BREAKING: Unusual Hasty Sunday Night Obama Statement

This is, to say the least, highly unusual. From the White House:

POTUS to address the nation tonight at 10:30 PM Eastern Time

Now, I have no idea what this is about yet and, somewhat eerily, neither does Marc Ambinder, who almost always has scary good sources for this kind of stuff:

I assume the WH will give the wire services a heads up, so we’ll known by 10:25??

CNN has just announced that it is “national security related”.

Stay tuned and we will update here as it comes down.

UPDATES: It is reportedly NOT Libya. Rumor is Bin Laden.


From CBS News:

House Intelligence committee aide confirms that Osama Bin Laden is dead. U.S. has the body.

Rumsfeld (of all people) has also said the same.

So, it is quite clear that Bin Laden is the deal and he is confirmed dead. Does that mean the was is over? Can we close Gitmo? Is the AUMF now completed and done? Well, of course not. The long war is NEVER over. This will only be an excuse to go to a higher and more scary DEFCON because of alleged feared reprisals.

From Laura Rozen:

Heard WTOP radio reports suggesting helicopter crash in pakistan and UBL (body or alive?) handed to US forces in Afghanistan

  1. Margaret says:

    I still think he said something he shouldn’t have last night and he wasn’t able to persuade his listener to stfu about it so now he’s gotta call a press conference. That would actually be hilarious!

      • Kelly Canfield says:


        But there’s a certain importance. Can’t play the AQ card as hard as has been played before, particularly if the WH is making this big a deal of it.

        The politics of this works in a lot of ways.

        • Margaret says:

          Can’t play the AQ card as hard as has been played before, particularly if the WH is making this big a deal of it.

          Good point but they’ll just come up with another booger man.

        • Phoenix Woman says:

          Exactly. With OoogaBoogaMan gone, less justification for shitting on Constitution or starving Americans to feed the war machine. (Remember the “peace dividend”?)

    • SouthernDragon says:

      Big fuckin’ deal. Like that’ll change anything, except make the al-Quaida fighters do more shit.

      If we have the body and he’s not buried within 24 hours of death there’s gonna be even more Muslims pissed at us.

  2. bmaz says:

    I am doing updates in the main post, but I am not flying fingers Marcy, so everybody should post along in the comment feed. Several independent sources seem to confirm Bin Laden dead.

  3. MadDog says:

    I see some folks dismiss this as unimportant, but that is absurd.

    If true, this will be a big fookin’ deal.

    The ramifications will affect many different stakeholders. Both Pro and Con.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Agree: Big Deal.
      And I see from your #59 and #60 that you have updated info.

      What I find intriguing is how this fits with the US tug-of-war getting that contractor out, and the dustup it caused between US and Pakistan. Or maybe not ‘dustup’, perhaps

      On a pure military strategy level, it sure would be interesting to know how this was planned and carried out. Holy cats, what an achievement.

      I thought Pres Obama was **very** careful with his language in announcing it.

      • MadDog says:

        …What I find intriguing is how this fits with the US tug-of-war getting that contractor out, and the dustup it caused between US and Pakistan…

        Add to the mix the comments from Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during the past week and a half while in Pakistan chastising “publicly that Pakistan had a ‘longstanding relationship’ with the Haqqani militant group”.

        Add also to the mix the recent continued drone strikes.

        I think the US basically told Pakistan to shove their complaints up their ass.

        With this operation against OBL in Pakistan, I’m guessing the above sentiment will only grow.

        CNN is showing live scenes of the mansion in Abbottabad, Pakistan burning right now. Looks like quite a crowd of Pakistanis present as well, though since it is nighttime, it’s hard to tell the crowd size.

        • bobschacht says:

          I think the US basically told Pakistan to shove their complaints up their ass.

          With this operation against OBL in Pakistan, I’m guessing the above sentiment will only grow.

          Dunno about this. Obama was at pains tonight to mention that OBL was working against the gubmint of PAK, too, and I do seem to recall some OBL rant against PAK. But I bet there’s a phalanx within the ISI that is hopping mad about this.

          Bob in AZ

      • bobschacht says:

        What I find intriguing is how this fits with the US tug-of-war getting that contractor out, and the dustup it caused between US and Pakistan. Or maybe not ‘dustup’, perhaps

        Good catch, rOTL! I’ll bet they couldn’t finish the operation against OBL until that contractor was out of Pak.

        Bob in AZ

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Beware shiny objects. Bin Laden’s death will deter no one and encourage many. Our wars, occupations, displacements, casual killings, imprisonment and disappearances have induced more to commit terrorist acts n response to arbitrary mayhem than any mountain village radical.

      • tejanarusa says:

        Has anyone seen David Shipler’s new book on that theme? Can’t recall title (saw at B&N today), but about giving up freedom for false security.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        That argument I like. Declare victory, quit the field, and go home. Now if there weren’t so many contractors and generals whose futures would benefit from not doing that.

      • bobschacht says:

        Actually, we can use it as leverage to stand down from the assault on the civil liberties of Americans and the other folks in the world.

        Now, THAT would be news. And that would also be change I might believe in.

        Bob in AZ

  5. MadDog says:

    If, as reported, that the US has positively identified the body (via DNA), then it means that OBL’s death took place at least days ago.

    • MadDog says:

      One might want to connect the recent Obama Administration National Security team changes. Particularly the “promotion” of General Petraeus from his Afghanistan war responsibilities to that of CIA Director.

  6. Kelly Canfield says:

    OK, good. And Can I just say it’s not necessarily haram if OBL isn’t buried within 24 hours?

    There’s a lot about crime that is not well understood by Westerners under Sharia, and there is a lot of Sharia jurisprudence that says terrorism is a crime, and many Muslims think OBL committed a crime. Evidence matters.

    And do people forget that there was a million people candle light vigil for victims that showed up in Iran immediately after 9/11?

    Circumstances and evidence matter as regards crime, and what they will actually say about OBL’s death and the following circumstances.

    • Margaret says:

      Well OBL’s version of Islam is at odds with most Iranians’ anyway. Personally, I have nothing against Iran and I think it’s the height of temper tantrum behavior that we are still refusing to speak with them thirty fucking years after they told us to get out and mind our own damn business.

      • PJEvans says:

        Heck, look at the temper tantrum over Cuba. That’s more than 50 years, and the people who actually remember it firsthand are … not young any more.

  7. Margaret says:

    Heh, I wanna see OBL’s birth certificate. I wonder what Rove the wonder (dough) boy will have to say about this? Probably something about how if it wasn’t for W, he wouldn’t be dead.

  8. pdaly says:

    Saw Jane’s headline, turned on the TV, and as I made my way here abc NEWS was finishing saying something weird: OBL’s sister died in a Boston hospital and the government (FBI?) showed up at the hospital with a document that allowed them to take the brain to be used to make a DNA match to her brother OBL on the moment some day (today) when he is captured/killed.

    Her brain? (abc NEWS didn’t explain why a blood test, or mouth swab, or any other less invasive sample wouldn’t have worked just as well).

    • pdaly says:

      or I should clarify: I didn’t hear abc NEWS give the reason. Maybe they did so before my TV was turned on.

  9. dustbunny44 says:

    I thought I heard last week reports that said this coming week might see an increase in Al Qaeda offensive activity. This is not what the reports threatened.

  10. burnt says:

    Okay, I’m going to stay up just to see if Obama can resist saying, “Mission accomplished.”

  11. orionATL says:

    if president obama wishes to become the president he could have been beginning january, 2009,

    then he will use obama’s death to end his lurching, politically self-serving movements toward strengthening the “national security state” that so threatens the democracy that jefferson and subsequently
    madison, monroe, and hamilton, to name a few, birthed in 1776 ff.

    on another tact,

    obama is being described as the “mastermind” of the attacks on nyc (and washington) in sept, 2001.

    obama was no such thing.

    the mastermind was pakistani khalid sheik mohammed, imprisoned in guantanamo for nearly ten years (did any american politician bother to inform the american public of this fact?

    obama was merely the koch brothers of the attack – he bankrolled it.

    he also recruited a group of young saudi men to sacrifice themselves to accomplish kahlid mohammed’s family-feud-revenge on the wtc.

    • thatvisionthing says:

      obama was merely the koch brothers of the attack – he bankrolled it.


      (obama osama?)

      can’t help but wish that osama uploaded an “open upon the event of my death” file with wikileaks though…

  12. bobschacht says:

    Obama speaking!
    “Justice has been done”? What a load of offal! Justice would have been done if he had been captured, indicted and brought to the U.S. for trial. What we did was like a gangland slaying.

    “Liberty and justice for all”… except if you’re a detainee in Guantanamo or Baghram, or you’re a victim of a fraudulent home foreclosure, or if your savings have been erased during the financial crisis due to the gambling of Bank executives who were, nevertheless, rewarded with huge bonuses.

    I wonder how Pakistan is going to react?

    Bob in AZ

  13. bamage says:

    Major victory in War on Terror!

    So now we can get out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen….

    And “Liberty and Justice for all” except Bradley Manning!

  14. dustbunny44 says:

    Just heard President Barry’s speech and the line popped out where he said that when he appointed Leon Panetta to head the CIA he asked him to make finding OBL his number 1 priority.
    Someone has to has the President how far Panetta had to bump up the priority – what were they doing about it before?

    • fatster says:

      Many have wondered about that for some time, dustbunny. ‘Course in the interests of national security all that’s a secret. They only tell us what we need to know.

  15. MadDog says:

    CNN (yeah, I know) reports that the Abbottabad, Pakistan operation was a US helicopter-based operation conducted by Navy Seals and that the entire operation lasted no more than 40 minutes.

    • MadDog says:

      CNN’s Ed Henry (again, I know) says that one of the US helicopters crashed due to mechanical failure(no injuries) and was destroyed by US to prevent loss of secret stuff.

      He also reports that 3 additional Al Qaeda men were killed (couriers and one of OBL’s sons) during the operation, as well as 1 women in the compound.

  16. Phoenix Woman says:

    Prominent persons in India (which has been at sword’s point with Pakistan since well before Pakistan was created) are stating tartly that there’s no way Pakistan couldn’t have known about OBL’s living in Pakistan:

    Are the Pakistanis now going to claim they did not know he was there in their country? Either they are incompetent or complicit in this.

    This is between the U.S. and Pakistan. (In India) we’ll be amused observers of Pakistan’s mute protestations.

    • MadDog says:

      From that same Indian Express site:

      The United States is ensuring that the body of slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is being handled in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition, a U.S. official told reporters on Monday.

      Which leads to a couple of points:

      1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that Islamic practice and tradition is to prohibit autopsies. That says to me that there will be no autopsy.

      2. DNA – according to early news reports, the US had confirmed OBL’s DNA to finalize their identification. That says to me that the US had DNA testing facilities in Afghanistan as well as OBL’s DNA fingerprint available there. It wouldn’t be possible confirm his DNA this rapidly otherwise.

      3. Additionally, the early news reports mentioned that the US would not be burying the body, but instead “dispose of it” in order to prevent any from turning it into a memorial. Pardon the almost obscene pun, but that remains to be seen.

      • Tortoise says:

        Having one or more family members’ DNA in advance, it would be possible to develop a rapid test to be used in the the field. It would be very cool Mission Impossible type gadgetry to be sure – but technically feasible.

        • MadDog says:

          I was going to logoff after my last comment, but just had to respond to your comment.

          If I remember correctly, the US has made use of DNA identification in Afghanistan as a part of its procedures to identify the detainees it captures, so it would not come as a surprise that the facilities to do DNA identification were already present in Afghanistan.

          Having DNA fingerprints in Afghanistan to identify OBL would also not come as a surprise. We’ve had 10 years to put plans in place to identify OBL if and when, and the likely place would be Afghanistan/Pakistan.

          • klynn says:

            I just want to get this straight…We gave a visa to one of Bin Laden’s sisters to come here from the UK for cancer treatment and she died recently so that is how we have the DNA? Why on earth did they need her whole brain?

  17. MadDog says:

    Conflicting reports from CNN versus MSNBC.

    Richard Engel on MSNBC just stated that Pakistan was not informed prior to the operation.

    But that conflicts with this just up CNN report:

    …Members of Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, were on site in Abbottabad during the operation, a senior Pakistani intelligence official said…

    …A senior administration official told reporters that Obama’s administration did not share intelligence gathered beforehand with any other country — including Pakistan — for security reasons…

    Seems like CNN can’t get it straight.

    • thatvisionthing says:

      Considering the way everything is an unverifiable terror theater narrative we’re fed — with major media production — any chance that real Osama’s off into a witness protection program now at the behest of Pakistan, in exchange for Davis’s freedom? Or that he’s been dead forever? This just reminds me of Benazir Bhutto’s death. Real news reporting… not exactly.

      • bobschacht says:

        And Engel speaks Arabic, which should count for something.

        It does count for something, but not for much in Pakistan, where the main language is Urdu, which is related to Farsi. Arabic speakers in PAK tend to stick out like sore thumbs.

        Bob in AZ

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Ah ;-)

          If Martin Bashir (new at MSNBC) has correct info on his Wikipedia page, then he speaks Urdu.

          which means: MSNBC = 1 Arabic, 1 Urdu speaker
          And CNN…?
          And ABC…?
          And CBS…?
          And PBS…?

          They’re all gonna get wiped up by Al Jazeera if they don’t hire a few more people with language skills, IMVHO.

          Thanks for the language corrections: I’d plumb forgot.

          Anyway, looking forward to EW’s analysis.
          But the whole tumult about who did – didn’t know prior to those helicopters landing on that compound is mighty intriguing. I view the ISI and PAK stuff as along the lines of, “How do we keep getting all that US money if we don’t have OBL to hide find…?

          What next?
          Forget I asked that…

    • bobschacht says:

      Seems like CNN can’t get it straight.

      Not necessarily. I’ll bet the CIA has sized up the various factions within ISI, and was working with one faction, without informing the top level brass. Of course, this is going to result in some shouting matches (at least) in the top levels of ISI.

      Bob in AZ

    • MadDog says:

      And more “details” (caveat emptor) from AP:

      Bin Laden died in house near Pakistan’s capital

      …A Pakistani official in the town said fighters on the roof opened fire on the choppers as they came close to the building with rocket propelled grenades. Another official said four helicopters took off from the Ghazi air base in northwest Pakistan

      (My Bold)

      That again conflicts with “Pakistan was not informed”, and also conflicts with early news reports/theories that the US helicopters came from Afghanistan.

        • thatvisionthing says:

          3.24am ET: MSNBC says US officials have confirmed that Osama bin Laden’s body has been buried at sea.

          Ha ha. I win (@70). Terror Theater strikes again.

          Good popcorn.

          • scribe says:

            Y’know, this Obama guy can’t help but give the conspiracy theorists something to gnaw on. One week, he releases the birth certificate the Birthers held out as the Holy Grail of their search for the Truth of his Kenyan-ness (not satisfying them one bit, but just making him look silly), and less than a week later he goes and buries bin Laden at sea, where no one will ever be able to find him.

            Assuming they buried him at all.

            Assuming they had him in the first place.


            • thatvisionthing says:

              Matt Taibbi called it on the CT. He ridicules 9/11 truthers, debated David whatshisname the guy who wrote the 9/11 bunked debunked double debunked books once — and did not slam dunk him btw — and the point he makes is that CT theories flourish in the absence of testable facts. All we get mushy official stories and threats and ridicule if we ask questions. It just looks like crap, it smells like crap. No one can prove what’s true. He said it better than I just did though, but that’s the gist. Which mirrors David whn’s point, which is that ANY of the stories we can choose from are conspiracy theories, including the official one which we are all supposed to blindly accept. They’re theories because we can’t test facts and investigate more.

              Like the story on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed recently front-paged on HuffPo with a big picture that I would swear is not the same swarthy undershirt guy we all have come to know so well. Eyebrows that peak differently and are swarthier now than then — you mean that swarthy undershirt guy was plucking his eyebrows? Really? He looked more like Osama bin Laden than he did Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. A LOT more… hmmm. Which makes me look goofy sideways and wonder if there’s some guy in the CIA whose job it is to play all the bad guys. What’s Bradley Manning’s horrible crime? He pulled the curtain back. I should link but I’m tired. Remember all the humiliating invasive treatment Saddam got when he was captured, just to make sure we got im? But we just chuck Osama in the sea? squirrelly whistle

      • bobschacht says:

        That again conflicts with “Pakistan was not informed”, and also conflicts with early news reports/theories that the US helicopters came from Afghanistan.

        Sorry, I’ve been catching up after the wife and I watched a movie– “The Prestige.” Might be considered by some as relevant.

        Anyway, what I heard earlier on CNN was that PAK *was* officially informed– but not until the raid was already underway and it was too late for them to do anything about it.

        Bob in AZ

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Maybe you’ll still be up late enough tonight to see this…?

      I left it at Yves NC, and also on an FDL thread — kept looking until I spotted an article that might shed light on the Pakistani role and the best thing that I’ve found (so far) is at McClatchy. They do great work, so that doesn’t surprise me, but wow – verrry interrresting. It carries Jonathon Landay’s byline (co-written), which I take kinda seriously:

      Only U.S. personnel were involved in the raid, and Obama’s decision to launch it wasn’t shared with any other country, including Pakistan, whose most powerful intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, has long been suspected by U.S. officials of maintaining links to extremist groups close to al Qaida.

      One senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as a matter of policy, indicated that the U.S. was pursuing with the Pakistani government the question of whether any Pakistani officials were aware of bin Laden’s presence. “We are very concerned that he was inside Pakistan,” he said.

      Read more:

      IIRC, EW wrote that one of India’s top anti-terror cops was killed by the terrorists in that uber-creepy Mumbai terrorist event; the Indian perspective on Pakistan’s proclaimed innocence is interesting.

      • MadDog says:

        I’m having a hard time keeping my eyes open, but a last comment before I call it a night.

        I’d buy McClatchy’s report that no way was Pakistan going to be informed beforehand, and I do find it interesting that a US SAO would make the comment about grilling Pakistan about their OBL knowledge.


        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Yeah, more on Monday… but like you, I found it mighty (mighty!) interesting that a ‘US official’ was giving out quotes of the type that I copied.

          (I’m assuming that I kept within copyright-limits. That article is really good so anyone who sees the link should go read the McClatchy stuff.)

          Looking forward to EW’s analysis.

  18. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Odd thought: the timeline in really keying in on OBL’s courier as a way to located bin Laden appears to fall after McCrystal left the military. I’m not claiming any kind of causation, and I’m not sure about the timing. Probably just a weird fluke.
    Because IIRC, the CIA group that was killed around Christmas (2009?) would probably just have begun to identify a house built in 2005 that had no phone nor Internet service, and very high walls.

    Just incredible if OBL has actually been in this town near the Pakistani Military School since maybe as far back as 2005.
    Wonders never cease.