"Does anybody doubt that had the mission [to kill bin Laden] failed, it would have written the beginning of the end of the president's first term?" Vice President Joe Biden says in laying out Obama's foreign policy campaign message. "We know what President Obama did. We can't say for certain what Governor Romney would have done."
"President Obama made the decision that brought Osama bin Laden to justice," [Brennan, counterterrorism adviser to the White House] told CNN. "It was a tough decision, as we know the evidence was not there as far as an ironclad case. A lot of it was circumstantial. I just know that President Obama, when the time came for him to make a momentous decision like that, he took the action that did bring bin Laden to justice."
"We're on the path towards al Qaeda's destruction, and the president has committed that we're not going to rest until al Qaeda is destroyed as an organization," Brennan [the White House's counterterrorism adviser] told CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley." "We're not going to relent until they're brought to justice one way or the other. We demonstrated the ability to do that with bin Laden."
Speaking at a New York City firehouse that lost 15 men on Sept. 11, 2001, President Obama said just a short time ago that this week's killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden shows that: "When we say we will never forget, we mean what we say." The president is in New York to lay a wreath at ground zero in honor of the nearly 2,800 victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.
For over two decades, bin Laden has been Al-Qaeda's leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat Al-Qaeda. Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There's no doubt that Al-Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. [from Barack Obama's announcement that bin Laden was killed]
Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body. [from Barack Obama's announcement that bin Laden was killed]
Last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to Bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located Bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. [from Barack Obama's announcement that bin Laden was killed]
Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, Al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world. And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of Bin Laden the top priority of our war against Al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle and defeat his network. [from Barack Obama's announcement that bin Laden was killed]
We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot. [from Barack Obama's announcement that bin Laden was killed]
Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. [from Barack Obama's announcement that bin Laden was killed]