Osama bin Laden is dead, President Obama to make statement
12:48 a.m. EDT: ABC just showed footage that they say is bin Laden’s compound. It’s on fire.
12:36 a.m. EDT: For the second time tonight (technically the first time today, but same “news day,” if you will), the White House Press Office has called a full lid, meaning no more new news out of the White House.
12:28 a.m. EDT: A White House official says that bin Laden’s body is being handled in accordance with Islamic tradition.
12:26 a.m. EDT: BNA White House reporter Cheryl Bolen reports that Press Secretary Jay Carney, Chief of Staff Bill Daley and about a dozen other staffers stood in the back of the room during the president’s statement, and James Clapper, Thomas Donilon, Leon Panetta, Adm. Mike Mullin, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Vice President Joe Biden all sat on a row of chairs to the side of the podium.
12:21 a.m. EDT: CNN reports that the entire firefight took about 40 minutes, and that it was a helicopter raid involving Navy SEALs. They rehearsed the raid beforehand to try and minimize civilian casualties. In his statement, Obama said there were no civilian casualties.
12:19 a.m. EDT: The compound bin Laden was in was built in 2005 and had extensive security, CNN reports. One thing that caught intelligence officials’ attention was that residents burned their trash, while neighbors put theirs out on the street.
12:18 a.m. EDT: The New York Times has posted a 7-page obituary of Osama bin Laden online.
12:11 a.m. EDT: NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s full statement, per his site:
“After September 11, 2001, we gave our word as Americans that we would stop at nothing to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. After the contribution of millions, including so many who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, we have kept that word.
“The killing of Osama bin Laden does not lessen the suffering that New Yorkers and Americans experienced at his hands, but it is a critically important victory for our nation – and a tribute to the millions of men and women in our armed forces and elsewhere who have fought so hard for our nation.
“New Yorkers have waited nearly ten years for this news. It is my hope that it will bring some closure and comfort to all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001.”
12:07 a.m. EDT: Reports from Ground Zero, former site of the World Trade Center, that cheering crowds are gathered and horns are honking.
12:03 a.m. EDT: Obama said in his statement that he first received intelligence on bin Laden’s location in August, and has been carefully tracking and planning since then. These plans came to fruition with bin Laden’s death May 1.
12:02 a.m. EDT: Another interesting tidbit: Adolf Hitler’s death (suicide) was confirmed/announced on May 1, 1945.
12:01 a.m. EDT: Tim Pawlenty statement: “I want to congratulate America’s armed forces and President Obama for a job well done.”
11:58 p.m. EDT: The compound where Osama bin Laden was killed is in Abbottabad, Pakistan which is not in Islamabad, as previously reported. About 120,000 people live there.
11:54 p.m. EDT: U.S. diplomatic facilities are on high alert in case of retaliation,
11:52 p.m. EDT: New York City Mayor Bloomberg issues a statement that New Yorkers have been waiting 10 years for this, and he hopes it brings “closure and comfort to all those who lost loved ones on 9/11.”
11:49 p.m. EDT: Interesting to note that Obama said bin Laden was killed after the firefight at the Islamabad compound. We don’t have details about how bin Laden was killed yet.
11:47 p.m. EDT: CNN is reading a statement from former President George W. Bush. He was notified earlier today, and congratulated Obama. Expressed “great and deep satisfaction.” More: “This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for those who seek peace around the world, those who lost loved ones on September 11…”
11:45 p.m. EDT: Obama’s statement just finished. Confirmed that Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan today. Hundreds gathered outside the White House right now.
11:36 p.m. EDT: Obama: “The United States has conducted an operation that has killed Osama bin Laden.”
11:32 p.m. EDT: Pool cameras have been in place in the White House’s East Room, where Obama will make his statement, for more than an hour now. Some reporters say they received emails from senior White House staff saying simply, “get to work,” earlier tonight.
11:30 p.m. EDT: The spontaneous crowd that has gathered outside the White House is singing the National Anthem, cheering, taking pictures and waving American flags.
11:12 p.m. EDT: Crowds gathered outside White House gates can be heard chanting “USA! USA!” in the background of Ed Henry’s live shot on CNN.
11:10 p.m. EDT: Interesting tidbit: On May 1, 2003, eight years ago today, President George W. Bush made his famous “Mission Accomplished” gaffe announcing the end of major U.S. military operations in Iraq.
11:05 p.m. EDT: CNN reports that bin Laden was killed in a U.S. military strike last week. He was in a mansion outside Pakistan capital Islamabad, and other family members were also killed.
11:03 p.m. EDT: The statement will probably be closer to 11:10 p.m. The delay is attributed to White House officials briefing top world and national leaders — Congress, etc.
10:50 p.m. EDT: U.S. officials are being briefed now, and CNN reports that the U.S. has his body and has verified that it is, in fact, the al-Qaeda leader. The U.S. has been searching for bin Laden for the last decade, since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
10:43 p.m. EDT: The New York Times and CNN both report that Osama bin Laden is dead, and that his body is in U.S. possession. CNN has three sources.
10:40 p.m. EDT: There is plenty of speculation out there about what the statement regards, but Raw Story will wait for confirmed reports before publishing. The statement will happen closer to 10:50 EDT now.
10:32 p.m. EDT: CNN reports from White House sources that the statement does not involve Libya, but in fact involves another country that is of major interest to the U.S.
10:28 p.m. EDT: The White House press office informed reporters that President Barack Obama would make a live televised statement as early as 10:30 p.m. Sunday night. The late hour of the statement is unusual, as well as the short notice — press were notified around 9:45 p.m. EDT of the coming statement, less than an hour’s notice. It’s notable also that a news lid had already been called, meaning the press had been told their work was done for the day. In the notification sent to press, the news lid was lifted, meaning that whatever this statement is about, it’s major breaking news.