Press Conference Information, Remarks by John Brennan, Assistant to President for Homeland Security

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The first major press conference regarding the raid and termination of Usama Bin Laden was held by John Brennan, Assistant to President for Homeland Security. Following are selected comments from the press conference.

The operation prepared for all contingencies — acquiring Usama bin Laden dead or alive.

There was a firefight, even though there was preparation for the surrender option.

President put a premium on protecting the lives of our military personnel in the operation.

Hiding in plain site. People at the compound were supporting him.

Important reverberations to al Qaeida.

Minutes passed like days while monitoring the operation. The witnessing situation was very tense. The most anxiety-filled moment was when the helicopter was “seen” in a place that it wasn’t supposed to be.

The monitoring was not explained in detail regarding the visual aspects of the operation, but Brennan did explain that the principals following in the situation room were made aware in real time.

The Pakistan government was not contacted until after the strike force left. There was no engagement with Pakistani forces. The goal was to get the U.S. aircraft out of the region before Pakistani forces could engage.

Targeting analysis is extremely tedious. Over time investigators were able to piece together information and associate facts with other facts and events.

Before the strike force operation, there was no confirmation that Usama Bin Laden was actually there.

The residence was in the name of one of the couriers.

Burial at Sea:
The burial at sea was done in strict conformance to Islamic burial practice.

Brennan stated that the COS — the course of action of how to handle the body of Usama bin Laden was decided during the preceding several months. Senior officials determined over the past few months how Usama Bin Laden would be managed — whether he was killed or taken prisoner. It was determined that in order to complete the proper burial practice, Usama bin Laden would have to be buried within 24 hours.

The compound was studied extensively and rehearsals were conducted to carry out the operation.

Total deaths: Usama bin Laden, two facilitators, two couriers (are they the same?) and the adult female.

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