As you've likely heard, Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden was killed during a firefight with American forces in Pakistan on Sunday. Above, President Obama and his national security team wait for updates from the operation. Here's the latest news:
10:45 p.m. ET update:
- The New York Times has, so far, the best recounting of the long hunt for Bin Laden, and the mission that killed him. Some tidbits from the article: President Obama rejected bombing the compound, preferring the much more risky shooting mission so the White House could be certain "whether Bin Laden was really hit"; the mission was jeopardized by the imprisonment of CIA officer Raymond Davis in Pakistan; Bin Laden "resisted" before being shot; one of his wives identified his body and a Navy SEAL took a picture to scan through facial recognition software; and, before leaving, the commandos blew up a malfunctioning helicopter to prevent it from "fall[ing] into the wrong hands."
- This is something that cannot be said enough: the intelligence that eventually led to Bin Laden's location was garnered "under standard interrogation," and not during a water boarding session. Okay? Don't let anyone tell you that torture "worked," here.
- The AP has been hustling all night to get new information, including the gross fact that Bin Laden "was shot above his left eye, blowing away part of his skull," according to one U.S. official.
- According to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D - Calif.), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Bin Laden had been living in that crib for "up to six years." (Like everyone else, he bought property during the housing boom.)
- The courier through whom the CIA tracked down Bin Laden has been identified as Kuwaiti-born Sheikh Abu Ahmed, a "shadowy figure," who "took many years to identify." He was killed in the raid.
- President Obama, at a White House dinner with a bunch of members of Congress, said it was his "fervent hope" that they could "harness" some of the national pride seen after Bin Laden's death "to confront the many challenges that we face." LOL. Good luck with that, bro.
- Speaking of LOLs: Muslim-hating congressman Rep. Peter King (R - N.Y.), chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, missed a Sunday-night text message telling him to call the White House—a call that would have informed him of Bin Laden's death. His excuse: "I had the phone on vibrate because I was at the kickboxing match at the Glo nightclub in Westbury." Of course.
- More details have emerged about the firefight that ended in Bin Laden's death: The woman who died in the firefight was not the terrorist's wife, despite reports he had used her as a human shield; Bin Laden died of two gunshot wounds—one to the head and one to the chest—and, according to CNN, did not use a weapon. All in all, 5 people died in the operation (22 were in the compound), which ended with the coded message "Geronimo-E KIA." Uncomfortable historical echoes, anyone?
- The White House has released several photos of President Obama and his national security team yesterday, both during and after the mission. The photo above—taken by White House photographer Pete Souza—shows the president and company watching The Crying Game. Psych! That's the team receiving "an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden."
- Speaking of photographs: The White House still hasn't decided whether or not to make photographs of Bin Laden's body available to the public, but the AP reports that the Pentagon will release video of the terrorist leader's burial at sea.
- That same burial at sea, unsurprisingly, remains controversial, with Muslim clerics debating (as clerics are wont to do) over its permissibility, and various idiots on Facebook and Twitter implying that the sea burial is a cover-up.
- The Pakistani military and security services, meanwhile, are facing hard questions about how Bin Laden could have hidden in their actual backyard for years. Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan says it's "inconceivable" he had no Pakistani support, but The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg writes that it's "completely plausible... that Bin Laden was hiding in plain sight... without the knowledge of... senior military officials in Abbottabad." Steve Coll of The New Yorker believes that it's "more likely... that bin Laden was effectively being housed under Pakistani state control." (He also, speaking of Pakistan's nuclear capabilities, describes the country as "the A.I.G. of nation-states.") The Pakistani ambassador denies any culpability on the part of his government, pointing out that the FBI has yet to capture notorious mobster Whitey Bulger. (To be fair, Bulger is not as tall as Bin Laden.)
- The president is visiting Ground Zero! Someone should tell him the party ended last night.
- "Killing Osama: Was It Legal?" Jeffrey Toobin asks, and then doesn't really answer, because who wants to be the killjoy talking about "international law" and "extralegal assassinations"? (The answer seems to be "sort of, probably.")
- This Broadcasting & Cable article, about CNN "scrambling" to figure out what was going on, is fun. Not as fun as if it were an Aaron Sorkin show, but, that's real life for you.
- Looking to throw some cold water on your jubilation? From the right, may we suggest Daniel Larison? And from the left, Chris Hedges, Freddie De Boer and Falguni Sheth? Or, you could just search Openbook for various racial slurs.
- Finally, here is a song called "Osama Bin Laden Is Dead" by the 50 Cent-affiliated rapper Hot Rod. Think L.A. Style? But, uh, not.
More of Gawker's Osama Bin Laden Coverage
Bin Laden, Like Tupac, Continues to Drop New Tapes After His Death
Was Bin Laden's Death Planned to Distract From Obama's Birth Certificate?
Sometimes a Little Bloodlust is in Order
The Celebrations of Osama bin Laden's Death That You Missed
IT Consultant Unknowingly Live-Tweets Bin Laden Raid
Watch Obama's Historic Announcement on the Death of Bin Laden
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