Osama Bin Laden Dead, Obama Calls Late-Night Press Conference [UPDATED]
Osama Bin Laden, considered the mastermind of Al Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks on the United States, is reportedly dead. Major news outlets have made the declaration, and President Barack Obama is expected to address the press, the nation, and the world shortly to confirm the reports.
The New York Times says that one of the officials reporting Bin Laden's death "said that American forces, acting on intelligence, launched a 'targeted assault' that killed Mr. Bin Laden, whose ability to elude capture for so long deeply frustrated the Bush administration." Live reports on CNN indicate that Bin Laden may have been killed, along with some of his family members, while he was inside a large residence near the capital of Pakistan. It is believed that the body is in the hands of U.S. officials, and that DNA has confirmed it is that of Bin Laden.
At about 7 p.m. Los Angeles time, the media began to report that Obama was planning to make an announcement from the East Room of the White House at 7:30 p.m. local time; his address has been delayed, though he is expected to speak shortly. Obama is reportedly making calls to top officials regarding national security and the anticipated declaration of Bin Laden's death.
UPDATE 8:49PM: Obama confirmed that Osama Bin Laden was killed by a U.S. attack, and that the body was taken into possession by U.S. forces. Bin Laden was killed today on a compound in Pakistan, and no Americans were harmed in the attack.
"We must, and we will, remain vigilant at home and abroad," cautions Obama, and gave a reminder that "we are not, and never will be, at war with Islam," pointing out that "Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader, he was a mass murderer of Muslims."
Emphasizing that the U.S. will continue to fight tirelessly against those who attack us and our allies, Obama offered gratitude to the troops who have fought, and in some cases given their lives, to protect the nation. “Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11, that we have never forgotten your loss," remarked Obama.
Crowds have gathered outside the White House to sing, cheer, wave flags, and celebrate. Social media has been buzzing with the news, as well as with commentary, national pride, larger political speculation, and a great deal of witticism.
UPDATE 9:12PM: The following is George W. Bush's statement regarding the death of Osama Bin Laden:
Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me that American forces killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al Qaeda network that attacked America on September 11, 2001. I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude. This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.