Death of Osama Bin Laden Highlights


CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the death of Osama bin Laden.

On May 2, 2011, the leader of Al-Qaeda Osama Bin Laden was killed by US Special Forces in an early morning raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Compound Facts

– Built around 2006.
– Significantly larger than other homes in the area and worth $1 million.
– Absence of telephone and Internet service.
– Residents burned their trash rather than having it picked up.
– About 24 people lived in the house.
– Surrounded by 12 to 18 foot walls topped with barbed wire.
– Had two security doors.
– The living quarters of bin Laden and his family were on the second and third levels.
– The third-floor terrace had a seven-foot privacy wall.
– Located just about a mile from the Pakistan Military Academy.

US forces recovered numerous items from bin Laden‘s compound, including 10 hard drives, five computers and more than 100 storage devices, such as discs, DVDs and USB drives, according to a senior US official.


2007 (approximately) – The US Secret Service uncovers the name of one of Bin Laden’s most trusted couriers.

2009 (approximately) – Intelligence sources identify the area of ​​Pakistan where the courier and his brother live.

August 2010 – US intelligence sources identify the Abbottabad compound as the home of the courier and his brother, who has no obvious way to afford a million-dollar house.

September 2010 – The CIA informs President Barack Obama Bin Laden may be living within the walls of Abbottabad. They base this on the size and price of the resort as well as the elaborate security.

February 2011 – Intelligence on the Abbottabad compound is considered solid enough to begin planning action.

March 14, 2011 – President Obama is chairing the first of five National Security Council meetings to discuss a raid on bin Laden’s compound.

March 29, 2011 – Second national security meeting.

April 12, 2011 – Third meeting.

April 19, 2011 – Fourth meeting.

April 28, 2011 – Last of National Security Council meetings on bin Laden raid.

April 29, 2011 – At 8:20 a.m. EDT, President Obama gives the order to raid bin Laden’s compound.

May 2, 2011 – In the early hours of the morning (mid-afternoon on May 1 in the United States), a group of 25 Navy Seals raided the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
– They arrive outside the compound in two Black Hawk helicopters.
– The operation lasts 40 minutes in total.
– US Special Forces penetrate the outer walls of the compound before smashing their way through the ground floor of the three-story building. The firefight then moves to the second and third floors.
– During the last 5-10 minutes of the shooting, Bin Laden is shot in the head.
– Three men, including a son of Bin Laden, are killed as well as a woman.
– Bin Laden’s body is identified by one of his wives. Facial recognition is also used.

May 2, 2011 – Bin Laden is buried at sea on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson in the Arabian Sea.
– He is buried within 24 hours according to Islamic law.
– The hour-long ceremony aboard the USS Carl Vinson is conducted in accordance with Islamic law.

May 2, 2011 – A DNA test is carried out on a sample of the body, confirming that it is indeed Bin Laden.

May 3, 2011 – Attorney General Eric Holder declares the raid “lawful, legitimate and appropriate in all respects”.

May 3, 2011 – White House press secretary Jay Carney offers new details about the raid. He clarified that the woman killed was on the first floor, not with Bin Laden, and was killed in the crossfire. Carney also says bin Laden was unarmed but put up resistance.

May 3, 2011 – A congressional source told CNN that bin Laden had about $745 and two phone numbers sewn into his clothes.

May 3, 2011 – Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mojahed issues a statement: “Obama has no solid evidence that can prove his claim about the murder of Sheikh Osama bin Laden…And second, the sources closest to Sheikh Osama bin Laden n ‘have not confirmed’ death.

May 4, 2011 – White House Press Secretary Carney announces that President Obama has decided not to release photos of bin Laden’s body.

May 6, 2011 – Al-Qaeda confirms bin Laden’s death, in a statement on jihadist forums.

May 12, 2011 – US officials confirm to CNN that US authorities have interviewed three of bin Laden’s wives.

May 13, 2011 – It is revealed that a large amount of pornography was seized from the Abbottabad compound during the raid. It is not known to whom it belonged.

May 13, 2011 – A US military official told CNN that the Navy Seal team that carried out the bin Laden raid wore helmet-mounted digital cameras that recorded the mission.

May 17, 2011 – Senator John Kerry announces that Pakistan will return the tail of the US helicopter damaged in the raid.

May 18, 2011 – Admiral Mike Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates tell reporters that there is no evidence that senior Pakistani leaders were aware of bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan.

May 26, 2011 – A team of CIA forensic specialists is authorized by the Pakistani government to examine the compound.

June 15, 2011 – The Pakistani intelligence agency arrests several people suspected of helping the CIA before the raid.

June 17, 2011 – The US Department of Justice officially drops terrorism-related criminal charges against bin Laden.

July 11, 2011 – Pakistani security forces are detaining a doctor suspected of helping the CIA attempt to collect DNA from bin Laden’s family members during a vaccination campaign.

October 6, 2011 – According to Pakistan’s information ministry, the doctor suspected of helping the CIA target bin Laden will be charged with treason. In addition, bin Laden’s compound will be handed over to municipal authorities.

February 2012 – Pakistani authorities begin demolishing the complex.

May 9, 2012 – Citing national security interests, a federal judge denied Judicial Watch’s access to information request regarding the release of Bin Laden’s death photos.

May 23, 2012 – Shakeel Afridi, the Pakistani doctor accused of helping the CIA find Bin Laden, is fined $3,500 for spying for the United States and 33 years in prison for treason by a tribal court.

September 4, 2012 – The memoir “No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden” by former US Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette, written as Mark Owen, is released.

February 11, 2013 – Conflicting information about the Navy SEAL who killed bin Laden emerges when Esquire Magazine reports an unnamed former Navy SEAL who says he fired the killing shot, not the point man as Bissonette’s book “No Easy Day” says.

May 21, 2013 – A three-judge federal appeals court panel rejects an appeal by a conservative legal group, ruling that the release of post-mortem images of bin Laden’s body could lead to attacks on Americans.

October 31, 2014 – Adm. Brian Losey, Chief of Naval Warfare Special Command, publishes an open letter warning the Navy SEALs against betraying their promise of secrecy. This is ahead of two upcoming interviews with SEALs involved in the bin Laden mission.

November 7, 2014 – Former Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill said in an interview with The Washington Post that he was the one who fired the shot that killed Bin Laden.

May 10, 2015 – In a published report, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh argues that the Obama administration lied about the circumstances surrounding bin Laden’s murder. The White House later dismisses the report as “baseless”.

May 20, 2015 – The Office of the Director of National Intelligence begins releasing and declassifying documents recovered from the May 2011 raid.

March 1, 2016 – A second batch of retrieved documents is released by the DNI. The documents include bin Laden’s personal letters and will.

August 2016 – Bissonnette agrees to pay the U.S. government all past and future profits from the “No Easy Day” book, settle a lawsuit brought by the government for “breach of contract” by violating a nondisclosure agreement.

November 1, 2017 – CIA Announces Release Of Thousands Of Files It Says Are From Bin Laden’s Raid. Among them is the personal diary of the late founder of Al-Qaeda.

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