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CNN BREAKING NEWS
Reactions to Osama bin Laden's Death; Markets React to bin Laden's Death; Hillary Clinton Speech on Bin Laden's Death
Aired May 2, 2011 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: All right. This hour, our special coverage continues in the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Hello, everyone. I'm Michael Holmes.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Carol Costello.
We would like to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. And we want to bring you up to date, up to the minute with the latest details.
The al Qaeda leader was killed by U.S. forces inside a mansion outside of Islamabad, Pakistan. They swept into the compound by helicopter and say bin Laden was among the five people killed in a firefight.
President Obama signed off on the mission on Friday after months of intelligence work concluded Obama that bin Laden was hiding there.
HOLMES: In fact senior administration officials believe the compound was built five years ago for the specific purpose of hiding bin Laden. Sources say facial imaging techniques confirmed bin Laden's identity.
A U.S. government official said DNA testing is also under way. The U.S. forces removed his body and they buried him at sea.
We're going to have many more details on how this all unfolded throughout the morning.
COSTELLO: So much to talk about. For nearly 10 years now, New York's Ground Zero has been an emotional epicenter of 9/11 and all its horrible memories, but within minutes of the bin Laden announcement, it erupted in celebration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: USA. USA. USA. USA.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: All night, New Yorkers have flocked to the site of the fallen towers. The mood there, usually reserved, of course, somewhat somber. That changed with word of Osama bin Laden's death.
For nearly a decade, bin Laden has been the most wanted man in the world. Today, the FBI is updating his status with a single word -- deceased.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: It wasn't just New York either. Celebrations broke out across the United States with news that Osama bin Laden had been killed. It was astounding and organic. Hundreds of people gathered outside the gates of the White House overnight. Besides cheering, the crowd chanted "USA, USA," and "hey, hey, good-bye" in reference to the al Qaeda leader. Many people also singing the national anthem.
The Pentagon has released these pictures of U.S. troops watching President Obama's announcement of bin Laden's killing. The service members are based at Kandahar airfield in Afghanistan.
And we have mobilized our best resources to cover this breaking story. CNN correspondents are in place around the world. They're working their sources to bring you all the latest details.
HOLMES: That's right. Many people in New York are on their way to work, others pausing at Ground Zero to mark this historic moment in the war on terror.
CNN's Jason Carroll has been there since the celebrations began last night.
Update us on what's going on right now.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well -- actually, we've got people who are still coming down here. Nothing like what we saw last night. I think people are finally starting to get tired of some of that celebrating.
There was so much energy that we saw out here last night, Michael. It was really incredible. People from all walks of life came down here. We spoke to some veterans, we spoke to some first responders who came down here and wanted to be apart of the celebrations that were taking place.
Also spoke to a 9/11 widow. Her name is Diane Maseroli. Her husband was on the 101st floor when one of the planes struck. It was really interesting to hear her perspective in terms of why she decided to come down and take part in the celebrations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIANE MASEROLI, HUSBAND KILLED IN 9/11 ATTACKS: I feel a sense of relief, a peacefulness also. CARROLL: Is there really a sense of relief? Because I think of, you know, a lot of people who lost loved ones on that day might have conflicting feelings on a day like today when you see all the folks that were down here celebrating, for obvious reasons, but is that the emotion you're feeling most?
MASEROLI: I feel a bunch of different -- of course, I'm sad, I'm missing him all the time, but I feel that justice is done and that's a great feeling for me. And I do feel some overall calm that I haven't felt in almost 10 years.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: And, Michael, as you saw in that interview there, you can get a real sense of what the crowds were like. I mean, where I'm standing right now, you could not have been standing in this way, because there would have been people all around us. It was really incredible to see everyone coming down here.
And the common theme that I think that we got from a number of folks that we spoke to is everyone really felt like they were taking part in history, in a sense. Being down here and being with everyone. That was the overwhelming sense that we got from the folks that we spoke to.
And there was another point as well. It was really a sense of closure, when you spoke to some of the -- some of the veterans who were here, some of the first responders who came down, even a 19-year- old student that we spoke to, who was only in the fourth grade when everything happened 10 years ago today at this very spot.
Everyone was in agreement in that, now that this has finally happened, some people can finally get a sense of closure and it was just fascinating to be down here as all of it was taking place -- Michael.
HOLMES: Jason, did you get a sense of realism, too, though, from the crowd, that while there was that obvious outpouring of joy, even relief that also in the big picture, the war goes on?
CARROLL: Most definitely. Definitely a dose of realism as well. I think after something like this happens, obviously, people temper the excitement and the jubilation with a sense of realism.
You know, especially from one of the veterans that we spoke to. He said to me, you know, I definitely feel like I can celebrate now, but there is sort of a sense of, what next? And what might happen next.
But at least for a moment, I think, for some of the people who are down here, it was definitely a sense of happiness and cause for celebration.
HOLMES: Jason Carroll at Ground Zero. Thanks.
Well, the news that Osama bin Laden is dead may not have brought closure to all families of those killed on 9/11, but it has brought something of a sense of relief. You remember that United Flight 93 that crashed into a Pennsylvania field after being hijacked by al Qaeda terrorists. Forty passengers and crew members were killed.
Gordon Felt, the president of the Families of Flight 93, issued this statement after bin Laden's killing. I'm going to quote him now.
"This is important news for us and for the world. It can not ease our pain or bring back our loved ones. It does bring a measure of comfort that the mastermind of the September 11th tragedy and the face of global terror can no longer spread his evil."
COSTELLO: OK. Let's get to the raid now.
First of all, here's a look inside the mansion where Osama bin Laden was killed, possibly in this very room. ABC's "Good Morning America" showed footage of these pictures earlier. It's a pretty graphic scene. It appears to be a bedroom. You can see a great deal of blood on the floor. There are broken computers around.
ABC also reports there was another room full, like I said, of broken computers and that the hard drives had been ripped out.
Now let's break down some of the details on the raid. And new information that Barbara Starr gathered just moments ago.
And, Barbara, you just mentioned on "AMERICAN MORNING" that this was a kill mission. Does that mean that the -- that the U.S. government didn't want to capture Osama bin Laden alive?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: I think it's fair to say they had no interest in capturing him alive, Carol.
A U.S. official telling us a short time ago, directly, this was, quote, "a kill operation." That was the mission for the Special Forces going in by helicopter. Forty minutes on the ground.
When you look at those pictures, U.S. troops had no interest in a fair firefight. They were there to do their job, kill Osama bin Laden, and get out. Once he started resisting, there was no question about it, killed by a gunshot to the head.
They are very certain it was U.S. troops that killed him. There was no suicide, no -- from his own people. It was U.S. troops. They know this, because we now know that there was secure radio communications between the team on the ground and U.S. government officials.
The CIA -- CIA director Leon Panetta essentially was leading the operation as it unfolded, monitoring the situation from his headquarters in Virginia, just outside of Washington.
CIA officials monitoring, we are told, the reaction was -- by a U.S. official that the reaction was jubilant when they got that secure radio transmission that they finally got Osama bin Laden. What we are looking for today is to see if the White House makes the decision to release photographs of bin Laden dead.
I've talked to two officials who have seen those photos and they say if those photos come out in public, you will have no question, you will recognize the dead face of Osama bin Laden -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Just a couple of things. We know a U.S. bullet killed Osama bin Laden, he was shot in the side of the head, and as he fell, I'm sure that's what they mean by you can still recognize this dead man as Osama bin Laden. The other part is, is they already buried Osama bin Laden at sea.
Why did they do that, Barbara?
STARR: Well, look, this man is an iconic figure in his world of terrorism. What they wanted to do is to make sure that his burial site could not become a shrine, a place for terrorists to gather, or even a propaganda recruiting truly for more terrorists.
Basically, the goal here was to wipe him off the face of the earth, to have no location where people could rally and terrorism could be discussed, recruited at his gravesite. It would be a huge propaganda site perhaps for those who are still members of al Qaeda. So they wanted to basically just wipe him off the face of the earth and that's what they did.
COSTELLO: Much or on this later. Barbara Starr reporting live from the Pentagon. Thanks.
HOLMES: The United States has spent more than a decade -- well over a decade looking for bin Laden. He was indeed the face of the war on terror. Now that he is gone, the post-bin Laden world begins.
Next up, our experts will tell us what this means for the war on terror, the campaign in Afghanistan, and the future of al Qaeda.
COSTELLO: We're showing you reaction from all over the globe to Osama bin Laden's death. This is from the U.S. military academy at West Point. You're going to see one cadet get ready to make the big announcement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Attention, all cadets. Attention, all cadets. Osama bin Laden is dead. We got him.
CROWD: USA! USA!
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Well, you can hear the cheers. Chuck Nad (ph) is the senior cadet who spread -- who made that announcement. He tells us curfew at West Point is normally around 11:30 p.m., but people were out until 1:00 this morning. And as you can see they were celebrating.
Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces just 30 miles north of Pakistan's capital of Islamabad.
Joining me now with a view from Pakistan is our correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh.
You're in Islamabad. Have you ever seen this mansion, Nick?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, I haven't seen this mansion, actually, but I am hearing some very interesting news from a Pakistani intelligence official.
And now he has said to me that the way bin Laden was tracked down involved intelligence primarily developed on Pakistani information, he says. This basically had to do with electronic and phone tracking.
Now he says this information was regularly passed from the Pakistanis to the Americans and he said basically that when it comes to this particular mansion, what was happening around there, that he referred to how the Pakistanis had dropped the ball. And had slipped off their radar, but the Americans had picked up on this particular series of data and begun to analyze it, from September of last year.
Now this seems to focus around an individual who came and left from the compound, a courier. We're not clear the nationality or the age or the -- exactly what -- exactly what he was doing there. I'm presuming that he would have been used to ferry information back and forth from Osama bin Laden himself. But he seems to have been the focus of these phone taps.
We're also understanding that as far as Pakistani intelligence is concerned, bin Laden kept an almost invisible footprint in that compound. He did not meet with other militants. He really kept himself to himself absolutely.
Another interesting point I think to make as well is this senior Pakistani intelligence official is also saying that the Americans came into Pakistan undetected. That when these helicopters arrived over the compound, Pakistan was not aware of their presence. Of course, they were aware of the time they left because of the (INAUDIBLE) over 40 minutes. But clear today that, essentially, Pakistan is saying, its electronic intelligence passed to the Americans helped the Americans track down bin Laden.
COSTELLO: So, Nick, what you're saying, it was a joint operation a couple of months ago, and then, suddenly, America, like, went on its own and they conducted this raid without the help of the Pakistanis?
WALSH: This is what they're saying. I think you can imagine a sort of electronic intercepts, for example, the Pakistani intelligence, regularly passing on information of interest to the Americans. The Americans may perhaps not always say what elements of interest to them or what they're doing with it. The Pakistanis they say they dropped the ball. They weren't focusing on this particular place, but clearly, the Americans were, and this eventually seems to be how they tracked it down.
But, yes, when it came to this mission, which we now know was a kill mission, was an order directly from the president to take bin Laden out, that that does appear to have been an entirely unilaterally American action, although based upon intelligence provided to them earlier on by the Pakistanis, so say the Pakistanis.
COSTELLO: Fascinating. Nick Paton Walsh, reporting live from Islamabad.
So, with bin Laden out of the picture, o where does the war of terror go from here?
HOLMES: Yes. Let's talk about that with CNN national security analyst, Peter Bergen. He interviewed Osama bin Laden, of course, back in 1997. CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank is with us as well. And we also have CNN national security contributor, Fran Townsend, with us.
You know, first, let's kick off and talk a little bit, Peter Bergen, about what this means. Does Osama bin Laden, he's a figurehead, he was an inspiration -- was he an operational impact at all?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Of course, he was. I mean, to say that he wasn't in operational control of his network is to ignore the global communications revolution. Since 9/11, bin Laden's released at least 30 videotapes and audiotapes, many of which have had direct instructions to al Qaeda or its affiliates and other members of the jihadi movement around the world. These were never secret communications.
They were things like, hey, we're going to -- we want to take revenge against the cartoonist who painted offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Bin Laden made that charge in 2008, as a result of which there were all sorts of attacks against the Danish cartoonish who painted these cartoons and also attempts to attack the Danish newspaper that put out these cartoons.
So, you know, in U.S. military parlance, we talk about commanders' intent. You don't need -- General Petraeus doesn't talk over foot soldier in Afghanistan about what's required. He puts out general instructions to his followers. And this is what bin Laden has been doing before 9/11 and since. Of course, he wasn't picking up the phone to do that.
One of the -- the fact that it was couriers, that basically led to bin Laden, was, of course, the only way we were going to find him because he was in a catch-22. He had to communicate a little bit, and the only way he could do that without electronic communications, which could be intercepted, was through couriers.
And I'm quite skeptical about what Nick Paton Walsh has been told by the Pakistanis, because, of course, they would say that. Pakistan has done a great deal of work in the war on terrorism. But I think in this specific instance, that doesn't sound quite right -- particularly given the fact that the administration has been very clear, the Pakistanis were given absolutely no forms of heads up about this operation. It was kept incredibly tightly held within the U.S. government, forget about what other governments. So, that doesn't seem entirely plausible.
COSTELLO: Right. And I want to talk to Fran a little bit more about that because -- what does that say about the relationship between Pakistan and the United States, that Pakistan was essentially left out of this mission?
FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Carol, that is the product of our experience, going back across, at least two, and probably three administrations.
The Pakistanis have not always been reliable partners. Oftentimes, you would share information and either nothing would be done with it on the Pakistan side, or information would leak out and you would lose the opportunity to conduct an operation. And that's not always been true, but it has been true often enough that you could understand U.S. officials being reluctant to share this information.
Carol, one other thing, Peter mentioned about videotapes issued by bin Laden. One of the things we haven't talked about is the possibility, just as the U.S. prepared for the killing of bin Laden over the course of a decade, bin Laden had to have known that he was a target. And so, the thing we will wait to see now is, is there a martyrdom video? Is there a video that bin Laden prepared prior to his death that would be released in the event he was killed?
And that -- you know, we will come to know that in the days ahead.
HOLMES: Paul Cruickshank, let's bring you in on the discussion. You know, one of the things about fighting al Qaeda, it's difficult to fight an ideology. And that's pretty much what al Qaeda is, a very much diffused operation, a franchise operation, if you'd like. One would imagine there's going to be reprisal.
How effective would al Qaeda be?
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, in the short time, there might be reprisals. Al Qaeda may try to have revenge for the death of their leader. So, we're entering a period of damage right now.
And the reminder of that danger was just last week with the arrests in the Dusseldorf, Germany, a major al Qaeda plot to attack Germany foiled last week. So, al Qaeda still has the ability to train Western recruits in the tribal areas of Pakistan and send them to launch attacks in the West, Europe, and the United States.
But now that bin Laden is gone, al Qaeda really has lost its dominant force, its strategic guide. And bin Laden, in past years, has really signed off on the biggest al Qaeda operations. For example, the 2006 airline plot -- according to Western intelligence officials, and a plot last fall against Europe. So, bin Laden has still been operationally involved in some of these bigger attempts, Michael.
HOLMES: Yes. Paul Cruickshank, Peter Bergen, and Fran Townsend -- thanks. We'll be checking in with you later.
COSTELLO: Thanks to all of you. There are some of the haunting images of the 9/11 attacks. A stunned Wall Street reels from nearby attacks. Today, we'll see how the markets are reacting to news of Osama bin Laden's death.
COSTELLO: We are expecting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to speak any moment now from Washington. When she begins speaking, of course, we'll bring that to you live.
The news that Osama bin Laden was killed spread quickly, even to Citizens Bank Park, where the Philadelphia Phillies were playing the New York Mets.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
COSTELLO: Oh, yes. Fans spontaneously broke out in chants of "USA, USA," during the game. But as "The New York Times" reports, the players were apparently the last to hear the news. "The Times" quotes the Mets' David Wright (ph) as saying, "I don't like to give Philly fans too much credit, but they got this one right."
On 9/11, the New York City Fire Department lost 433 of its own, and the FDNY family still bears the scars.
Thomas Von Essen Eisen was fire commissioner at the time. He was on the scene at Ground Zero to witness Osama bin Laden's carnage. He now joins us live on the phone.
THOMAS VON ESSEN, FORMER FDNY COMMISSIONER (via telephone): Hi, Carol.
COSTELLO: I've heard from so many people who woke up this morning and said, "Did I hear that right, Osama bin Laden dead? Did I hear it right?" Did you have the same reaction?
VON ESSEN: Yes. Of course, hours last night, you know, watching it and listening to it, talking to people, getting all kinds of calls. So many different reactions and so much excitement. It's a good thing. It's a good day.
COSTELLO: We heard from Barbara Starr that this was a kill mission. In other words, the U.S. government wanted Osama bin Laden dead.
Are there any regrets that he wasn't brought back to this country alive to be tried?
VON ESSEN: Not on my part. I'm really glad that we don't have to go through that -- that charade and the danger it brings to other people and the pain it will -- this will be quick for the families. This is -- I doubt you'll see too many firefighter families jumping in the street with joy, but they will feel a sense of relief and a sense of gratitude, and a sense of, you know, that it's gone. That that part is over. It drives me crazy when I watch them have to relive the suffering, every day, just imaging how many years it would go on, and we'd have him on trial, and then there would have to be a place to bury him and have a memorial.
And this, I think, of course, arguable. People have different feelings. But I think and I think most of the families will be very glad that this is over and it will help them a little bit.
You know, it's a scar that's always there, and it always hurts. But the time is helping most of the families.
COSTELLO: I wanted to ask you about this, too, because I think it's been a long time since most Americans actually feared Osama bin Laden. Do you think that fear is part of the relief that he is dead, or is that not a factor?
VON ESSEN: I don't think it's fear. We've always been angry and we feel that, you know, the people protecting us now are doing a better job of being aware of al the dangers and trying to prevent them from being acted out.
But as Commissioner Kelly said yesterday, this is -- it's always here. And we're lucky that some of these events that we caught this people, that have not turned into, you know, big, big tragedies. So, we've been lucky and I think we still need to be very vigilant.
I hope that some of your experts are right that this will be the beginning of the -- kind of the end of his era and his ability to recruit and build his dynasty of death. But I'm more skeptical. I think that we have this terrorism here for many, many years to come, whether it's him or it's somebody else. And I think we have to be very concerned about that.
COSTELLO: Well, we always have to keep a mind, that there are other signs of hope, like what's happening in Egypt and Tunisia and Yemen and all over the Middle East. And that certainly is a factor with defeating forces like al Qaeda, too.
Thomas Von Essen, thank you so much for joining us this morning. We appreciate it.
HOLMES: You know, back when Osama bin Laden was fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, he made clear that one of the pillars of his strategy was economic, to financially bleed the enemy. And when he plotted the 9/11 attacks, part of the aim was to throw Wall Street into turmoil.
Let's see how the financial markets are responding to news of his death.
CNN's Richard Quest awaiting the opening bell.
What do you see, my friend?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The opening bell, just about, oh, 90 seconds or so from now. Michael, we are expecting a -- I would hardly say bullish or robust open, but the market is expected to be slightly higher. Anyway, up to 100 points up to the good is what is being seen at the moment. And that might seem muted compared to what has taken place, and the magnitude and the enormity of what -- of the news today.
But put into perspective, the Dow and the economy of the United States, and, in fact, the whole measure of capitalism is very different to that what it was some 10 years ago. The opening bell now being rang on Wall Street. Let's pause for a moment.
QUEST: A reminder that after 9/11, the Dow Jones fell some 7 percent in the -- after the four days of closure, six days in total.
QUEST: The market is now open on the day after the announcement that Osama Bin Laden has been killed. The Dow Jones Industrials are open and it's a gain of -- well, it's such early times, a mere dozen or so points, a tenth of a percentage point.
Way too early to make any prognostications over how the day's going to go, Michael. But you can expect, whatever the final number, they know here on Wall Street and down by the financial capital of world, they know that this was an attack on them, and so, therefore, any response is to the good.
HOLMES: Richard Quest, thanks. We'll check in with you later.
COSTELLO: As I told you a short time ago, we are awaiting word from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. When she begins speaking, we'll bring those remarks to you live.
Also, a team of Navy SEALS is credited with killing Bin Laden. Coming up in just about five minutes, we'll talk to a former Navy SEAL, an officer, who has been in the terrorist leader's Torabora Cave. We'll ask him how these highly trained warriors operate.
HOLMES: And welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world, as we continue our coverage of the death of Osama Bin Laden. I'm Michael Holmes from CNN International.
COSTELLO: And I'm Carol Costello. We are standing by for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She is supposed to speak at any moment now, is that right, Rebecca?
Yes. She's about to speak at any moment. Are we going to wait for her to speak or are we going on? We're going to wait for her to speak now. A lot of officials have been coming out and talking about this.
Lawmakers from, of course, around the United States coming out and saying that they're relieved that Osama Bin Laden has been killed. Congratulating President Obama, putting aside this partisanship, terrible partisanship that's been going on in America.
HOLMES: And Hillary Clinton, of course, has been keenly involved in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden for many years now and it's going to be interesting to hear what she has to say about it.
The key going forward is what it ultimately means in the fight against al Qaeda and we were saying before, that this is not an organization with a headquarters and a hierarchy and a structure and a CEO. And while Osama Bin Laden has played a very big role, what does it mean going forward?
COSTELLO: Hillary Clinton just walked in the room, she's speaking, let's listen.
(JOINED IN PRGORESS)
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Osama Bin Laden is dead and justice has been done. And today I want to say a few words about what this means for our efforts going forward.
First, I want to offer my thoughts and prayers to the thousands of families whose loved ones were killed in Osama Bin Laden's campaign of terror and violence, from the embassy bombings in Africa to the strike on the USS Cole to the attacks of September 11th, 2001, and so many more.
These were not just attacks against Americans, although we suffered grievous losses, these were attacks against the whole world. In London and Madrid, Bali, Istanbul, and many other places, innocent people, most of them Muslims, were targeted in markets and mosques, in subway stations and on airplanes.
Each attack motivated by a violent ideology that holds no value for human life or regard for human dignity. I know that nothing can make up for the loss of the victims or fill the voids they left, but I hope their families can now find some comfort in the fact that justice has been served.
Second, I want to join the president in honoring the courage and commitment of the brave men and women who serve our country and have worked tirelessly and relentlessly for more than a decade to track down and bring Osama Bin Laden, this terrorist, to justice.
From our troops and our intelligence experts, to our diplomats and our law enforcement officials, this has been a broad, deep, very impressive effort.
Here at the State Department, we have worked to forge a worldwide anti-terror network. We have drawn together the effort and energy of friends, partners, and allies on every continent. Our partnerships, including our close cooperation with Pakistan, have helped put unprecedented pressure on al Qaeda and its leadership.
Continued cooperation will be just as important in the days ahead because even as we mark this milestone, we should not forget that the battle to stop al Qaeda and its syndicate of terror will not end with the death of bin laden. Indeed, we must take this opportunity to renew our resolve and redouble our efforts.
In Afghanistan, we will continue taking the fight to al Qaeda and their Taliban allies. While working to support the Afghan people as they build a stronger government and begin to take responsibility for their own security.
We are implementing the strategy for transition, approved by NATO at the summit in Lisbon, and we are supporting an afghan-led political process that seeks to isolate al Qaeda and end the insurgency. Our message to the Taliban remains the same, but today, it may have even greater resonance.
You cannot wait us out. You cannot defeat us, but you can make the choice to abandon al Qaeda and participate in a peaceful, political process. In Pakistan, we are committed to supporting the people and government, as they defend their own democracy from violent extremism.
Indeed, as the president said, bin laden had also declared war on Pakistan. He had ordered the killings of many innocent Pakistani men, women, and children. In recent years, the cooperation between our governments, militaries, and law enforcement agencies increased pressure on al Qaeda and the Taliban, and this progress must continue.
And we are committed to our partnership. History will record that Bin Laden's death came at a time of great movements towards freedom and democracy. At a time when the people across the Middle East and North Africa are rejecting the extremist narratives and charting a path of peaceful progress, based on universal rights and aspirations.
There is no better rebuke to al Qaeda and its heinous ideology. All over the world, we will press forward, bolstering our partnerships, strengthening our networks, investing in a positive vision of peace and progress, and relentlessly pursuing the murders who target innocent people.
The fight continues and we will never waver. Now, I know there are some who doubted this day would ever come, who questioned our resolve and our reach. But let us remind ourselves, this is America. We rise to the challenge, we persevere, and we get the job done.
I am reminded, especially, today, of the heroism and humanity that marked the difficult days after 9/11. In New York, where I was a senator, our community was devastated, but we pulled through. Ten years later, that American spirit remains as powerful as ever, and it will continue to prevail.
So this is a day, not only for Americans, but also for people all over the world who look to a more peaceful and secure future. Yes, with continued vigilance. But more so with growing hope and renewed faith in what is possible. Thank you all, very much.
HOLMES: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton there saying justice has been done, but saying that the threat from what she calls a syndicate of terror will not end with the death of Osama Bin Laden.
She had a message for the Taliban, you cannot wait us out, you cannot defeat us, but you can make the choice to abandon al Qaeda and take part in a peaceful political process.
COSTELLO: And she also said, America will rise to the challenge every time.
Coming up, the father of a young man killed in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center joins us with his reaction to Bin Laden's death. That interview, after the break.
HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone. More than 2,600 people were killed in the terror attack on New York's World Trade Center towers. Among them, 23-year-old, James Gadiel. He worked on the 103rd floor of the north tower.
COSTELLO: His father, Peter, is president of The 9/11 Families for a Secure America and he joins us now from New York. Welcome, Peter.
PETER GADIEL, SON KILLED ON 9/11: Thanks for having me on.
COSTELLO: We just heard from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that she said that America will rise to the challenge. You cannot wait us out. She sees this as a victory for America. Do you see the killing of Osama bin Laden as a victory for your son?
GADIEL: I wouldn't call it a victory, exactly. Perhaps, you know, end of -- end of one -- one segment of this whole miserable affair, but I think that we should not lose sight of the fact that the Clinton administration bears a good part of the responsibility for what happened on 9/11.
The -- the attorney general at the time, Janet Reno, and Jamie Gorelick and others within that administration who created that wall that prevented the CIA from talking to the FBI and the FBI counterintelligence from talking to the CIA -- the FBI criminal division. And this created the block that prevented those divisions from connecting the dots, as it was put then.
I think that the -- the fact that the Clinton administration failed to deal with the first 9/11 attacks as a terrorism act instead of a criminal act, helped bin Laden pursue his -- mass -- mass murder. And I think it's extraordinary.
COSTELLO: Do you feel better about how the Obama -- do you feel better about the Obama administration has handled this?
GADIEL: Not really. I mean here's an administration that once has insisted on prosecuting KSM and the rest of those people in civilian courts in the United States. And again, they just don't get it.
And I -- I think that the -- the failures of our government, not just the Democratic administrations of Clinton and Obama, but the Bush administration as well. What we see here is that people in the federal government can escape responsibility for their malfeasance. I think the fact that Secretary Clinton is now Secretary of State, that this woman has been named Secretary of State is a reward for the malfeasance of her husband's administrations is a perfect example of the incompetence and the cover-your-tail mentality of our government.
And I want to make sure -- to make sure it's clear to people that this has to do with the -- the Bush administration just as completely. We have wide open borders --
COSTELLO: Sir, sir I understand where you come from, but just for this day, in this moment, did the mission go off as you --
GADIEL: No, I'm sorry to be -- I am -- I hate to be a contrarian, but from what I have seen of the almost the circus-like atmosphere down at Ground Zero and the -- the -- I'm grateful for the fact that Americans are pleased that our -- our military accomplished this deed.
But it is a small part, a very large symbolic part, but the war has gone on for many years in -- in great, for great reason, because our government failed to deal properly with it. And the fact that now that they have taken out this monster, it doesn't alter the fact that our government has failed us in very many ways, in very many departments, the state department, the Justice Department, elsewhere in our government through numerous administrations.
And so people should not take their eye off what is the primary -- primary point here, which is the failing of our government.
Now, I'm not a 9/11 truther. I don't want anybody to misunderstood me that I'm saying our government knew in advance of the -- of what was planned on 9/11. But there were plenty of warnings that people should have been paying attention to and they weren't.
COSTELLO: I'm sure most of us would not disagree with that. Peter Gadiel, thank you so much for joining us this morning. We appreciate it.
HOLMES: Coming up, we're going to have more on what the U.S. did with bin Laden's body. That's next.
HOLMES: A U.S. official tells CNN DNA testing is underway on samples taken from Osama bin Laden's body. The government a little cagey though on the disposition of his remains. We've heard some. Let's hear more.
Zain Verjee joining us now from London. What have you been hearing, Zain?
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hi Michael. Well according to one U.S. official speaking to CNN, Osama bin Laden has been buried at sea. It's unclear that any more circumstances, any more details than just that. I spoke a short while ago, Michael, to an Islamic scholar who talked a little bit about Islamic burial laws.
And I was told essentially that being buried at sea is not the preferred way to go. Buried underground is the way that is more approved by Islamic law.
But there are certain circumstances like if you die at sea, you'll be buried at sea. Or if there's a danger that your body could be exhumed it's ok to be buried at sea. I was also told that, you know, one of the reasons here is that probably the United States does not want any kind of shrine to be created for Osama bin Laden, any kind of a hero worship situation.
So burying him at sea would take care of some of that. But there's still the possibility that many people who are his supporters would go to the place where he was killed and treat that as a shrine.
One other thing Michael that many people around the world and the United States are asking for is proof. The picture that he's dead, the video that proves he's gone.
HOLMES: Yes and -- and Zain one imagines, too, that the U.S. would have been very careful on how they treated the body after his death. And that there are certain Islamic rituals that go into preparing a body for burial, whether it's at sea or on land. And -- and -- and I imagine that that was taken into very much consideration.
VERJEE: It's likely to have been taken into consideration, absolutely. But we don't have enough information about what exactly was done in those particular moments. Islamic law says that almost immediately after death the body needs to be buried. And there are certain rituals and certain prayers, but we're hoping to get more information on that.
HOLMES: Indeed, Zain Verjee, thanks.
COSTELLO: A team of Navy Seals is credited with killing bin Laden. Coming up in five minutes, we'll talk to a former Navy Seal officer who has been in the terrorist leader's Tora Bora cave. We'll ask him how these highly-trained warriors operate.
COSTELLO: It seemed like it would never happen, but when people in the United States found out Osama bin Laden was dead there was an outpouring of emotion all across America. People gathered in spontaneous celebrations. Outside the White House, at Ground Zero, the Times Square, and Boston. People celebrated the death of the man who inflicted such pain on the American spirit.
HOLMES: Two dozen Navy Seals took part in the operation to find Osama bin Laden. Let's see how these highly skilled units operate.
Kaj Larsen spent five years as a Seal. The former Lieutenant led a team in covert operations overseas. Kaj, you even reported from Tora Bora, which is a pretty hot spot at one time. You were in bin Laden's cave. Are you surprised where they found him?
KAJ LARSEN, FORMER NAVY SEAL OFFICER: I was not surprised. I think being at Tora Bora after Osama bin Laden left, there was the impression that he was hidden away in a cave somewhere. But many people within the intelligence community and many counterterrorism professionals including my friend Peter Bergen who you had on a few minutes ago believed that the logistical capacity to hide bin Laden intimated that he was probably most likely in a village or a hamlet. Somewhere with enough resources to be able to protect his -- his movements and his logistics. And I think what you saw late last night was -- was the proof of -- that that theory was correct.
HOLMES: Now when it comes to carrying out an operation like this, I mean, everybody knows that there is a lot that goes into it. Give people a sense of how much.
LARSEN: Well, as you heard the President speak on last night, this was an extraordinary lengthy and meticulously planned operation. This was months and months of intelligence gathering. The adage in the community is that intelligence drives operations, intelligence operations and I think you saw that this was the case. Once the intelligence was confirmed, then it was -- it was the execution of the mission was the next stage of the game.
At that point, once his identity and his location were verified and confirmed, this is exactly what Navy Seals do. They -- they execute direct action missions. This was a classic direct action mission, and you saw the results play out.
HOLMES: Kaj Larsen, I hope to talk to you again on this. I appreciate your time.