John Brennan told reporters Monday. "Clearly, this was something that was considered as a possibility. Pakistan is a large country. We are looking right now at how he was able to hold out there for so long and whether or not there was any type of support system within Pakistan that allowed him to stay there."

Others were more blunt.

Sen. Carl Levin, Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the Pakistani Army and intelligence agency "have a lot of questions to answer, given the location, the length of time and the apparent fact that this was actually — this facility was actually built for bin Laden, and its closeness to the central location of the Pakistani army."

In addition to bin Laden, one of his sons, Khalid, was killed in the raid, Brennan said. Bin Laden's wife was shot in the calf but survived, a U.S. official said. Also killed were two of bin Laden's al-Qaida facilitators, including the one who was apparently listed as the owner of the residence, Brennan said.

Twenty-three children and nine women were in the compound at the time of the assault and were turned over to Pakistani authorities, said a U.S. official who requested anonymity to discuss an intelligence matter. The SEAL team believes Bin Laden had lived at the compound for six years, the official said.

Obama gave preliminary orders for the attack on Friday shortly before flying to Alabama to inspect tornado damage, and aides set to work on the details. He gave the final directive Sunday. Brennan called it one of the "gutsiest calls of any president in recent memory."

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