Meanwhile, the operation to take out bin Laden had been under preparation for months, with regular briefings for President Obama. In September of last year (approximately a month after the compound location was discovered), the president and the CIA began to work "on a set of assessments" that resulted in the U.S.'s belief that bin Laden could indeed be in the compound. By mid-February, the intelligence basis justified plotting a course of action for getting bin Laden at that location. From March 14th to April 29th, the president chaired at least five National Security Council meetings on the mission. He gave the final order for the now famous mission on the morning of April 29th (at least one American who probably wasn't watching the royal wedding live).
The mission that took bin Laden out was a collaboration between intelligence agencies and the U.S. military. A small U.S. team made a helicopter raid on the compound. The White House report details the dangers associated with the task: high walls, security setup, the relatively settled location, and it being only 35 miles north of Islamabad.
It took the U.S. team under 40 minutes in the compound to do its work. The only loss the U.S. sustained was one of the two helicopters used in the raid -- the crew members were able to board the remaining helicopter to get out. The total death toll was four adult males killed -- bin Laden, and supposedly the two couriers and bin Laden's son-- and one woman, who one of the men used as a human shield. Two women were also injured in the attack.
Bin Laden, who resisted the assault force, met his death in a firefight by the most well-trained military in the world -- a testament to the great country he tried so hard to destroy.
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