WASHINGTON - Still-secret photos of the dead Osama bin Laden show a precision kill shot above his left eye, a U.S. official said, as fresh details emerged of an audacious American raid that netted potentially crucial al-Qaida records as well as the body of the global terrorist leader. President Barack Obama is going to ground zero in New York to mark the milestone and remember the dead of 9/11.
Patience and persistence - characteristics normally attributed to al-Qaida - proved decisive in America's decade-long hunt for bin Laden, whose fate was sealed in 40 minutes of thunderous violence, years in the making.
According to the U.S. account, the assault team came away with hard drives, DVDs, documents and more that might tip U.S. intelligence to al-Qaida's operational details and perhaps lead the manhunt to the presumed next-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri. The CIA is already going over the material.
"We're moving with great dispatch to mine that" material for insights into terrorist plots that may be in the works and for clues as to the location of senior al-Qaida officials, White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said Tuesday on television news shows.
Obama, who approved the extraordinarily risky operation by Navy SEALs against bin Laden's Pakistan compound and witnessed its progression from the White House Situation Room, his face heavy with tension, reaped accolades from world leaders he'd kept in the dark as well as from political opponents at home.
Republican and Democratic leaders alike gave him a standing ovation at an evening White House meeting that was planned before the assault but became a celebration of it, and an occasion to step away from the fractious political climate. Obama plans to visit New York on Thursday.
"Last night's news unified our country," much as the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, did, Republican House Speaker John Boehner said earlier in the day. Obama later appealed for that unity to take root as the U.S. presses the fight against a terrorist network that is still lethal - and now vowing vengeance.
The episode was an embarrassment, at best, for Pakistani authorities as bin Laden's presence was revealed in their midst. The stealth U.S. operation played out in a city with a strong Pakistani military presence and without notice from Washington. Questions persisted in the administration and grew in Congress about whether some elements of Pakistan's security apparatus might have been in collusion with al-Qaida in letting bin Laden hide in Abbottabad.
Tue May 03 2011 10:22:50 ET
President Obama decided Tuesday morning to release at least one photo showing Osama Bin Laden's death, a top source claims.
The images, being described as 'graphic', are bound to stir emotions in the east and the west, and will likely become the most viewed photographs in modern history.
One image shows a bullet wound to his head above his left eye.
Will it remove all doubt about the death?
The exact timing on the release is being debated.
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