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IMAGES: 'Anxious' Obama monitors Osama hunt live!

Last updated on: May 3, 2011 12:30 IST

IMAGES: 'Anxious' Obama monitors Osama hunt live!

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We got him," United States President Barack Obama said as soon as it became clear that the special forces were able to kill Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan's Abbottabad.

Personally monitoring the US special forces operation against the Al Qaeda's top leader, Obama said "We got him" after he was confirmed that bin Laden was dead, according to John Brennan, Deputy National Security Advisor for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security.

Obama had made one of the objectives of his presidency to get hold of bin Laden dead or alive.

"As many of you know, that the President, even when he was a candidate, had a very clear idea about the approach he would take as president towards Osama bin Laden," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

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Image: US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defence Secretary Robert Gates along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House on May 1
Photographs: Courtesy White House
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In August of 2007, Obama stated, "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."

Meanwhile, for a small group of top US officials, assembled at the White House Sunday afternoon, it was one of the most anxious periods in their lives, as they monitored on a real-time basis the operation against Osama bin Laden.

Giving a peek into the situation room at the White House during the operation, Brennan told mediapersons that when the operation did get under way, the President Obama rejoined the group to watch the progress.

"We were able to monitor in a real-time basis the progress of the operation from its commencement to its time on target to the extraction of the remains and to then the egress off of the target," he said.

Image: Obama talks with members of the national security team at the conclusion of one in a series of meetings discussing the mission against Osama bin Laden, in the Situation Room of the White House
Photographs: Courtesy White House
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The official refused to details how this real-time monitoring was done, but did indicate this included visuals.

"It was probably one of the most anxiety-filled periods of time, I think, in the lives of the people who were assembled here yesterday. The minutes passed like days, and the President was very concerned about the security of our personnel," he said.

"We were able to monitor the situation in real time and were able to have regular updates and to ensure that we had real-time visibility into the progress of the operation."

Image: Obama discusses the operation with US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon at the White House
Photographs: Courtesy White House
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I'm not going to go into details about what type of visuals we had or what type of feeds that were there, but it was -- it gave us the ability to actually track it on a -- on an ongoing basis," Brennan said.

"That was what was on his mind throughout, and we wanted to make sure that we were able to get through this and accomplish the mission. But it was clearly very tense, a lot of people holding their breath," he said.

Image: Obama attends the meeting on the mission against bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House
Photographs: Courtesy White House
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The officials had a "sigh of relief" when forces entered in the compound and found the man who was believed to be bin Laden.

"And the President was relieved once we had our people and those remains off target," Brennan said. "When you plan these things out, you know in your mind exactly what the first step, second step and everything going along. If there's any deviation from that, it causes anxiety."

"But the individuals who carried out this assault planned for all the various contingencies," he noted. So when a helicopter was seen to be unable to move, all of a sudden, you had to go into Plan B. And personnel did it "flawlessly".

Image: Obama talks on the phone in the Oval Office before making a statement to the media about the mission against bin Laden
Photographs: Courtesy White House
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But seeing that helicopter in a place and in the condition that it wasn't supposed to be, I think that was one at least for me and I know for the other people in the room -- was the concern we had that now we're having to go to the contingency plan," Brennan said.

"And thankfully, they were as able to carry out that contingency plan as they were the initial plan," he added.

 


Image: Obama edits his remarks in the Oval Office prior to making a televised statement detailing the mission against bin Laden
Photographs: Courtesy White House
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