Five years ago, in the Situation Room were reunited President Obama, Vice President Biden, and members of the national security team while the U.S. Special Operations Forces were on their mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and members of the national security team in the Situation Room were operations to kill bin Laden were taking place. Credit: White House

The preparation

According to Nick Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, during more than three months the White House’s National Security Council staff organized over two dozen inter-agency meetings. All these meetings were set up to oversee preparations and evaluate matters such as the emerging intelligence, possible operational courses of action, the consequences and implications of both success and failure. Just a few individuals beyond the most senior officials participated in the policy piece of this operation, in which extrict measures were taken to keep the operation as a secret.

In a post published in the White House’s official blog, Rasmussen said that the President’s concern appeared to be the safety and security of the operators.

On Saturday, April 30, just a day before the operation took place, President Obama called Admiral McRaven and asked if he believed the force was ready to proceed and if they had everything they needed to accomplish the mission. McRaven confirmed to President Obama that they were completely prepared to carry on with the operation.

The raid

Once the U.S. Special Operations Forces arrived in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, McRaven carried out his command and control function with his team. He also piped in via secure video conference (SVTC) to provide updates to the CIA and the assembled officials at the White House Situation Room.

There was a lot of tension but after they were completely sure that they’ve found Osama bin Laden, there was “not only emotional closure, but functional closure, in that the operation illustrated the effectiveness of what an integrated intelligence and operational community could accomplish,” said Director Clapper.

The victory

Once the operators returned safely to base, McRaven noted that they confirmed bin Laden’s identity because he was as tall in stature as the Intelligence Community knew him to be.

On Sunday midnight, the streets surrounding the White House complex were filled with thousands of people celebrating the victory of the U.S. Special Operations Forces. Director Clapper noted that was hard for him to remember something that carried so much importance and meaning for the nation as the raid and its success.

CIA recalls Bin Laden’s death with ‘Live Tweets’

To mark five years since the death of Osama bin Laden killed by a team of Navy SEALs in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the CIA posted a series of tweets to re-create the raid.

In a recent statement, CIA Director John Brennan described the raid as a masterpiece of planning and execution, while Ryan Trapani, agency spokesman, told ABC News that he considers appropriate to remember the day and honor everyone involved in the mission. But some Americans appear to disagree with the celebration.

“Is relief that an evil mastermind cannot commit acts of terror in the future. But is it ever a good idea — from a spiritual or philosophical standpoint — to celebrate with beer and good cheer over the death of anyone, even a widely acknowledged monster?” NPR’s Linton Weeks wrote after the raid.

“I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure,” is a quote of Mark Twain that went viral on Facebook after the raid, he noted.

Source: White House