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May 3, 2011

The Killing of Osama bin Laden

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The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Tipton). Under the Speaker's announced policy of January 5, 2011, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Burton) is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.

Mr. BURTON of Indiana. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This is a momentous occasion. The headlines all across the country say the same thing: Osama bin Laden has been killed and justice has been done. I think everybody ought to celebrate the tenacity of the American military and this administration as well as the Bush administration for being dedicated to bringing this man to justice for the things that he has done not only to the United States but to the entire world.

I would like to start off this Special Order by giving a little bit of history of Osama bin Laden and what he has done. In 1990, he started criticizing the Saudi regime for allowing the Americans to establish a base of operations there. In 1991, he was expelled from Saudi Arabia and dis en fran chised or disowned by his family. He immediately went out and started working to establish al Qaeda, to establish a terrorist network that would kill people who didn't agree with his views and to terrorize the world until they started acceding to his wishes.

Let me just read a few of these things, and these are widely attributed to al Qaeda, or al Qaeda-inspired groups, which was headed by Osama bin Laden.

In December of 1992, there was a bomb attack that killed two people at Gold Mihor Hotel in Aden, Yemen. One hundred U.S. military personnel were stationed in the hotel awaiting deployment into Somalia for Operation Restore Hope.

In February of 1993, a 500-kilogram bomb was detonated beneath the World Trade Center--we all remember that--in New York City. Six were killed and 1,000 were injured.

In March of 1993, 250 people were killed and 700 injured in a series of 13 bomb explosions that took place in Bombay, India.

In October of 1993, 18 U.S. servicemen were killed in the Black Hawk Down incident in Somalia. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for arming the Somali factions who battled and killed those U.S. forces.

In November of 1995, five Americans were killed in the bombing of the U.S. military advisory facility in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

In June of 1996, 19 U.S. airmen were killed in the bombing of Khobar Towers near Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

In November of 1997, 62 people were killed by gunmen in the massacre at Luxor in Egypt.

In August of 1998, 223 people were killed when the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were attacked.

In October of 2000, 17 U.S. sailors aboard the USS Cole were killed in a ship-borne suicide bombing while the Cole was docked in Aden, Yemen.

On September 11, 2001, 2,974 Americans and others were killed when hijacked planes are flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I don't think America will ever forget that day.

In December of 2001, attempted bombing of an American Airlines flight from Paris to Boston by al Qaeda operative Richard Reid, a/k/a the Shoe-Bomber.

In October of 2002, 200 people killed and 240 injured in a series of bombings in the tourist district of Kuta, Bali, Indonesia.

In November of 2003, 57 people killed and 700 injured by four truck bombs in Istanbul, Turkey.

In February 2004, 116 people killed in the bombing and subsequent sinking of the ferry SuperFerry 14 in the Philippines.

In March 2004, 191 people were killed and 2,000 wounded in a bombing of the Madrid commuter train system.

In May of 2004, 22 people killed and 25 injured in attacks on two oil industry installations, the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation building and the Petroleum Centre near Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

In July 2005, 56 killed and 700 injured in an attack on the London transportation sector. Three bombs were detonated on the London Underground and one on a double decker bus.

In July 2005, 88 killed and 200 injured in a series of bomb blasts in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, located on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula.

In November 2005, 60 were killed and hundreds wounded in a suicide bomber attack on three hotels in Amman, Jordan.

In July 2006, 209 killed and 700 injured in a series of seven bomb blasts on the Suburban Railway in Mumbai (Bombay) India.

In April 2007, 33 people killed in twin bombings in Algiers, Algeria.

In June of 2008, six people killed and several injured in a car bomb attack against the Danish Embassy

in Pakistan. Al Qaeda issued a statement after the bombings claiming that the attack was a response to the 2005 publication of the Mohammed cartoons.

In December 2009, an attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 to Detroit by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

In May 2010, an attempted car bomb in Times Square, New York. Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old Pakistan-born resident of Bridgeport, Connecticut, admitted attempting the car bombing and said he had trained at a Pakistani terrorist training camp.

In October 2010, an attempted bombing of a U.S.-bound cargo plane. Two packages, each containing a bomb consisting of 300 to 400 grams of plastic explosives and a detonating mechanism, were found on separate cargo planes. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula took responsibility for that plot.

April 28, 2011, 16 killed in a bomb attack on a market in Marrakesh, Morocco.

April 29, 2011, an attempted attack in Germany. Police arrested three alleged members of al Qaeda who had been planning attacks in the country.

This is the legacy that Osama bin Laden leaves behind: blood, murder, maiming, all across the world because he had radical views that he did not believe the rest of the world should not encompass and enjoy. This is a terrible tragedy, a terrible thing that occurred

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in this world by one human being. He has been brought to justice now, and we should compliment President Bush and President Obama for being tenacious in going after this man.

One of the things--and I will talk about this later after I yield to my colleague--that I think should be sent around the world is this message: No matter where you go, no matter where you hide, if you're a terrorist who attacks the free world, we will come and get you. The allied countries who fight terrorism, including the United States, will not rest until you're brought to justice. It took us 10 years to get Osama bin Laden, but we got him. I want to thank once again President Bush for taking the initiative originally and President Obama for signing the attack message just a couple of days ago to make sure we brought him to justice.

With that, I would like to yield to my colleague from Indiana's Third District for whatever time he may consume.

Mr. STUTZMAN. I thank my colleague, Congressman Burton, for his comments.

What a momentous day, as he said, that we can all take courage and to look to the future, but as well as celebrate the ending of a chapter that has caused so much pain and so much fear in the lives of many Americans.

Three weeks after my wife and I had our first born child, our American homeland was attacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001. As I held my baby boy, I knew that I had to do something, and ensuring the future security of my two sons is the reason I ran for the U.S. Congress.

The terrorist attacks on 9/11 tested our security, our defense, and our fortitude in protecting our country, but we have not stood idly by. For nearly 10 years now, our American soldiers have given their lives every day in Operation New Dawn, Operation Enduring Freedom, and now Operation Odyssey Dawn to protect our Nation and to secure justice. Their service demands respect and admiration.

[Time: 19:20]

Last night, justice was served. bin Laden has been the leader and the symbol of al Qaeda for more than 20 years, continually plotting attacks against the United States and its allies.

The word ``Qaeda'' means foundation or base. Osama bin Laden was the head of this foundation, the face of terrorism around the world, a foundation upon which its members expected to erect a vigorous, widespread network spreading terror around the world.

Well, folks, we have beheaded their foundation. We have beheaded al Qaeda. And should they continue, we will be glad to bring justice and help them join their leader once again if they so choose.

We must continue to fight. Our third President, Thomas Jefferson, said this: ``Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.''

We must use our strength and cultivate our relationships with the people around the world to ensure we take a stand against cruel dictatorships, tyranny and radical Islam.

As I work with Congress and military commanders, I will fight to honor those who have died to secure our freedom because they deserve our utmost respect, and we should only be so grateful.

I congratulate the men and the women of our military and intelligence communities who have devoted their lives to this mission. For this, our soldiers have America's boundless gratitude.

I also want to commend and congratulate President Obama and President Bush for their determination and their willingness to continue the fight, to pursue Osama bin Laden, who has been the eluding terrorist, the face of terrorism around this world. And today, freedom has been victorious.

I am honored to represent the people of Indiana's Third District and am proud of Indiana's 14,700 members of the Indiana Army and Air National Guard. It is the dedication of these men and women and their families who have brought the leader of al Qaeda to justice and will continue to bring justice to those who seek to destroy freedom and destroy America.

As Winston Churchill once said: We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.

So, Mr. Speaker, today is one of those days that I didn't know that I would ever see, but stand here knowing that we have been victorious, but also know that the fight in front of us is not over with; that we will continue to be vigilant; that we will support our troops, our men and our women, our Commander-in-Chief in this fight on terrorism.

Mr. BURTON of Indiana. I thank my good friend, Congressman Stutzman, for his remarks, and I really appreciate you taking your time to come down here tonight.

Congressman Stutzman talked a little bit about the military, and I really appreciate that because we have thousands, hundreds of thousands of men and women in the military defending our freedoms all around the world, in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and we have them in Germany and we have them in Korea. We have them in bases all around the world making sure that the freedoms we enjoy today and tonight will be there tomorrow for us and our kids and our grandkids.

But tonight I'd like to read a little bit of an article that was written just yesterday by a fellow named Marc Ambinder with the National Journal. And I think it's really well done, and it points out all the hard work that went into going after Osama bin Laden.

The team that killed Osama bin Laden were members of the coun ter ter ror ism unit for the Navy, known as the Navy SEAL Team 6. It's a highly elusive group that was developed in the 1980s to rescue American hostages in Iran. They exist outside the military protocol and engage in operations that are at the highest level of classification. The fact that Team 6 is front page news today is a measure of how important the publicity about bin Laden's killing is to the U.S., because normally you don't hear about these guys.

The President gave the order on Friday morning for the operation to pursue bin Laden. The strike began early Sunday morning, at the Ghazi Air Base in Pakistan, the MH-60 helicopters made their way to Osama bin Laden's tightly guarded compound, which is 70 miles from the center of Islamabad.

The helicopter carrying the team of SEALs malfunctioned. Can you imagine that? They're over their target and the helicopter stops working. As it hovered outside the high walls, the pilot gently landed inside the walls of the 3-story condo, but he couldn't get the helicopter going again.

And yet the assault team disembarked to raid the massive, walled compound, prepared to take bin Laden dead or alive, even though they knew there was a chance they

wouldn't have a ride back. Their lives were at risk, and yet they went ahead and carried out their mission.

Bin Laden was discovered using women as human shields as American forces fired at him. One of the women was his wife. Bin Laden was shot in the face by the SEALs during a firefight after resisting capture. Three other males were killed along with bin Laden. One of them was his adult son.

With the team still in the compound, the commander on the ground told a remote commander that they had found bin Laden. The Special Forces blew up the malfunctioned chopper, helicopter, then escaped in a reinforcement close to 4:15 p.m., just 40 minutes after they landed.

The West Wing staff worked most of the day on the operation. President Obama joined senior national security officials in the Situation Room that afternoon as the firefight was monitored.

Leon Panetta, one of our old colleagues here, was in his conference room at the CIA headquarters, which he had turned into a conference center to give him constant contact with the tactical leaders of the strike team. And I want to compliment Leon as well. I hope he's paying attention to this.

Less than 12 hours after the raid, bin Laden's body was taken to the aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson, and he was buried in the North Arabian Sea overnight. A DNA match from the remains confirmed that bin Laden was dead at age 54.

And of course President Obama made the official announcement of his death from the East Room of the White House at 11:35 p.m., and he said what all of us really agree with: ``Justice has been done.''

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But we still have a lot of those guys out there that we have to watch out for; and the message needs to be sent again and again today and in the days to come that anybody that takes up the mantle of leadership like Osama bin Laden, we're going to go after them. And we have the elite military people, the Special Forces, the people in the Air Force, the Marines, and the Navy SEALs, that will get the job done. They know how to do it, and they are willing to risk their lives to get it done.

Mr. Speaker, I would now like to go through a minute-by-minute description of what happened. And once again, it's an article that was written on national security by the secret team that killed bin Laden. It was an article written for the National Journal by Marc Ambinder, and it's very well done. I'd like to go through this with my colleagues because it tells almost everything that took place during this operation.

``The two sides of the Joint Special Operations Command Challenge Coin, which was given out by the JSOC Commander, Vice Admiral William McRaven.

``From Ghazi Air Base in Pakistan, the modified MH-60 helicopters made their way to the garrison suburb of Abbottabad, about 70 miles from the center of Islamabad.''

[Time: 19:30]

``Aboard were Navy SEALs, flown across the border from Afghanistan, along with tactical signals, intelligence collectors, and navigators using highly classified hyperspectral imagers.

``After bursts of fire of over 40 minutes, 22 people were killed or captured. One of the dead was Osama bin Laden, done in by a double tap--boom, boom--to the left side of his face. His body was aboard the choppers that made the trip back. One had experienced mechanical failure and was destroyed by U.S. forces, military and White House officials tell National Journal.

``Were it not for this high-value target, it might have been a routine mission for the specially trained and highly mythologized SEAL Team Six, officially called the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, but known even to the locals at their home base Dam Neck in Virginia as just DevGru.

``This HVT was special, and the raids required practice, so they replicated the 1-acre compound. Trial runs were held in early April.

``DevGru belongs to the Joint Special Operations Command, an extraordinary and unusual collection of classified standing task forces and special missions units. They report to the President and operate worldwide based on the legal (or extra-legal) premises of classified Presidential directives. Though the general public knows about the special SEALs and their brothers in Delta Force, most JSOC missions never leak. We only hear about JSOC when something goes bad (a British aid worker is accidentally killed) or when something really big happens (a merchant marine captain is rescued at sea), and even then, the military remains especially sensitive about their existence. Several dozen JSOC operatives have died in Pakistan over the past several years.''

These are heroic people that go in and risk their lives on a daily basis on special operations to kill and destroy the enemy before they get to us.

``Their names are released by the Defense Department in the usual manner, but with a cover story--generally, they were killed in training accidents in eastern Afghanistan. That's the code.''

So they don't get the glory that is due them because they know that they have gone into a secret mission that cannot be exposed, and they risk their lives defending this country. And many of them will never be known, but they fought and died to save us all.

``How did the helicopters elude the Pakistani air defense network? Did they spoof transponder codes? Were they painted and tricked out with Pakistan Air Force equipment? If so--and we may never know--two other JSOC units, the Technical Application Programs Office and the Aviation Technology Evaluation Group, were responsible. These truly are the silent squirrels, never getting public credit and not caring one whit. Since 9/11, the JSOC units and their task forces have become the U.S. government's most effective and lethal weapon against terrorists and their networks, drawing plenty of unwanted, and occasionally unflattering, attention to themselves in the process.''

When things don't go exactly right, they get criticized, even though they are going in and risking their lives without being glorified or being well-known. And yet, when something goes wrong, they are criticized, but they rarely get the credit that's due them.

``JSOC costs the country more than $1 billion annually. The command has its critics, but it has escaped significant congressional scrutiny and has operated largely with impunity since 9/11. Some of its interrogators and operators were involved in torture and rendition''--and I don't believe that's the case. I would take issue with this part of the article, because I never did think waterboarding was torture. I think it was a system that was used to get information that would save us from terrorists, and that waterboarding may very well have led to the information that got Osama bin Laden a couple of days ago--``and the line between its intelligence-gathering activities and the CIA's has been blurred.

``But Sunday's operation provides strong evidence that the CIA and JSOC work well together. Sometimes intelligence needs to be developed rapidly, to get inside the enemy's operational loop. And sometimes it needs to be cultivated, grown as if it were a delicate bacteria in a petri dish.

``In an interview at CIA headquarters 2 weeks ago, a senior intelligence official said the two proud groups of American secret warriors had been `deconflicted and basically integrated'--finally--10 years after 9/11. Indeed, according to accounts given to journalists by five senior administration officials Sunday night, the CIA gathered the intelligence that led to bin Laden's location. A memo from CIA Director Leon Panetta sent Sunday night provides some hints of how the information was collected and analyzed. In it, he thanked the

National Security Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency for their help. NSA figured out, somehow, that there was no telephone or Internet service in the compound. How it did this without Pakistan's knowledge is a secret. The NGIA makes the military's maps but also develops their pattern recognition software--no doubt used to help establish, by February of this year, that the CIA could say `with high probability' that bin Laden and his family were living there.

``Recently, JSOC built a new Targeting and Analysis Center in Rosslyn, Virginia. Where the National Coun ter ter ror ism Center tends to focus on threats to the homeland, TAAC, whose existence was first disclosed by the Associated Press, focuses outward, on active `kinetic'--or lethal--counterterrorism missions abroad.

``That the Center could be stood up under the nose of some of the Nation's most senior intelligence officials without their full knowledge testifies to the power and reach of JSOC, whose size has tripled since 9/11. The command now includes more than 4,000 soldiers and civilians. It has its own intelligence division, which may or may not have been involved in last night's effort, and has gobbled up a number of free-floating Defense Department entities that allowed it to rapidly acquire, test, and field new technologies.

``Under a variety of standing orders, JSOC is involved in more than 50 current operations spanning a dozen countries, and its units, supported by so-called `white' or acknowledged, special operations entities like Rangers, Special Forces battalions, SEAL teams, and Air Force special ops units from the larger Special Operations Command, are responsible for most of the `kinetic' actions in Afghanistan.

``Pentagon officials are conscious of the enormous stress that 10 years of war have placed on the command. JSOC resources are heavily taxed by the operational tempo in Afghanistan and Pakistan, officials have said. The current commander, Vice Admiral William McRaven, and Major General Joseph Votel, McRaven's nominated replacement, have been pushing to add people and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance technology to areas outside the war theater where al Qaeda and its affiliates continue to thrive.

``Earlier this year, it seemed that the elite units would face the same budget

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pressures that the entire military was experiencing. Not anymore. The military found a way, largely by reducing contracting staff and borrowing others from Special Operations Command, to add 50 positions to the JSOC. And Votel wants to add several squadrons to the `Tier One' units--Delta and the SEALs.'' And, boy, he will have my vote for that.

``When General Stanley McChrystal became JSOC's commanding general in 2004, he and his intelligence chief, Major General Michael Flynn, set about transforming the way the subordinate units analyze and act on intelligence. Insurgents in Iraq were exploiting the slow decision loop that coalition commanders used, and enhanced interrogation techniques were frowned upon after the Abu Ghraib scandal. But the hunger for actionable tactical intelligence on insurgents was palpable.''

I want to add one more time, and this was not in the article, but I really believe when we are talking about dealing with terrorists and getting information that will stop terrorists from attacking us in the United States or elsewhere in the world, we ought to use whatever techniques that we possibly can to get that information. And I'm not talking about torture. Some of the newspaper people and news people that we see on television have actually experienced waterboarding on television to show how it works, and it was not torture and it is not torture, and we ought to use those techniques to make sure we protect our homeland and our people here and abroad.

``The way JSOC solved this problem remains a carefully guarded secret, but people familiar with the unit suggest that McChrystal and Flynn introduced hardened commandos to basic criminal forensic techniques and then used highly advanced and still-classified technology to transform bits of information into actionable intelligence.''

[Time: 19:40]

``One way they did this was to create forward-deployed fusion cells, where JSOC units were paired with intelligence analysts from the NSA and the NGA. Such analysis helped the CIA to establish with a high degree of probability that Osama bin Laden and his family were hiding in that compound where he was hit.

``These technicians could `exploit and analyze' data obtained from the battlefield instantly, using their access to the government's various biometric, facial-recognition, and voice-print databases. These cells also used highly advanced surveillance technology and computer-based pattern analysis to layer predictive models of insurgent behavior into real-time observations.

``The military has begun to incorporate these techniques across the services. And Flynn will soon be promoted to a job within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, where he will be tasked with transforming the way intelligence is gathered, analyzed, and utilized.''

That article tells just about everything about how this all came about and how it was carried out. But the one thing that isn't really hit hard enough, in my opinion, is the men and women in the military who do the job for us every single day. Sometimes we fight about spending in this body. We fight about who gets the money. But the one thing we should never fight about is the money that goes to our Armed Forces, our men and women who do risk their lives every single day.

My hat goes off to those who were in the command that got Osama bin Laden, and the people, the Navy SEALs that got the job done, even though their helicopter failed to work. They went in, 40 of them, and risked their lives, knowing that they might not come out. They got Osama bin Laden, they got 22 others, they got his body out of there, and they got back to freedom without any casualties.

So my hat goes off to you, Navy SEALs, and to all of those in the military who risk their lives every single day protecting and preserving our freedoms. And for those Special Ops guys in all the branches of the service, well done.

(House of Representatives - May 2, 2011)


House adjourns after Burton speech on bin Laden death
The House adjourned shortly before 7:45 p.m., after a special order speech by Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) congratulating the Obama administration for the early Monday morning killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

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