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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Brennan said the president and his national security team monitored the raid from the White House Situation Room and expressed relief that elite forces had finally gotten bin Laden without losing any more American lives.Skip to next paragraph
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"It was probably one of the most anxiety-filled periods of time in the lives of the people who were assembled here," Brennan said. "The minutes passed like days."
Brennan strongly suggested a live video feed had been available — SEALs customarily have video cameras attached to their helmets — and the White House released a photo showing the commander in chief, Vice President Joe Biden and top aides staring intently at something outside the picture. The White House did not say what they were looking at.
Obama on Monday reaped accolades from world leaders he'd kept in the dark about the operation as well as plaudits from political opponents at home. Republican and Democratic congressional leaders alike gave him a standing ovation at an evening meeting that was planned before the assault but became a celebration of its success.
The dramatic developments came just months ahead of the 10-year anniversary of the hijacked-airliner assaults on the United States. Those attacks took nearly 3,000 lives, led the U.S. into war in Afghanistan and Iraq and forever pierced the notion that the most powerful country on earth could not be hit on such a ferocious scale.
U.S. officials said the information that ultimately led to bin Laden's capture originally came from detainees held in secret CIA prison sites in Eastern Europe. There, agency interrogators were told of an alias used by a courier whom bin Laden particularly trusted.
It took four long years to learn he was a Kuwaiti-born man named Sheikh Abu Ahmed, then years more before investigators got a big break in the case, these officials said. Sometime in mid-2010, Ahmed was overheard using a phone by intelligence officials, who then were able to locate his residence — a specially constructed $1 million compound with walls as high as 18 feet (5.5 meters) topped with barbed wire.
By mid-February, intelligence from multiple sources was clear enough that Obama wanted to pursue action, a senior administration official said. Over the next two and a half months, the president led five meetings of the National Security Council focused solely on whether bin Laden was in that compound and, if so, how to get him, the official said.