How Did Osama Bin Laden Live In Compound Within Pakistan?

One of the great reads today on yet another interesting spoke of the story.

But living in an urban area such as Abbottabad does require some contact with the outside world and a few people have spoken about the Bin Ladens’ habits and routines.

A newspaper hawker told the BBC that he delivered newspapers to the compound every day and at the end of each month his bill was promptly paid, always by the same man.

He never stepped inside the compound and his impression was that only one person lived there but, he added, that every now and then he saw a red pick-up vehicle, with a goat inside, being driven to the compound.

US officials said their long-term observation of the compound revealed that the inhabitants burned their rubbish inside the compound, rather than leaving it outside to be collected.

Another neighbour also told the BBC’s M Ilyas Khan that there was a domestic helper who lived in the area and who went into the compound to clean and to work in the kitchen. She divulged very few details but said that she never saw Osama Bin Laden in the house.

The residents of the compound clearly employed a number of domestic helpers. Abbottabad hospital staff have told the BBC Urdu service that among those being treated in the wake of the raid are two women believed to be maids employed by the family.

What Was On President Obama’s Mind When Planning To Kill Osama Bin Laden?

We all knew the ‘birther’ issue was pure nonsense, and yet the President Obama and the White House had to deal with it.   At the time Donald Trump was racing around the airwaves creating chaos over a birth certificate, the adults in the White House were working on a plan to make sure Osama Bin Laden was brought to justice.

One of the best reads this morning comes from Slate.  A portion is posted here.

In the timeline of the Bin Laden operation, we see just how closely the secret life of a president bumps against his public life. Though this operation was a special case, it puts in high relief an oft-forgotten truth about the presidency: The president is occupied by a lot more than the public can see.

This would seem obvious, but it gets lost in the endless assessments of whether the president is “showing leadership” on any given topic. Much of that coverage assumes a president with more time than he actually has, buffeted only by the facts we know.

During the period of intense focus on Bin Laden, other problems and issues the president was dealing with included: a government shutdown, a big speech on the budget, the start of his presidential campaign, the birth-certificate follies, and the bombing of Libya. Oh, and trying to “win the future.”

The most acute recent moments of compartmentalization for Obama had to have been Friday and Saturday. On Friday he gave the final order and then flew to Alabama to visit with families ravaged by the recent tornado. He ended the day in Florida visiting with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her astronaut husband. On Saturday he attended the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, where he had to tell jokes and sit through a comedy routine during which everyone watched his every facial twitch for insights into his psyche.

A president criticized for playing golf or spending time in Brazil on the eve of the Libyan invasion would have been relentlessly skewered for engaging in banter with the press on the eve of a dangerous military operation. But it wasn’t just Saturday night that the president had to keep his serious brain cordoned off from his less serious brain. During the final phase of the multiyear operation, Obama chaired the National Security Council on five occasions to discuss progress. A look at those five days tells the story of not just how quickly a president must switch between his public and private duties but also how silly some of the public calls for his attention must have seemed to him at the time.

Of all the secrets President Obama has had to carry, the details of the Bin Laden operation was probably one of the biggest. He may have had a special delight in bringing it to the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, where much of the audience lives to publish a president’s secrets before he can reveal them. A year earlier, as Obama spoke at the same dinner, the Times Square bomb plot was being foiled. Obama was informed of this shortly after he left the stage. The public wouldn’t know for a few hours. Unlike the dinner, such crises are not an annual event. For a president, though, they happen every day.

President Obama’s Poll Numbers Will Reflect American’s Views About Killing Osama Bin Laden

Nate Silver is the man I want to provide analysis on a daily basis concerning the world of politics.  But when something momentous happens, as it did Sunday with the killing of Osama Bin Laden, Silver is the only one that can translate the world of political chaos into a cogent snapshot of where we stand today, and where we might be headed tomorrow.

In part Nate Silver’s latest post includes the following.

I don’t want to get too carried away with this. The halo effect of a successful presidency can cause a president’s ratings to rise in a number of areas at once, which makes it difficult to deduce cause and effect. And the relative salience of different issues can wax and wane at different times. Up until 24 hours ago, both Mr. Obama and his Republican opponents seemed inclined to make the 2012 election be about the economy. More importantly, so did voters. That’s much better for the G.O.P. than a scenario in which national security had been receiving a greater degree of emphasis.

But Americans, contrary to the way they are sometimes characterized by pundits, can walk and chew gum and the same time — and they consider both foreign and domestic policy when they cast their ballots. The killing of Osama bin Laden is going to be perceived as unambiguously good news by almost all Americans. It makes it easier for Mr. Obama to make the case that the country has made progress since he took office.

Yes, Mr. Obama is still far from able to run commercials like those “Morning in America” ads Ronald Reagan used in 1984. Unless the economic indicators significantly outperform consensus expectations, the election is still liable to be fairly close, with Mr. Obama hardly assured of coming out on top.

But killing Osama bin Laden, the world’s most wanted terrorist, is going to be a point in Mr. Obama’s favor. I really don’t know exactly what impact it will have, and the magnitude of the bounce that Mr. Obama receives in the polls over the next few days and weeks may not shed much light on that question. But to claim that it will have no impact at all is as daft as claiming that Mr. Obama is now a shoo-in for re-election.

“Can You Imagine What’s On Osama Bin Laden’s Hard Drive?”

Tonight Politico reports an amazing discovery.

The assault force of Navy SEALs snatched a trove of computer drives and disks during their weekend raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, yielding what a U.S. official called “the mother lode of intelligence.” The special operations forces grabbed personal computers, thumb drives and electronic equipment during the lightning raid, officials told POLITICO. “They cleaned it out,” one official said. “Can you imagine what’s on Osama bin Laden’s hard drive?”

Senator John McCain Would Not Have Taken Out Osama Bin Laden In Pakistan

From Senator John McCain’s own lips…2008.

In July 2008, Larry King asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), “If you were president and knew that bin Laden was in Pakistan, you know where, would you have U.S. forces go in after him?”

McCain said he would not.

“Larry, I’m not going to go there and here’s why: because Pakistan is a sovereign nation.”<!– for IE

What Does Al Qaeda Think Tonight About Osama Bin Laden?

Hmm…

A SENIOR U.S. OFFICIAL e-mails: “”Bin Laden was living in a relatively comfortable place: a compound valued at about $1 million. Many of his foot soldiers are located in some of the remotest regions of Pakistan and live in austere conditions. You’ve got to wonder if they’re rethinking their respect for their dead leader. He obviously wasn’t living as one of them.”

U.S. Senators Call For Release Of Photo Of Dead Osama Bin Laden

I think the photo of a slain Osama bin Laden needs to be presented to the world.  For me, I trust the words of President Obama, and need not see it to know what happened.  I also think there is some justification not to post the photo so as not to roil fanatics around the world.  But given the sceptical nature of so many people there would be no end to the conspiracy theories that would hound us for years absent a photo.  In addition regardless of the photo being presented to the media the fanatics will still try and seek revenge.

U.S. Sens. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins said Monday photos of Osama bin Laden’s body should be released to resolve any doubts about his death.

Lieberman, Ind-Conn., and Collins, R-Maine, said they would defer to President Barack Obama’s judgment on whether to release the photos, but said they would prefer the photos or some other evidence be released, Politico reported.

Both are senior members of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

Politico reported Lieberman said, “Unless there’s an acknowledgment by people in al-Qaida that bin Laden is dead, then it may be necessary to release the pictures — as gruesome as they inevitably will be because he’s been shot in the head — to quell any doubts that this somehow is a ruse that the American government has carried out. So my own instinct is it’s necessary to release those pictures, but I will respect whatever decision the president makes.”Lieberman and Collins said they personally have no doubts bin Laden was killed Sunday.

Questions Over Why And How Osama Bin Laden Was Buried At Sea

There are some ethical and religious questions that are arising today among some in the Islamic world over the manner in which Osama bin Laden was buried at sea within 12 hours of being killed on Sunday.  While one can rightly claim that bin Laden did not concern himself with others who he helped kill, I do think that some of these questions have a certain validity in being asked.  Failing that they clearly have an interesting quality to them that has allowed me more insight into Islamic traditions which I am not well-versed about.

There is no necessity for an imam to be present, he says, but the procedures should be carried out by Muslims at least one of whom “knows the minimum basic Muslim law of burial”.

Whether any such person was present is impossible to know, he says, based on the limited information provided. But he also questions whether sea burial was appropriate in this case.

It is correct to carry out a burial at sea when someone dies on a sea journey, he says, but in this case there was no sound reason for it.

The US authorities could surely have found someone – a member of the extensive Bin Laden family, or even one of the many supporters of his “evil” ideology – who would have been prepared to give the body a proper burial, he argues.

His words were echoed by Mohammed Qudah, a professor of Islamic law at the University of Jordan, who told the Associated Press news agency that burying Bin Laden at sea was not forbidden if there was nobody to receive the body and provide a Muslim burial.

But he went on: “It’s neither true nor correct to claim that there was nobody in the Muslim world ready to receive Bin Laden’s body.”

The agency also quoted Dubai’s grand mufti Mohammed al-Qubaisi, saying that sea burials were permissible only in extraordinary circumstances, adding: “This is not one of them.”

“If the family does not want him, it’s really simple in Islam: You dig up a grave anywhere, even on a remote island, you say the prayers and that’s it,” he said.

US officials have given two reasons why a sea burial was chosen. First, that they did not want his grave to become a shrine. Second, that there was no time to negotiate with other countries to arrange a possible burial on land.

According to CBS News, Saudi Arabia refused to take the body. If correct, this suggests that an offer was made – and that had Saudi Arabia accepted the body, there would have been a grave, which could in theory have become a shrine.

However, ABC’s Jonathan Karl, writing before the burial was confirmed, painted a different picture:

“US officials tell me the last thing they want is for his burial place to become a terrorist shrine.

“To avoid that, an informed source tells me, the intention is the bury his body at sea – leaving no definitive location for the final resting place of his body.”