Bin Laden Dead
Osama bin Laden has opened his last door for company. In the early hours of May 2, 2011, the United States Navy Seals flew in stealth mode over the mountainous terrains of northern Pakistan to a newly built compound near the aloof Pakistan military training academy. With surgical precision, top secret tactics were brought to the attention of the world with a systematic dismantling of the world’s most wanted man.
But what were the details of this mission? How much do we know about it and how much is there still to learn? What caused a top secret chopper to come down at the compound and did it ever fall into the wrong hands?
The story starts in New York City on September 11, 2001. Osama bin Laden orders and executes the hijacking of 3 airlines to attack well-known iconic structures of the enemy. The first plane hits the World Trade Center in the early hours of 8:00 am. With all of us paying attention now, the second plane hits and soon after the towers begin to crumble. Things were different now. The war on terror had reached US soil.
In what seemed like an eternity of futile efforts to capture bin Laden, a possible break in his whereabouts came to light when a trusted bin Laden courier was tracked down. The courier was bin Laden’s most trusted comrade, someone he literally trusted with his life. The courier was a replacement for email and cell phones, which Bin Laden was known not to use, as the US launched missile strikes against his bases in Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998 (Operation Infinite Reach) after tracking an associate’s satellite phone nearly killed him.
After chasing a few leads that turned out to be falsified testaments from Guantanamo Bay detainees, the CIA picked up a transmission from Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, a false identity of a man thought to be close to someone big. After wiretap tracking, he was followed to a compound that stuck out amongst the much more modest homes in the area. Complete with 7 foot walls topped with barbed wire, just enough to hide the 6’4″ al Qaeda leader, the house immediately set off alarms with the US government. Intense scrutiny of the compound began with the renting of a nearby home where they started to notice clear warning signs – burning trash when everyone else in neighborhood used trash collection services, 2 heavily guarded gates, and no internet or phone connection.
In a scene out of the movies, President Obama sat in the Situation Room in the White House with his most trusted aides, watching a live feed of the mission dubbed “Operation Neptune Spear”. New technology unknown to the world cloaked 4 US helicopters. All 4 choppers were Black Hawks, modern day warcrafts with a punishing arsenal capable of massive destruction. Two of these choppers were never seen before but it came to center stage after it crashed during the raid. The crash was caused by the powerful wind created by the chopper’s blades, which formed an updraft when it was hovering over the inside of the courtyard framed off by the 7 foot walls, creating an unbalance that brought the craft down. All soldiers vacated the craft without injury and the mission continued. Later, the helicopter was strapped with explosives and detonated to protect top secret information.
The raid began by landing the choppers just outside the main gate. Up to 30 soldiers deboarded the choppers and they entered the compound. Military dogs were sent in first. Dressed in $4000 bullet proof vests with camera mounts, the dogs are instructed to sniff the entry for possible door guards. The dogs picked up on a fresh scent and the US Navy Seals started there. Immediately upon entering, a firefight ensued with bin Laden’s courier. He opened fire with an AK-47 and was shot immediately. His wife and a male relative were also casualties. The male relative was shot when he reached for a nearby weapon and it is presumed the wife was unsuccessfully used as a human shield.
They found bin Laden peering over the bannister of the third floor. As they began the ascent up the staircase, bin Laden retreated to his bedroom. He was wearing a loose-fitting tunic and pajama pants, which were later found to have money and a few numbers sewn into the fabric. The SEALS followed quickly, burst through the door and immediately killed bin Laden. He did not have a weapon in his hand but 2 were nearby – an AK-47 assault rifle and a semi-automatic Makarov pistol. He was killed by a gunshot wound to his chest and another above his left eye. When all was said and done, a half dozen relatives ranging in age from child to adult, were detained with plastic cuffs and bin Laden’s body was taken along with a treasure trove cache of information.
As the SEALS were leaving, C4 was placed on the downed stealth chopper just inside the compound walls, and 38 minutes later the choppers were flying into the night back to a base at sea. Bin Laden was identified and DNA evidence was taken from the body before he was washed, placed in a white blanket, and pitched over the side of the warship the choppers called home.
Then Obama took that “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” banner out of storage in honor of securing his second term.