Officials: Bin Laden's son-in-law captured
This frame grab from the Saudi-owned television network MBC shows Suleiman Abu Ghaith.
March 7th, 2013
12:14 PM ET

Officials: Bin Laden's son-in-law captured

[Updated at 3:28 p.m. ET] Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, who has served as an al Qaeda spokesman, was captured and has been brought to the United States, two administration officials and a federal law enforcement official said Thursday.

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith is being held in New York, and will appear in court Friday to face federal charges, the law enforcement official said.

A sealed indictment lays out charges against him, the administration officials said.

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September 11th, 2012
02:56 PM ET

Panetta suggests bin Laden book author could be penalized

A former Navy SEAL who wrote a book about his personal account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden could be penalized for not first seeking military approval of its contents before publication, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said.
"I think we have to take steps to make clear to him and to the American people that we're not going to accept this kind of behavior," Panetta told CBS' "This Morning" program, which broadcast the interview on Tuesday.
"If we don't, then everybody else who pledges to ensure that that doesn't happen is going to get the wrong signal that somehow they can do it without any penalty," Panetta said.
Newly published "No Easy Day" was written by Matt Bissonnette under the pseudonym Mark Owen. The book was not pre-approved by the Pentagon.

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Filed under: Leon Panetta • Osama bin Laden
September 10th, 2012
11:07 AM ET

I didn't recognize bin Laden, SEAL who wrote 'No Easy Day' says

The new book "No Easy Day" by former U.S. Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette, who wrote under the name Mark Owen, gained widespread attention because of his firsthand account of how he and other members of SEAL Team Six killed Osama bin Laden.

On Sunday night, Bissonnette shared more of the intimate details of the mission in an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes."

Bissonnette wore heavy makeup and his voice was disguised as he described what he said was not just a "kill-only" mission, but a chance to capture the mastermind of the September 11 attacks alive, if possible.

FIRST ON CNN: Pentagon double checked actions of SEALs during bin Laden raid

"We weren't sent in to murder him. This was, 'Hey, kill or capture,'" he told interviewer Scott Pelley.  Bissonnette said that in the weeks leading up to the mission, the SEALs trained on a full-size model of the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where they would eventually kill bin Laden. It was rare, Bissonnette said, to get 100 chances to train on a mock-up like that for three weeks.

Bissonnette said that while it was the most important mission he would ever be a part of, much of what the team members did was routine, until the moment they could finally exhale, knowing they had killed their biggest target.

Below are some of the most interesting exchanges between Bissonnette and Pelley, according to CBS transcripts, about the preparation for the mission, the raid itself and his reaction to it all when it was finally over.

On how they cleared the house as they hunted for bin Laden after taking early fire:

Matt Bissonnette: Guys start making their way up the stairs. And it's quiet. It's pitch black in the house. No lights. All night vision. Get to the second floor. Intel had said, "Hey, we think that Khalid, his son, lives on the second floor."

Scott Pelley: This is Osama bin Laden's son?

Bissonnette: Yeah. The guy in front of me who is point man, he sees the head pop out and disappear really quick around the corner. He's like, "OK, you know, what who is it? What do you think?" "Yeah, I don't know." He literally whispers, not amped up, not yelling, not anything. He whispers, "Hey, Khalid. Khalid." He whispers Khalid's name. Doesn't know if it's Khalid or not. Khalid literally looks back around the edge of the hall. And he shoots him. What was Khalid thinking at that time? Look around the corner. Curiosity killed the cat. I guess Khalid too.

Pelley: Somebody started shooting at you from inside the house? And the bullets were coming through the door?

Bissonnette: Yep. Immediately, my buddy who was standing up started returning fire. I could yeah, I kind of rolled away from the door, blindly returned fire back through. You couldn't see what was on the other side. And then it went quiet. Thankfully, the SEAL that was there with me, that initially returned fire with me spoke Arabic. So he immediately started calling out to the people inside. Started hearing the metal latch on the inside of the door. Are they gonna come out with a suicide vest? Are they gonna throw a hand grenade out? Are they gonna, you know, spray their AK? Door opens up, a female holding a kid, couple kids right behind her.

Pelley: You got your finger on your trigger and you're looking at a woman with her children?

Bissonnette: Yeah, yeah. Split second. I mean, we had just received fire. My buddy's speaking Arabic. And he's asking her, you know, "Hey, where's your husband? What's going on?" She and and she replies back to him, "He's dead. You shot him."

On how they killed bin Laden,  but weren't sure it was him:

Pelley: Khalid is dead on this landing. The point man is stepping past Khalid. And now, you're No. 2 in the stack. You're right behind the point man?

Bissonnette: Yep. I'm kinda trying to look around him. Hear him take a couple shots. Kind of see a head somebody disappear back into the room.

FULL POST

August 30th, 2012
11:48 AM ET

Buzz ramps up over SEAL's bin Laden book

It’s already No. 1 on Amazon’s bestseller list.

Like little kids with the latest Harry Potter sequel, Washington and the rest of the world will be eagerly thumbing through “No Easy Day” when it hits bookshelves Tuesday. The memoir of a Navy SEAL who helped kill Osama bin Laden in May 2011 purports to tell the full story of how the globe’s most-wanted terrorist met his end.

Mentions of the book's author spiked on Twitter on Thursday morning, as did the term "Navy SEAL book." About 4,500 mentions were made by mid-morning. The book was mentioned more than 8,000 times on August 22, when news broke of its release.

Carl Carver tweeted, "This sort of thing is NOT healing relations in Middle East, predicted as the starting point of WWIII !"

"It seems like once a year since I graduated college I get super excited for a book release, this year No Easy Day by Mark Owen is that book," Drake Stahr tweeted.

The RangerUp fan page on Facebook, a popular spot for military folks, had a range of comments.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Al Qaeda • Alaska • Navy SEALs • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan • September 11 • Taliban • Terrorism • U.S. • War • World
May 31st, 2012
09:39 AM ET

Pakistani Taliban vows to kill bin Laden doctor

The Pakistani Taliban vowed on Thursday to kill Shakeel Afridi, the jailed Pakistani doctor accused of helping the CIA in the search for Osama bin Laden, a spokesman for the militant group told CNN.

"We will cut him into pieces when we find him," Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told CNN by phone. "He spied for the U.S. to hunt down our hero Osama bin Laden."

Pakistani officials say Afridi is being held in a prison in the city of Peshawar in northwest Pakistan.

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Filed under: Osama bin Laden • Pakistan
Overheard on CNN.com: Bin Laden's less-than-flattering assessment of Biden
Readers debated Osama bin Laden's comments about Vice President Joe Biden in recently released letters.
May 4th, 2012
07:51 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Bin Laden's less-than-flattering assessment of Biden

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

After the release of several Osama bin Laden documents, CNN took a look at the documents and asked readers to share their thoughts. CNN posted analysis on the Security Clearance blog, and we featured some of the comments:

Readers' fiery reaction to bin Laden letters

One of the more interesting conversations that emerged (among many, many topics) was about a remark that bin Laden made about Vice President Joe Biden.

Bin Laden said he wanted to kill President Barack Obama and Gen. David Petraeus. But Vice President Joseph Biden should not be attacked, he instructed. "Biden is totally unprepared for that post." If Obama were killed and Biden took control of the White House, bin Laden wrote, it would "lead the U.S. into a crisis." If Petraeus were killed, he reasoned, it would alter the course of the war.

Bin Laden's letters reveal a terrorist losing control

Readers talked about Biden. Many said they sort of agreed with bin Laden's assessment, albeit reluctantly.

toadears: "Wow. Scary to think that even this nut job knew Biden wasn't a good choice."

Others didn't see things that way.

Bill Pranty: "Actually, Biden's foreign policy experience would have served him well. Especially compared to the Texas Cowboy (George W. Bush), who ceded the presidency to Dick Cheney."

Just a bit of humor for some. FULL POST

May 3rd, 2012
10:31 AM ET

Bin Laden documents published online

The United States published several documents online Thursday that it seized during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan last year.

The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point published the papers on its website.

They are among the more than 6,000 documents U.S. Navy SEALs seized during their raid on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011. Among the revelations from that larger batch of documents is that bin Laden worked until his death to organize another massive terrorist attack in the United States, even while steering affiliated groups away from using the terror network's name so they would not attract as many enemies.

The documents were found on the five computers, dozens of hard drives and more than 100 storage devices, such as thumb drives and discs, confiscated from the compound after bin Laden was killed.

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Obama in Afghanistan: U.S. must 'end this war responsibly'
President Barack Obama is greeted at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, shortly after landing at about 10:20 p.m. local time Tuesday.
May 1st, 2012
07:43 PM ET

Obama in Afghanistan: U.S. must 'end this war responsibly'

[Update, 7:43 p.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, said in a U.S.-televised address that "the goal that I set to defeat al Qaeda and deny it the chance to rebuild is now within our reach."

By the end of 2014, Afghans will be fully responsible for the security of their country, he said.

"I will not keep Americans in harm's way a single day longer than is required for our security, but we must finish the job we started in Afghanistan and end this war responsibly," Obama said.

Obama's remarks came during a previously unannounced visit to Afghanistan. He arrived late Tuesday night.

During the visit, Obama and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement that outlines cooperation between their countries after the withdrawal of U.S.-led international forces in 2014.

[Update, 4:07 p.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement that outlines cooperation between their countries after the withdrawal of U.S.-led international forces in 2014.

[Update, 3:17 p.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama made a previously unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Tuesday, the first anniversary of the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden in neighboring Pakistan.

On his third trip to Afghanistan since taking office, Obama will meet with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and make a televised address from Afghanistan at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Tuesday's visit comes at a particularly delicate time in relations between the United States and Afghanistan. The countries have been negotiating a strategic agreement that would outline the basis for U.S.-Afghan cooperation after most U.S. and allied troops withdraw in 2014.

Obama and Karzai are expected to sign the agreement on Tuesday.

More than 130,000 troops from 50 countries serve in Afghanistan, according to the NATO-led International Security and Assistance Force. The United States is the biggest contributor, providing around 90,000 troops, followed by the United Kingdom (9,500), Germany (4,800) and France (3,600).

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Al Qaeda • Barack Obama • Osama bin Laden • Politics
April 26th, 2012
03:16 PM ET

Bin Laden's formerly detained relatives leaving Pakistan

All family members of Osama bin Laden who had been detained are leaving Pakistan for Saudi Arabia on Thursday night, said an attorney for some of the family members.

A judge had ordered earlier this month that the terrorist mastermind's three widows and two daughters be deported after serving their sentence for living illegally in Pakistan.

The relatives were in Pakistani custody since U.S. Navy SEALs raided bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad and killed the al Qaeda leader in May 2011.

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April 18th, 2012
12:58 AM ET

Bin Laden widows, daughters face deportation from Pakistan

Osama bin Laden's three widows and two daughters could be deported from Pakistan on Wednesday after their period of house detention expired overnight.

A Pakistani judge ordered earlier this month that the five women be deported back to their countries of citizenship after serving their sentence for living illegally in Pakistan.

The 45-day detention period ended Tuesday night, said Aamir Khalil, the widows' lawyer. But he said he had no information on when they would be deported.

The widows - identified by U.S. and Pakistani officials as Amal Ahmed Abdul Fateh, Khairiah Sabar and Siham Sabar - have been in Pakistani custody since U.S. Navy SEALs raided bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad and killed the al Qaeda leader in May 2011.

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Filed under: Osama bin Laden • Pakistan • Saudi Arabia • Yemen
April 9th, 2012
09:30 PM ET

CNN prime time: Rare look at bin Laden widows, Syrian deadline looms

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First look at bin Laden's widows

Video has surfaced from Pakistan showing Osama bin Laden's widows in house detention. CNN's Nic Robertson reports.

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Martin family lawyer on grand jury

A lawyer for the family of Trayvon Martin talks about the state attorney's decision not to bring the case to the grand jury.

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Rice: Blood is on hands of China, Russia

Ambassador Susan Rice stresses the need for China and Russia to use their influence to put an end to Syrian violence.

April 2nd, 2012
12:31 AM ET

Bin Laden's widows expected to be charged in Pakistan

Three widows of Osama bin Laden are expected to be charged Monday with living illegally in Pakistan, an offense that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The three women - identified by U.S. and Pakistani officials as Amal Ahmed Abdul Fateh, Khairiah Sabar and Siham Sabar - have been in Pakistani custody since U.S. Navy SEALs raided bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad and killed the al Qaeda leader in May 2011.

Pakistani authorities have started legal proceedings against the widows, alleging forgery and illegal entrance into Pakistan. The charges are expected to be filed Monday, said a source familiar with the widows' case.

The source said the Yemeni government has expressed readiness to let Fateh, bin Laden's youngest widow, return home. Saudi Arabia, where the other two women are from, has been more resistant.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan • Terrorism
2011: Controversial figures meet their demise
Newspaper headlines announce the death of Osama Bin Laden on May 2, 2011.
December 27th, 2011
05:23 AM ET
October 12th, 2011
01:38 PM ET

In latest video message, al Qaeda leader calls for Islamic law in Libya

In his latest video, al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri congratulated the Libyan people on their victory against dictator Moammar Gadhafi but warned them against Western manipulation as they forge ahead in building a new nation.

Osama bin Laden's successor said Libyans should move quickly to establish Sharia, or Islamic law.

"Be careful of the plots of the West and its agents as you are building your new state and do not allow them to trick you and steal your sacrifices and suffering," al-Zawahiri said in the video posted on Islamist websites. "And be sure to take the first, most important step for reform and apply Sharia.

"If the West talks about extremists and militants, they are talking about the honest and the free who defend their religion, sanctities, families and countries," he said.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Algeria • Libya • Osama bin Laden • Terrorism • World
October 6th, 2011
02:20 PM ET

Pakistan to charge doctor who helped U.S. find bin Laden with treason

A commission is recommending treason charges against a doctor suspected of helping the CIA target Osama bin Laden, Pakistan's information ministry said Thursday.

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Filed under: Osama bin Laden • Pakistan • Terrorism
September 5th, 2011
12:02 PM ET

Pakistan army says top al Qaeda figure arrested

The Pakistani intelligence service has arrested a senior al Qaeda leader who sought to attack targets in the United States, Europe and Australia, the Pakistani military said Monday.

The intelligence service arrested Younis al-Mauretani and two al Qaeda associates in the suburbs of Quetta, Pakistan, the military said in a statement.

Osama bin Laden had asked al-Mauretani "to focus on hitting targets of economic importance in United States of America, Europe and Australia," with U.S. targets including gas and oil pipelines, dams and oil tankers, the statement said.

Security Clearance: Arrest yet one more blow for al Qaeda

Al-Mauretani was also involved in planning multiple attacks on European countries similar to those in Mumbai, India, in 2008, European intelligence officials told CNN last year. The man at the center of the alleged al Qaeda plot, Afghan German Ahmed Sidiqui, was detained in July 2010 and told interrogators that al-Mauretani helped with planning and coordination.

News of the arrest comes six days before the 10th anniversary of al Qaeda's attack on the United States, which killed nearly 3,000 people. It also comes as the United States and its allies have made major strides in its fight against al Qaeda.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Osama bin Laden • September 11 • Terrorism
Chess as a piece-keeping mission
June 22nd, 2011
01:27 PM ET

Ex-soldier's chess sets: Twin Tower rooks, putting Taliban in checkmate

Chess was originally brought to Europe via Spain from the Arab world. Now, a Canadian veteran is sending Chess sets back to the Middle East – with kings modeled after President Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden.

Jeff Train, who had been in the Canadian military until 1989, was working as a military contractor in Afghanistan when he noticed soldiers buying chess sets from local vendors. Train said he was concerned those vendors, in transporting their wares from Pakistan, were actually aiding the enemy.

“They have to drive through Taliban country and they have to pay the toll,” Train said. “So basically the soldiers were funding the insurgency.”

Train, 48, who lives in the Philippines, said he wanted to develop an alternative product for soldiers, one that would document the history they have lived. In 2009, he began making and selling sets of Canadian and American soldiers that played opposite Taliban chessmen under the company name Hobby Leisure Manufacturing. Then he began getting requests from soldiers from other countries and now manufactures British, Finnish, Norwegian, German and Australian soldiers as well. He also makes a set of Iraqi soldiers that fight Americans.

As Americans anticipate Obama’s impending announcement of troop withdrawals, Train is thinking ahead to how the soldiers will remember and represent their experiences in the Middle East. He said he wants them to be able to use the game to demonstrate actual events of the past decade.

“When a soldier gets older, he can sit down with his kids and his wife, who really don’t understand what’s going on, use the board and say, ‘The world went to war against this guy and these people,’ ” Train said.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Canada • Germany • Iraq • Osama bin Laden • Taliban • U.S. • United Kingdom
June 18th, 2011
05:06 PM ET

Sources: Pakistan knew about increased U.S. activity in Abbottabad

Pakistan was aware of increased U.S. intelligence activity in the country weeks before the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May, an Arab diplomat with direct knowledge of the events and a senior Pakistani official told CNN Saturday.

The two sources offered slightly different versions of who knew what, when.

The diplomat, who wished to remain anonymous because he is not authorized to speak publicly, said Pakistan knew about the heightened intelligence activity, specifically in the city of Abbottabad, but "never, never had any idea the operation was about bin Laden." The diplomat was approached privately by a Pakistani to inquire about heightened U.S. intelligence-gathering activities. He said it was assumed Pakistan was asking all Arab allies.

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Filed under: Osama bin Laden • Pakistan • U.S.
Watchdog seeks bin Laden photo, says White House 'not above the law'
A Washington-based watchdog group is suing the CIA and Defense Department to release photos of Osama bin Laden.
June 10th, 2011
11:25 AM ET

Watchdog seeks bin Laden photo, says White House 'not above the law'

A conservative legal watchdog group says the deadline is up and is suing the CIA and Defense Department to release photos and videos of the May raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

"The American people by law have a right to know basic information about the killing of Osama bin Laden," Tom Fitton, president of Washington-based Judicial Watch, said in a statement. "President Obama's personal reluctance to release the documents is not a lawful basis for withholding them. The Obama administration will now need to justify its lack of compliance in federal court. This historic lawsuit should remind the administration that it is not above the law."

The al Qaeda mastermind was killed when U.S. Navy SEALs stormed his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2. He was later buried at sea. Though some members of Congress have been allowed to see photos and CIA Director Leon Panetta initially said it was "important" that the photos be released, President Barack Obama said his administration would not release photos of the slain terrorist leader or his burial.

The photos - which have been described as gruesome and reportedly show brains hanging out of bin Laden's eye socket - could be used as a propaganda tool and could result in additional violence against American interests, Obama told "60 Minutes" last month, comparing the release of the photos to an unnecessary end-zone celebration.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Barack Obama • Courts • District of Columbia • Justice • Lawsuit • Military • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan • Politics • Terrorism • U.S. • U.S. Navy • World
Source: Bin Laden considered Pakistan protection deal
May 27th, 2011
12:28 PM ET

Source: Bin Laden considered Pakistan protection deal

Osama bin Laden considered seeking a deal with Pakistan for protection of al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan and in return al Qaeda would refrain from attacking Pakistan, a U.S. official told CNN. The revelation surfaced as American agents analyzed the documents that were seized in the May 2 raid of bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, according to the official who was not authorized to speak on the record.

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