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CNN BREAKING NEWS
Reaction to Osama bin Laden's Death Around the World; Taliban Threatens Revenge Against U.S. and Pakistan; Bin Laden: Hidden in Plain Sight; Twitter User in Abbottabad Inadvertently Breaks News of bin Laden Raid
Aired May 2, 2011 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: This hour, our special coverage continues in the killing of Osama bin Laden. I'm Carol Costello.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Michael Holmes from CNN International. We'd like to welcome our viewers in the U.S. and indeed all around the world. Let's bring you up to the minute now with the very latest details.
COSTELLO: The al Qaeda leader was killed by U.S. forces inside a mansion in Pakistan. They swept into the compound via helicopter and say bin Laden was among the five people killed in a firefight.
HOLMES: President Obama signed off on the mission on Friday after months of intelligence work included that bin Laden was indeed hiding there.
COSTELLO: In fact, senior administration officials believe the compound was built five years ago for the specific purpose of hiding him.
HOLMES: Sources say facial imaging techniques confirmed bin Laden's identity. A U.S. government official says DNA testing is also underway.
COSTELLO: The U.S. forces removed his body, buried him at sea. We'll have many more details on how this all unfolded throughout the morning.
HOLMES: Spontaneous celebrations erupted right across the United States with the president's announcement of the killing of bin Laden.
Hundreds of people marched to Boston Common, for example. Many of them college students who were just in elementary school on 9/11.
Students at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania shot off fireworks to mark the event. An iReporter says hundreds of people gathered in the middle of the campus and sang, "God Bless America" and "The Star Spangled Banner."
And you hear it there, "USA, USA," being the chant ringing outside inside Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park during the Phillies-New York Mets game. One fan blogged today that he saw the news on his CNN.com app and then yelled to his section, "Bin Laden is killed. We got him."
COSTELLO: Perhaps the biggest outpouring of emotion came at Ground Zero.
It's just an amazing sight, flag waving, cheering, and singing went on all night at the site of the World Trade Center attacks.
CNN's Ali Velshi joins us now from Ground Zero.
It was amazing how spontaneous this was, how people immediately came together. You know as soon as we reported on CNN that the president was about --
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
COSTELLO: About to make this major announcement --
VELSHI: That's right, Michael and Carol. This is the logical place that they would have come because for a lot of people despite Osama bin Laden's long reach, this is where they felt the impact. This and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon.
I'll give you a sense of the newspaper as people come to work this morning. The "New York Post" says, official -- "It's official: Bin Laden Dead. Got him." And it says, "Vengeance at last. U.S. nails the bastard. "The Daily News" says "Rot in Hell."
When I got here early, early this morning, the middle of the night, it was mostly young people. At some point looked like there might have been 2,000 people right around here. The police then put barricades up, started pushing people back. Sort of cordoned them to a smaller area. But then as the sun started to rise, the workers got in here.
And I have to tell you, Carol and Michael, Ground Zero is different today than it had been for the last nine-and-a-half years.
Just over to my left, just a few feet away, we have rows and rows of reporters. And then we've got a -- a chain link fence, a yellow fence. That's the boundary. That's the northeast boundary of Ground Zero. That's where the construction is taking place right now.
On that fence -- it's hard to see with this camera, I don't think you can see it -- there are flowers that are pinned to the fence. There are American flags. It really is a remarkable, spontaneous outpouring of emotion.
One young gentleman told my colleague Jason Carroll this is like our VE-day. So it really is remarkable what's going on. Still tourists and folks all over the place, quite a feeling of jubilation here -- Carol.
COSTELLO: There's something really fascinating with how many young people partook in these celebrations at universities all across the country.
VELSHI: Yes. COSTELLO: I mean these young people were, what, 9 or 10-years-old when the tragedy happened on 9/11?
COSTELLO: Why do you think they're so into this?
VELSHI: Well, you know, I actually -- the first thing that happened when I arrived here is I ran into a bunch of students who were -- and they said they were from Scranton. And they had heard the news there, and it had erupted on their college campus.
And then they quickly got in their car and they came to New York, because they felt that this is something that sort of unites Americans. This is a great moment for them. They've almost lived in a post-9/11 world where there's been a constant threat of terrorism. And to them, there is some substantial change that has occurred today.
That will be the thing that we analyze, obviously, Carol and Michael, for days to come. Is there some substantial material change, or is this largely symbolic? But whichever way you see it, most people see it as a positive development.
COSTELLO: Ali Velshi, live at Ground Zero, many thanks.
HOLMES: I want to take you now inside the house, some call it a mansion, possibly even the room where special forces killed bin Laden.
Now ABC's "Good Morning America" showed this footage earlier. A pretty graphic scene. You see a bed and a great deal of blood on the floor at the bottom of the screen there before it pans around.
Now ABC also reports there was another room that was full of broken computers and that the hard drives had been ripped out.
Now according to a top Pentagon official, Navy SEALs carried out this special op to take out bin Laden.
Brandon Webb is a former SEAL who'd been in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He's also worked with the CIA and wrote a book called "21st Century Sniper." He joins us now with some insight into huge top-secret missions like this one.
And I suppose while we're going to get some details about this, we're never going to hear about all of it, I imagine. But to get in and out in what appears to have been 30 to 40 minutes in a place that did have several people inside and was well defended, pretty slick operation.
BRANDON WEBB, FORMER NAVY SEAL: Yes. Absolutely. You know, it just -- I think what this shows is that despite all the technology available to us today, just that it comes down to these highly trained special operations groups just executing these types of missions up close and personal.
You know, it just -- these guys train so hard and the operational schedules are so demanding. But it just really proves what these guys can accomplish.
HOLMES: You know, I've been on a few raids in Iraq and Afghanistan with U.S. troops, but this sort of thing is on another level, isn't it? I mean this is months in the planning.
And just give us a sense of what it's like. You go into a compound like that, a big house. One presumes you don't know where your target is exactly. It's a tense situation room to room in that sort of place.
WEBB: You know, tensions are definitely high. But again, I just can't express how -- how much these guys train for these types of scenarios. The constant rehearsal and live fire training. But you know, it's -- to produce this type of actionable intelligence that these guys can execute on is pretty amazing to see that in action.
But, you know, these guys are going in this type of mission, it's very intimate, up close, and personal. They're going room to room, very methodically. And the fact that they're just able to pull this off flawlessly, it just -- it just shows you how well-trained these guys are.
HOLMES: Yes. Brandon Webb, former Navy SEAL, thanks so very much, appreciate your insights there.
WEBB: No problem, thanks.
COSTELLO: The U.S. has issued a worldwide travel alert for Americans traveling abroad. The State Department says U.S. citizens outside the country need to be extra vigilant because of the threat of violence from terrorists.
CNN foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty at the U.S. State Department.
So, Jill, what's in the State Department's statement? And how concerned are American travelers? Should they be concerned?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, they should be, and according to the State Department.
And you know, Carol, the word they're using is, "unpredictability" and "volatility." And one of the things that if you read this warning that they're saying is for Americans who live abroad or Americans who are traveling should be very aware that there could be demonstrations that could break out at any time, anti-American demonstrations.
So they should be extremely cautious. And especially in countries that are close to that area. Pakistan being one of them. You know, the embassy there in Islamabad had a warning, a warden's message to all Americans in the area for three countries, Lahore, Karachi, and Peshawar, and for Islamabad, telling them that they should be very careful because around American embassies you might have some action.
That's the main thing. It's -- there's nothing specific at this point that they are saying in a particular place, but it is highly volatile. COSTELLO: Well, just to clarify, should all American travelers be wary no matter where they're headed or just to certain countries?
DOUGHERTY: They are saying that it could be really any place, especially in the areas that have been affected by terrorism around Pakistan, Afghanistan, areas like that. But don't forget, you know, there of course have been terrorism attacks in western Europe. And you don't know.
It's to be vigilant at all times, and one of the best things, Carol, is on the Web site, the U.S. State Department Web site, they have a lot of information. If you just go on to State.gov, it kind of links you into a lot of things. And you can actually sign up, get registered and get these alerts because that's the most important thing. Things can change really at the last minute.
COSTELLO: Thanks for the tip. Jill Dougherty reporting live from the State Department.
The hunt for Osama bin Laden. This morning, we have new details on the mission and the grim order given to the military forces who carried it out.
Barbara Starr joins us from the Pentagon next.
COSTELLO: Just to recap this extraordinary story we've been covering throughout the morning. The killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Celebrations outside the White House last night. This was the scene after President Obama revealed that Navy SEALs had killed the leader of the al Qaeda terrorist network.
Bin Laden was killed in a high-security mansion about 60 miles from the Pakistani capital. It's believed the compound was built for the specific purpose of hiding bin Laden. Sources say facial imaging confirmed his identity, but DNA testing is going on right now as well. Bin Laden's body was buried at sea.
HOLMES: And you know, the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, it took place in a country that for many of our viewers is halfway around the world. So we thought we'd be -- it would be interesting for you to show the lay of the land literally.
And you can see here we've marked Abbottabad in -- it's in this remote sort of corner of Pakistan. It's actually said to be a major hub for tourism. Not so much these days as imagined.
Now as the crow flies, it is about 30 miles, that's about 50 kilometers north of the capital Islamabad. But as you can see there, you can see the mountain range. Huge mountain range in between. So it's not like driving 50 kilometers down a highway.
Now interestingly, Abbottabad is a long way-- 200 miles in fact -- from Waziristan which you can see all the way over here. This is Afghanistan here. And it's originally the region that analysts thought that Osama bin Laden was hiding out. It's a tribal area, it's rested a lot of sympathetic people to Osama bin Laden and his ideology live right there.
And it's also part of this long border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. And it's a porous border as we've reported over the years, as well. Terrorists can slip back and forth across the border. Pakistan Taliban is up there. It's not a friendly place if you're a Westerner, that's for sure.
And we drone attacks on target and the like in this area. You know, in fact when you think about it geographically speaking, Osama bin Laden's hiding spot, it's actually closer to India than it is to Afghanistan. A big surprise for a lot of people that he was there so close to the capital and within literally a few hundred meters of a major military base in that town there, because this military base is a bit like West Point and within a half -- a few hundred meters away and nobody knew.
COSTELLO: And you know, Michael, it's incomprehensible that U.S. military helicopters landed in that suburb of Islamabad and burst through the doors of that mansion. We want to break down some more of the details on this raid, because it truly is amazing.
Barbara Starr has been gathering information this morning.
And Barbara, so U.S. helicopters land in the middle of suburban Islamabad essentially. And U.S. Navy SEALS burst through the door. This was a really risky mission, wasn't it?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was, indeed, Carol. I would say it's not quite the suburbs of Islamabad. It's a good distance from there. But as you say, a populated area, a lot of other civilian residential areas around there, they wanted to be very careful about not inadvertently causing civilian casualties. So when they landed, they were very precise getting in and out as fast as they could.
Now what we know is that basically that all -- planning all the way along was that they would encounter heavy resistance which indeed they did. And it basically became a kill mission once this resistance unfolded. They are very clear in their minds that it was a U.S. bullet that killed Osama bin Laden with a shot to the head as this fire-fight broke out.
In fact, we expect in the coming minutes another announcement from the administration about positive DNA matching, a source telling us that statement will be forthcoming.
COSTELLO: Barbara, before -- I just wanted to ask you, who was inside the house? I have read reports there were as many as 22 people inside the house. You would expect that some of these people would be armed. Do we know the details?
STARR: Well, a firefight broke out, you know. So yeah, you bet they were armed. And that's what the Navy SEALS encountered as they moved in.
Osama bin Laden, relatives of his by all accounts, other fighters there, couriers, heavy firefight breaking out. And that's what the U.S. Navy SEALS responded to, Carol.
COSTELLO: And the only other question I had, I was wondering -- wouldn't it have been easier if they just bombed the compound instead of orchestrating this very risky operation? And did they do the risky operation because they didn't want to kill civilians?
STARR: I'm not sure i know how to answer that. You know, this was an area where there were other residential neighborhoods. And certainly the top priority would be not to be killing other civilians so it was a surgical strike by special forces, moving in by helicopter, getting in and out in 40 minutes.
And I think it's also clear they wanted to get Osama bin Laden's body so they could get the proof that they had killed him. There are photographs that the White House is thinking about releasing. And we are told you will see his face if these released. You will recognize that it is Osama bin Laden. When you drop a bomb, it's often the case that there are no bodies left.
I think they wanted to have a body to be able to show.
COSTELLO: Barbara Starr live at the Pentagon, many thanks.
The United States has spent more than a decade looking for bin Laden. He was the face of the war on terror.
HOLMES; Now that he's gone, the post-bin Laden world begins. Next, we've got some experts who are going to tell us what this means for the war on terror in the big picture also the campaign in Afghanistan and the future of al Qaeda.
COSTELLO: People are celebrating all over the world as they wake up to the news Osama bin Laden is dead. 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! USA!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: And you hear the cheers. Chuck Nad (ph) is the senior cadet who made the announcement. He tells us curfew at West Point is normally 11:30, but people were out until 1:00 this morning, and they were celebrating.
So the great quest of our time is finally over. So what happens to the war on terror and the mission in south Asia?
HOLMES: CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen here to talk about that. He interviewed Osama bin Laden back in '97. CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank is also with us, and national security contributor Fran Townsend, as well.
Peter, let's kick it off with you. How if at all does this affect the campaign in Afghanistan?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Americans have turned against the war in Afghanistan according to any number of polls, in particular of Democrats. This will increase political pressure on President Obama to, you know, to try and make the campaign in Afghanistan be shorter. But I think President Obama has already made a significant decision, his decision that has been not really completely processed as it's probably the most important decision of his presidency on the foreign policy front, other than the intervention in Libya which is extending the American military presence in Afghanistan until December, 2014, in a large scale.
You may recall, Michael, that there was going to be a drawdown in July of this year. That drawdown is going to be relatively token, according to any number of U.S. and Afghan officials I've spoken to.
And so, you know, bin Laden's death I don't think will affect the fact that President Obama has committed to a large-scale military presence in Afghanistan for another four years.
COSTELLO: And Paul, I was wondering -- I know the president and other officials still deciding whether to release a picture of the dead Osama bin Laden. If they did decide to do that, to prove to people that he is indeed dead, what message would it send to sensitive parts of the world?
BERGEN: Well, there will be a lot of conspiracy theories which are going to sprout up if a picture is not released, so that may be an argument for releasing pictures of Osama bin Laden. Obviously if there is a dead image of bin Laden, though, people who admire and indeed love bin Laden, this radical fringe around the Muslim world, may be motivated to launch revenge attacks.
So it's a difficult decision and one that they're going to have to make pretty quickly.
HOLMES: Fran, let's bring you in on this. You know, I'm interested in your take on what this means for U.S.-Pakistan relations. Pakistan, of course, has lost more soldiers than the allied forces in Afghanistan in their fight against extremists up in particularly the Waziristan area. Yet this happened on the soil, 50 kilometers from their capital.
Is this embarrassing? Is it going to put Pakistan at risk for terror attacks?
FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, certainly it will. I mean -- and it is embarrassing. Not only was it inside the borders, but it was close to the military academy, as you pointed out earlier. But President Obama in his address to the nation last night extended a hand to Pakistan. He gave them some credit. He kind of did favorably about President Zardari.
Look, bin laden chose the location very deliberately, let's be very clear about that. The Predator increase -- the Predator strikes, the drone strikes had been increasing over the years, they are very effective in unsettled areas. And so it was clear to bin laden that he needed to get to a settled area.
The other thing was, the very public dispute going on between the U.S. and Pakistan about the U.S. not putting boots on the grounds inside Pakistani territory. And so those two things clearly counseled bin Laden to move inside this settled area well inside the Pakistani border because he thought he would make targeting harder for the United States.
Obviously the U.S. Navy SEALS overcame those challenges.
And Peter, I wanted to come back to ask you one other thing. You know, you've got to look at the legacy if you like of bin Laden and maybe think that if there's one thing he would have hated, it was the Arab spring because he's had nothing to do with it. How much damage has al Qaeda not having a role in that done to the organization, do you think?
BERGEN: I think it's been immense. So I mean, one thing that we haven't seen in any of the protests in Cairo, Bahrain, Benghazi or anywhere else is pictures of Osama bin Laden. He's just not part of the conversation. No someone spouting al Qaeda's anti-American rhetoric. There hasn't been a single American flag burning or, indeed, Israeli flag burning. So pro forma in part of the world hitherto.
Bin Laden's ideas, men, and the outcome are not going to be to al Qaeda's satisfaction. And, you know, the Arab spring and bin Laden's death are two pretty nice bookends to the war on terror.
Of course, jihadist terrorism is not going to go away, but clearly the ideas that al Qaeda had that the only way to bring regime change in the Middle East was through violence rather than peaceful protests, we've seen that's not the case in Cairo where essentially the regime -- the most important Arab country in many ways was overthrown by a peaceful revolution, quite different from what al Qaeda has said in the past.
COSTELLO: And Fran, I was wondering, that the United States managed to kill Osama bin Laden, they found him, did it like not far from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, what does this do for America's image around the world? TOWNSEND: Well, look, this is -- those who supported bin Laden revered him, those who were critical of the United States will continue to be. And, Carol, in some sense the president had the responsibility to protect the American people. We had long -- across multiple administrations wanted bin Laden brought to justice.
And so frankly what our enemies and those who would criticize anyway around the world think I suspect didn't even enter the equation. The president did what was his responsibility to do. He showed courage and conviction in executing a very difficult mission. And frankly our allies around the world -- I've gotten hundreds of e-mails already today congratulating the United States from our allies around the world who have tremendous respect for the difficulty and success of this operation.
COSTELLO: Fran, Paul, Peter, many thanks to all of you.
A Pakistani government official says they didn't know where bin Laden was but if they had, they'd of gone after him themselves.
HOLMES: Yes. So just when did they find out about the U.S. raid that happened on their own doorstep? We're going to ask a Pakistani official just ahead.
HOLMES: Welcome back, I'm Michael Holmes. Our coverage of the death of Osama bin Laden continues.
COSTELLO: And I'm Carol Costello. We'd like to welcome our viewers all over the world because it seems everybody's reacting to the death of Osama bin Laden.
HOLMES: Yes, they are. Let's kick off first with what the British prime minister, David Cameron, had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: This news will be welcomed right across our country. Of course, it does not mark the end of the threat we face from extremist terror. Indeed, we'll have to be particularly vigilant in the weeks ahead. But it is, I believe, a massive step forward.
Osama bin Laden was responsible for the death of thousands of innocent men, women, and children right across the world, people of every race and religion. He was also responsible for ordering the death of many, many British citizens, both here and in other parts of the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: And here's what other European leaders are saying. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France called Osama bin Laden's death "a major event in the world struggle against terrorism."
HOLMES: And Germany's foreign minister says this: "It is good news for free-thinking men."
COSTELLO: And Italy's foreign minister calls it "a victory of good against evil, of justice against malignancy."
An impromptu rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" outside the White House rivaled baseball fans coming together to cheer for the USA. News of Osama Bin Laden's death brought strong reactions all across the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: As you see, crowds bursting into song outside of the home of George W. Bush's in Dallas. Some of them carried signs, thanking Mr. Bush for his efforts to fight terrorism during his two terms in office.
Fireworks lit up the night sky at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, just over 100 miles from Shanksville, for one of those hijacked planes crashed on 9/11. And people in the Northeast from Washington up to New York and on up to Boston, taking to the streets loud and proud on a historic day for the country and the world.
HOLMES: All right. Stay with us. When we come back, we're going to talk to a senior diplomat from Pakistan about what happened on his country's doorstep.
COSTELLO: From celebrations overnight in the United States to a vigil now taking place in Shanksville, Pennsylvania -- that's where Flight 93 crashed nearly ten years ago. Jim Acosta is there. Jim, describe the scene for us.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. You know, it's been a very solemn morning. Very much different from what you've seen in Washington and New York where the celebrations have been going on, at the White House and at ground zero. This has been a much more somber reflection of September 11 and of this day, which is obviously a very -- very happy day for a lot of Americans all over this country.
And I'm joined by a couple of nearby residents who live close to the Flight 93 memorial here near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. I'm joined by Sonny and Pat Blake. You live just a mile from the site of the memorial, which is just taking shape as we speak. The National Parks Service is building a permanent memorial for the people who died here.
And Pat, I wanted to talk to you first because you're wearing a "Let's roll" sweatshirt. That's obviously in reference to Todd Beamer, one of the passengers on Flight 93 who said "Let's roll" before the passengers tried to take control of the airplane, forcing it into the ground here instead of it hitting the Capitol, the White House in Washington. And wondering what you think of this day. PAT BLAKE, SHANKSVILLE, PA RESIDENT: Well, to me and my family, this is a day we've waited for. It is wonderful for all Americans. Thank goodness for our great government that helped make this happen. And I can't tell you -- I'm just so touched by the entire happenings of this last 24 hours.
ACOSTA: And Sonny, what are your thoughts? I mean, obviously you live close -- you have a home about a mile from this site. You must -- you and your wife must come here a lot. It must mean a lot to you. What does this place mean to you?
SONNY BLAKE, SHANKSVILLE, PA RESIDENT: Well, Jim, it does mean a lot to me. This is our third visit here in a very short time period. But today's a very special day for all of America. And we're so proud of our -- our armed forces and our presidents that have fought this battle for the past nine, ten years almost. So, we're very proud of everyone that's been involved.
ACOSTA: Sonny and Pat Blake, thanks very much for talking with us. Appreciate it.
And Carol, that kind of gives you a sense of what folks are saying out here. You know, much more subdued tone out here on the site of Flight 93 memorial. And if you hear a little construction behind me, that's because they're in the process of actually building this memorial site as we speak.
But you'll be seeing all of this happening throughout the day. Folks showing off their pride in the United States and showing some happiness for what's occurred in the last 24 hours. At the same time, also remembering the people who died here. And that process goes on almost every day here, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Carol.
COSTELLO: And I'm glad the memorial's finally going up. Jim Acosta live in Pennsylvania. Thank you very much.
Score another one for social media. A Pakistani man's tweet about a mysterious helicopter turns into one of the biggest scoops ever. Much more on that ahead.
HOLMES: Welcome back. The Taliban has threatened revenge, perhaps not surprisingly, over the killing of Osama bin Laden. The United States. Number two on their list, Pakistan, they say, their primary target. Pakistan's high commissioner to the United Kingdom says his country didn't know where bin Laden was, but if they had they would have done it themselves.
Wajid Hasan is in London. First of all, sir, thanks for being with us. But the crucial question is when did your government know this was going to happen, and are you comfortable with the level of liaison?
WAJID HASAN, HIGH COMMISSIONER OF PAKISTAN TO U.K.: Well, we are confident with what has happened. And we appreciate that the United States took the initiative. And as you know, secretary of state Hilary Clinton just now a few minutes ago said and thanked Pakistan for its cooperation. and seeks future cooperation, as well, in fighting terrorism.
HOLMES: But forgive me, that wasn't the question. When did your government know this was going it happen? Or did it know?
HASAN: Well, it did know. It did know that this was going to happen because we have been keeping -- we were monitoring him and America was monitoring him. But Americans got to know him -- where he was first, and that's why they struck it and they struck it precisely -
HOLMES: So, when did they tell you they were going to go in? When did they tell you they were going to go in?
HASAN: Hmm? Well, last night they did it. And that was the time he probably would have moved out.
HOLMES: So, you're saying they didn't tell you until the operation was underway, or did the Pakistan government know ahead of time it was going happen?
HASAN: Well, I won't like to share that, but I would say that Pakistan government was in the know certain things. And we have been sharing intelligence with the Americans, and the Americans have been sharing intelligence with us. So, we have we are in close cooperation together, and that doesn't mean that Pakistan will know about it. And that's how Osama was targeted.
HOLMES: Hasan, I'm taking from that that the government did not know about the exact operation until perhaps moments before it happened, if indeed before it happened. Is that fair?
HASAN: Well, again, it's a fact that Osama was waging a war against Pakistan as was against the Americans. So, it was -- the primary target was similar to ours. So whatever happened happened with our consent. And there was nothing of the sort which people are questioning at the moment or creating a perception that Pakistan was totally in the dark. Pakistan was not totally in the dark.
Pakistan had been keeping certain areas monitored. And it knew where he was. And also Americans knew where he was. They had moved recently into this area -
HASAN: -- which is a hilly station (ph), and it is the most (INAUDIBLE) -- place to hide.
HOLMES: Right. Spoken like a diplomat, sir. Let me ask you this. Pakistan has lost more troops in fighting the Taliban and the extremists up in the Waziristan, the frontier regions than any Western nation has in Afghanistan. Do you fear that there is going to be a big target on Pakistan now? HASAN: Yes, Pakistan will obviously be target number one because they feel that we are the -- responsible for this whole operation. And we have been getting on operations on our own. And we have fractured al Qaeda beyond its original shape. And, you know, we had so far surrendered 600 al Qaeda operatives, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and (INAUDIBLE) and so many others when were killed in Pakistan.
So, you can imagine that the contribution that we have made to this war. Immensely, we have lost 30,000 civilians, 5,000 troops, including journalists, brigadiers (ph), and senior officers --
HASAN: So, this is not a small sacrifice that we have rendered. We have -- in total, if you look at what others have done, we have done much more. At least 10, 20 times more than them.
HOLMES: The losses have been considerable indeed. Pakistan's high commissioner to the United Kingdom. I want to thank you very much Wajid Hasan.
HASAN: Thank you.
COSTELLO: CNN's Nick Paton Walsh joins us now from Islamabad with more on the impact of bin Laden's death and what this diplomat just said to us. I guess a lot of Americans are still wondering how Osama bin Laden could move into a big mansion in a populated suburb. His youngest wife was inside there with him as was his son. These two couriers, Osama bin Laden couriers, built this huge mansion with the specific purpose supposedly of hiding Osama bin Laden. But they had no -- I mean, you couldn't tell where their money was coming from, and the Pakistani government didn't really know or chase Osama bin Laden out until the Americans came in and did it?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that does seem to be the picture. I mean, it does explain to you what a senior Pakistani intelligence official has been saying to me.
Now, he says that there was a regular passage of electronic intercepts. So, phone information, other data handed to the Americans on a regular basis as part of a data exchange, so to speak. He says that this information led the Americans to the compound and the courier in question. His nationality and name we don't know at present.
What appears to have happened, according to this Pakistani official, is that this data was being analyzed, the Pakistanis according to what he said, the information pertaining to the compound slipped off of Pakistani radar but became the focus of America's investigations from around about September of last year. And they were already kind of focusing in on this courier and the compound.
I mean, basically this seems to suggest that Pakistanis are trying to put themselves forward as being the kind of very beginning of the information that led to this particular -- this particular operation. But I should also point out that the same source did say that the Pakistani -- American helicopters that flew over the compound very early this morning were -- arrived undetected by Pakistani military. So, it does appear that they were not tipped off beforehand. This operation was beginning.
COSTELLO: Nick Paton Walsh, reporting live from Pakistan. Thank you.
HOLMES: All right. Next up, we're going to talk about social media in this raid. A Twitter user had no idea his tweet would be the first report of a milestone in history.
COSTELLO: They were just some grouchy tweets about noisy helicopters near his neighborhood until somebody put it all together.
HOLMES: Yes. This is what we're talking about. This guy in Abbottabad, Pakistan, unknowingly, live tweeting the raid that ended in the death of Osama bin Laden. Let's have a chat with Zain Verjee about that. This guy, I understand, just - he left Lahore for some peace and quiet and was a bit annoyed at the noise!
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly what he said. He said "I just want to get away from everything and have some peace of mind." And this is what he was witness to. This was the IT consultant in Abbottabad in Pakistan. And he was live tweeting the raid on bin Laden's compound.
Now, here's how he writes how it unfolded through his eyes. Let me show you some tweets. "Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1:00 a.m. is a rare event," he writes. Then he tweets, "A huge window shaking, bang! Here in Abbottabad. I hope it's not the start of something nasty." Then he says, "The gunfight lasted perhaps four to five minutes, I heard. That was around ten hours ago. There are no other gun fights that I know of."
Imagine that. Now, guys, we reached out to him, but he replied saying that the media is totally swamping him with requests. And we can't verify for real whether he heard the American helicopters or not. But we do note this -- he was in the city where it happened, and he was posting these tweets hours before we heard President Obama was set to make a statement. This is where it broke first. Back to you.
COSTELLO: That's right, right on Twitter. Zain, we were wondering, how is the international media playing into the bin Laden story?
VERJEE: Yes, I was looking at some of the newspaper headlines. Let me show you here. In the U.K., this is "The Daily Telegraph." "The butcher of 9/11 is dead. The killing of Osama bin Laden is a massive blow to Islamist terrorism." It goes on to say there can be no doubt that this is a massive blow to the al Qaeda network, but there can be no room for complacency.
In Israel, take a look at the "Haaretz." This is the headline. "Netanyahu: Killing of bin Laden is resounding victory for justice." Now, the quote the Israeli president, Shimon Peres, like this, saying, "This is a great achievement for the American security establishment. A great achievement for the U.S. president."
And finally, guys, check out "The Financial Times." "Security experts warn against complacency." It says an international expert quotes, "operatives will fill his shoes, and the intellectual aspect of the movement is still well and truly kicking."
I spoke to a few analysts who said that that was something that was really key, the fact that the ideology was still alive and well, even though this particular al Qaeda original structure may not be as -- as effective as it once was. But it's the ideology that's inspiring other groups like Al Shab, al Qaeda al-Meghrab (ph) or al Qaeda on the Arabian peninsula. And that's the danger.
COSTELLO: Zain Verjee live from London. Thank you.
They were just children on September 11. Now these college students are celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden.
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(AUDIENCE CHANTING AND SINGING)
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HOLMES: We'll go inside the million-dollar mansion in Pakistan where bin Laden was killed. That's straight up ahead with (INAUDIBLE).
HOLMES: Since the tragedy of 9/11, American forces had searched for the man who masterminded the worst terror attack the U.S. has ever seen. And when they found him, Osama bin Laden was hiding in plain sight.
On Sunday night, President Obama announced what so many had waited to hear for so long. Take a listen.
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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory -- hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.
And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child's embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts. On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.
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HOLMES: President Obama there, and that's where we will leave it.
CNN International viewers will be joining Jim Clancy with "The Brief."
COSTELLO: And for our domestic viewers, Suzanne Malveaux has the day off. Drew Griffin is here with a continuation of the NEWSROOM.
Have a great day.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, guys.