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Osama bin Laden was a radical Islamic jihadist who rose to prominence in the 1980s. The son of a wealthy Saudi businessman, bin Laden was trained by the U.S. to fight invading Soviet forces in Afghanistan.  (Source: Rag Bag)

Mr. bin Laden became America's most wanted criminal when he killed over 3,000 people in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks by his jihadist organization, Al Qaeda.  (Source: AP Photo)

President Obama announced that he his ordered operation had successfully killed bin Laden. The announcement, which came Monday morning, was backed by DNA tests on bin Laden's corpse that verified his identity with 99.9 percent certainty. Mr. bin Laden was buried at sea to prevent memorials to his martyrdom. The burial was in accordance with Islamic tradition.  (Source: White House via YouTube)
Modern technology played an intimate role in historic anti-terrorism black-op

On Monday morning in Pakistan (Sunday in U.S. time) U.S. Navy Seals received the go-ahead from U.S. President Barack Obama to carry out a critical operation that will go down in the history books.  Storming a a mansion compound outside the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, the U.S. special operatives killed infamous Al Qaeda terrorist Osama bin Laden, 54, along with other family members.

Bin Laden had been hunted by the U.S. for years after the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole and the even more brazen attacks on September 11, 2001 that killed over 3,000 Americans in Washington D.C. and New York City and left more than 6,000 wounded.

The terrorist leader had managed to elude the U.S. for over a decade before the latest developments.  During President George W. Bush's presidency, special forces reportedly had bin Laden trapped in Afghanistan, but did not receive a "kill" order from the President in time, allowing the famed terrorist kingpin to escape.

This time around there would be no such luck for bin Laden.  But he might have escaped yet again, had he only checked Twitter feeds on the web.

I. Twitter Users Catch Wind of the Raid Early

Early Monday Sohaib Athar, a software consultant who was "taking a break from the rat-race by hiding in the mountains with his laptops", noticed helicopters hovering over the region -- an unusual sight.

He posted on Twitter under the name "ReallyVirtual":

Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).

Soon after he updated:

A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope its not the start of something nasty :-S

It appears that Mr. Athar spotted the helicopters before the raid.  But fortunately (or unfortunately for bin Laden) nobody at the terrorist's compound seemed to spot the internet postings in time to evacuate the compound before U.S. forces snuck in, surrounded the compound, and initiated a furious fire-fight.

Later a post reveals that one of the American helicopters appears to have crashed due to some kind of technical difficulties or enemy fire.  The post states:

The abbottabad helicopter/UFO was shot down near the Bilal Town area, and there's report of a flash. People saying it could be a drone.

No American casualties have thus far been reported.

In retrospect the posts stand as an insightful footnotes to this historic event.  They also illustrate the growing transparency provided by the web and the difficulty in conducting stealth operations in the internet-era.  And last, but not least, they offer a blow to conspiracy theorists who are claiming in some forums that the "raid" and "killing" were fabricated to boost the President's approval rating.

II. DNA, Biometrics Verify With 99 Percent Certainty That Corpse was bin Laden's

The attack reportedly killed not only bin Laden, but several family members. It was of the utmost importance during the attack that the U.S. forces verify the corpse of Osama bin Laden to prevent confusion and doubts in the international community.

To do so, they used both biometric analysis of facial and body features and an in-depth full DNA analysis.  The tests confirmed with 99.9 percent certainty that one of the corpses recovered in the aftermath of the mansion shootout was bin Laden's.

According to U.S. government sources, bin Laden had not engaged in plastic surgery efforts to disguise himself as some news outlets had erroneously reported.

President Obama said that U.S. forces were tipped off months ago by a courier who had been transporting materials to and from the compound to top Al Qaeda operatives.  Following the lead, they wiretapped the compound and verified that Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders were residing within.  The President almost called in a bombing strike in the February-March period, but called it off at the last minute, deciding that it was too important to directly recover the corpse.

By verifying the body, President Obama and the U.S. Armed Forces have eliminated doubts of the terrorist's survival in the minds of all but the most harden conspiracy theorists.

Despite his horrific crimes against humanity, the U.S. forces reportedly respected Islamic tradition, giving bin Laden a burial at sea that was carefully carried out in accordance to Islamic customs.  The decision to bury the terrorist at sea was reportedly made to prevent any shrine to his martyrdom from being erected.

III. Concluding Thoughts

While a black-op of sorts, the raid on the bin Laden was backed by some serious military firepower that was also interesting from a tech perspective.

Patrolling the skies were an army of robotic drone aircraft -- a technology that increasingly is becoming a fundamental basis of America's war-force.  Waiting outside the Pakistani airspace were a squadron of fixed-wing fighter jets and a group of MH-53 Pave Low and HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters packed with troops.

The extra forces were designed to provide air and ground support, should the Navy Seals encounter an unexpected level of resistance.

But in the end, the result was an anticlimactic, relatively brief affair.  Outgunned by the well-trained American operatives bin Laden -- who himself had received military training from U.S. operatives during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan -- was gunned down.

Thus closed a dramatic epic of American history. 

President Obama comments on the developments in a White House video message, uploaded late Sunday (U.S. time -- Monday in Pakistan's time) on YouTube.





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