Going over some of the newer details about the U.S. operation to take out Osama Bin Laden [OBL or UBL] here are a few answers, none from official sources:
A.) Question: Did they, or did they not, see the kill?
President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser John Brenner said to journalists on Monday afternoon/evening — not even 20 hours after the announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, then buried somewhere [north Arabian Sea?] at sea — that President Obama and his advisers watched the American operation that killed Ben Laden “in real time”. That’s what we thought was confirmed in this photo later released by the White House [Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the only one showing any emotional reaction here]:
Here, now, is a very useful graphic published by the Washington Post, in an article published here, entitled “Breaking Down the Situation Room“, with contributions from a number of the WPost’s “in-house experts”:
1. Vice President Biden
2. President Obama
3. Brig. Gen. Marshall B. Webb
4. Deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough
5. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
6. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates
7. Adm. Mike Mullen, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman
8. National security adviser Thomas E. Donilon
9. White House chief of staff Bill Daley
10. Antony Blinken, national security adviser to Biden
11. Audrey Tomason, director for counterterrorism
12. John O. Brennan, assistant to Obama for counterterrorism
13. Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr.
[For some interesting excerpts from some of the WPost’s staff’s comments on this photo, see our page here.]
But, CIA Director Leon Panetta later said that the execution was, in fact, not witnessed live in Washington, in an interview on the PBS Newshour program on Tuesday evening, which can be watched here. Panetta told Newshour’s‘s Jim McNeil that: “Since this was a what’s called Title 50 Operation, which is a covert operation and it comes directly from the President of the United States … that direction goes to me, and I am the person who commands the mission … But having said that I have to tell you that the real director was [Vice] Admiral [William] McCraven, because he was on-site and he was actually in charge of the military operation that went in and got Osama Bin Laden … We had set up an operations post here at the CIA and I was in direct communication with Admiral McRaven who was located in Afghanistan, and we were in direct contact as the mission went forward … We had live-time intelligence information that we were dealing with, during the operation itself”.
Q: But did you actually see Obama Bin Laden get shot?
A: “No, no, not at all”...