Thursday, May 5, 2011

NYTIMES: Account Tells of One-Sided Battle in Bin Laden Raid

Duh. When Bin Laden is relaxing in his protected house in Pakistan, why would there be an even battle with 20 Elite Navy Seals? They came, they saw and they killed. Nothing wrong with that decision.

The new details suggested that the raid, though chaotic and bloody, was extremely one-sided, with a force of more than 20 Navy Seal members quickly dispatching the handful of men protecting Bin Laden.

Administration officials said that the only shots fired by those in the compound came at the beginning of the operation, when Bin Laden’s trusted courier, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, opened fire from behind the door of the guesthouse adjacent to the house where Bin Laden was hiding.

After the Seal members shot and killed Mr. Kuwaiti and a woman in the guesthouse, the Americans were never fired upon again.

This account differs from an official version of events issued by the Pentagon on Tuesday, and read by the White House spokesman, Jay Carney, which said the Seal members “were engaged in a firefight throughout the operation.”

In a television interview on PBS on Tuesday, Leon E. Panetta, the director of the C.I.A., said, “There were some firefights that were going on as these guys were making their way up the staircase of that compound.”

Administration officials said the official account of events has changed over the course of the week because it has taken time to get thorough after-action reports from the Seal team. And, they added, because the Special Operations troops had been fired upon as soon as they touched down in the compound, they were under the assumption that everyone inside was armed.

“They were in a threatening and hostile environment the entire time,” one American official said.

When the commandos moved into the main house, they saw the courier’s brother, who they believed was preparing to fire a weapon. They shot and killed him. Then, as they made their way up the stairs of the house, officials said they killed Bin Laden’s son Khalid as he lunged toward the Seal team.

When the commandos reached the top floor, they entered a room and saw Osama bin Laden with an AK-47 and a Makarov pistol in arm’s reach. They shot and killed him, as well as wounding a woman with him.

The firefight over and Bin Laden dead, the team found a trove of information and had the time to remove much of it: about 100 thumb drives, DVDs and computer disks, along with 10 computer hard drives and 5 computers. There were also piles of paper documents in the house.

Now do a story on how the White House is mucking up the story enough that they can't help but cause conspiracy theories.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Wash Post: Finding out Bin Laden's courier helped locate Osama Bin Laden.

So far the most detailed version. Notice the use of detainees and other assorted techniques that caused some people heartache.

The operation, according to senior officials who briefed reporters early Monday morning, hinged almost entirely on the hunt for a single man: a courier operating out of Pakistan who had been trusted by bin Laden for years.

Using information from detainees in U.S. custody, U.S. analysts and operatives spent years figuring out the courier’s identity, concluding that he was a former protege of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-declared mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks who is being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The courier “in particular had our constant attention,” the official said.

Detainees “identified this man as one of the few al-Qaeda couriers trusted by bin Laden, indicated he might be living with or protecting bin Laden,” the official said. But for years, the United States was unable to track him down or uncover his real name, which did not happen until four years ago. Two years ago, U.S. officials narrowed down the region in Pakistan where the courier was working, senior administration officials said.

Then, in August, U.S. officials found the compound that turned out to be bin Laden’s hiding spot. It was described as an extraordinary place, custom-made for him, with 12- to 18-foot security walls, multiple interior walls dividing the property and massive privacy walls blocking even a third-story balcony. Despite being valued at $1 million, the property had no Internet or phone service, the official said.

“When we saw the compound . . . we were shocked by what we saw,” the official told reporters, describing it as “an extraordinarily unique compound,” built perhaps in 2005 and expressly for bin Laden. “Everything we saw . . . was perfectly consistent with what our experts expected bin Laden’s hideout to look like.”

By mid-February, Obama determined that there was sound intelligence for pursuing the lead, a senior administration official said, and he gave a final order to pursue the military operation on the morning of April 29.

“Today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people,” Obama said. “The cause of securing our country is not complete, but tonight we are once again reminded that America can do whatever it is we set our mind to. That is the story of our history.”

The Obama administration is considering burying bin Laden’s body at sea, to prevent the creation of a shrine to the al-Qaeda leader, an administration official said.