BOSTON — Dave Duerson, a former NFL player who committed suicide in February, had “moderately advanced” brain damage related to blows to the head, according to the researcher who made the diagnosis.
“It’s indisputable” that Duerson had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disorder linked to repeated brain trauma, Dr. Ann McKee said Monday.
The findings were announced as part of an effort conducted by the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University’s School of Medicine. The CSTE Brain Bank has the brains of more than 70 athletes and military veterans, with football players comprising more than half of the athletes.
Duerson played safety in the NFL for 11 seasons, seven with the Chicago Bears, and was chosen for four Pro Bowls before retiring in 1993.
The town where Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces is located a bit more than 1,000 yards from a Pakistan Military Academy, raising some questions about how much information the Pakistan military may have had about his whereabouts.
U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, said during a press conference that the Pakistani army has “a lot of explaining to do.”
“I think the Pakistani army and intelligence have a lot of questions to answer, given the location, the length of time and the apparent fact that this facility was actually built for bin Laden and its closeness to the central location of the Pakistani army,” Levin said. “So I think the army and the intelligence of Pakistan have plenty of questions that they should be answering and hopefully they are being asked by the Pakistani government.”
Abbottabad is home to Pakistan’s equivalent of West Point – and the website of the Pakistani military even describes the PMA as “a short distance from Abbottabad” also noting “a fine straight road leads to PMA.”
Levin said while he appreciated some of the remarks made by President Asif Ali Zardari, he expected that he would have talks with the military about what they knew.
“I do think that the Pakistani president’s statement today was a very reassuring statement when he very specifically said that he thinks it is a great victory and that it’s a success and he congratulates us on the success of the operation,” he said.
But although Levin said he was “not necessarily suspicious” that Zardari or civilian leadership knew, he added, “I must tell you I hope (Zardari) … will follow through and ask some very tough questions of his own military and his own intelligence. They have got a lot of explaining to do.”
SECURITY forces across Europe braced last night for a backlash from supporters of Osama bin Laden, with warnings there could be attacks “in the coming days” and that it was “just a question of when and where”.
Pakistan and Afghanistan were seen as the most likely scenes of any retaliation, but bin Laden’s death came just a week after WikiLeaks documents revealed claims his supporters could unleash a “nuclear hellstorm” in the West if he were killed or captured.
Wikileaks released records of US military interrogations of detainees in the Guantanamo Bay military base in which one senior bin Laden aide, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, claimed a nuclear device had been stolen and hidden in Europe to hit back if bin Laden were captured.
A small team of Navy SEALs carried out the secret operation Monday that found and killed Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks who had been on the run for a decade.
A senior U.S. administration official described the strike on the compound in Abbottabad, about 30 miles north of the Pakistani capital Islamabad, as “a surgical raid by a small team designed to minimize collateral damage.”
Only U.S. personnel were involved in the raid, and administration officials said great care was taken to ensure operational success. No information about President Obama’s decision to launch the strike was shared with other governments, including Pakistan. (That’s country’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate has long been suspected of maintaining ties to extremist groups.)
The raid took less than 40 minutes. Bin Laden and three other adult males were killed, as well as a woman who was being used as a shield. Two women were injured.
CBS News foreign correspondent Lara Logan reports that the operation was conducted under CIA Title 50 charter but carried out by Navy SEAL Team Six and the ground commander was a SEAL squadron commander. There were CIA present, but it was a military operation.
The Navy SEALs (their acronym is derived from the environments in which they are deployed – sea, air and land) were established in 1962, developed from the experience of World War II commando and demolition units. These highly-trained special operations forces function under Naval Special Warfare Command, within the United States Special Operations Command. There are about 2,500 active duty Navy SEALs, comprising nine active duty Teams and two Reserve teams.
Appearing on CBS’ “The Early Show,” retired Army Major General James “Spider” Marks (who served as a senior intelligence officer during the war in Iraq) said that the operation actually began years ago with intelligence work identifying the target – a courier for bin Laden.
“Our attention now will be on what took place on the ground, how this thing went down, the incredible precision, the real accuracy of what took place<” Marks said. “But what preceded all of that was an incredible amount of very difficult, often very boring but necessary, meticulous, intelligence work that brought us to this conclusion. So a lot of hard work by a lot of agencies, and a lot of sharing in order to make this right.”
Marks said once the suspect compound had been identified, specific logistical planning for the raid would have begun months in advance.
The compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, Monday, May 2, 2011, site of a raid that resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
“Obviously there was a determination to give it to the SEAL team folks. They then worked the details [as] that intelligence got tighter and tighter and tighter,” Marks said. “These special ops guys are incredibly trained. Basically, it’s brilliance in the basics. They don’t do anything that’s super-special; they just do everything they’re supposed to do, the blocking and tackling exceptionally well. And then you keep it very closely held within a tight-knit group, pull the trigger and make it happen.”
Marks said, from what is known of the operation, “the president gave the green light on Friday. He probably established 72- or 69-hour delegated authority down to the director of the CIA and said, ‘Within this time period you’ve got to make it happen, because if you don’t, conditions are going to change, word’s going to get out,’ et cetera. Then it’s simply a matter of assembling the team, which has been rehearsed many, many times on this precise target.
“They’ve done this in advance, in their heads, and on the ground in secluded locations, so when they execute, it really is simply a matter of staying focused. It’s like a machine going about the business. The heart rates don’t go up. They stay very focused. They do what needs to be done, and then they get it done. In fact, we’re hearing that they were on the objective no more than 40 minutes. I would argue that they probably had the objective secured within about five to ten minutes, then had to do some, quote, cleanup operations to make sure they were at the right place, they had the right guys, and then they evacuated.”
There were no American casualties, although a helicopter experienced mechanical difficulties prior to landing and was abandoned.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that the Navy’s most elite counterterrorism group – originally known as SEAL Team Six – performed the raid. This team, which has engaged in anti-terror operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and the former Yugoslavia. recruits from other existing SEAL teams; you cannot apply to join.
Marc Ambinder wrote in The Atlantic that the Defense Department recently changed the cover name of the Navy’s SEAL Team Six (which had been known as “Naval Special Warfare Development Group,” or DevGru), but its new name has not been made known.
(CNN) — World reaction poured in early Monday after President Barack Obama’s announcement that terror leader Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan. The United States put its diplomatic facilities around the world on high alert and issued a global travel warning for Americans.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai
Karzai said he hopes the world believes that his country is “not the place of terrorism” after the announcement that the al Qaeda leader was killed in neighboring Pakistan.
“If the international troops/forces are true allies of the Afghans — they should come out and say that the killing of Afghans, children and elders which took place over the many years on a daily basis was not a good idea,” Karzai said on RTA TV.
Afghan opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah, Hope and Change
Bin Laden’s killing proves that Pakistan is a “haven” for terror groups, according to Abdullah.
“Killing of Osama bin Laden is pleasant news for Afghans, and now it’s proven that al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are not based in Afghanistan and Pakistan is a haven for them,” he said.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Gillard congratulated the U.S. on the operation, and said she acknowledges the role of Pakistan in the fight against terror.
“Our fight against terrorism does not end with bin Laden’s death. We must remain vigilant against the threat posed by al Qaeda and the groups it has inspired,” she said.
“We will continue our support for the counterterrorism efforts of the United States and our partners, and we will continue our efforts in Afghanistan to ensure that the country never again becomes a safe haven for terrorism.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron
The leader said he welcomed news of bin Laden’s death.
“Osama bin Laden was responsible for the worst terrorist atrocities the world has seen — for 9/11 and for so many attacks, which have cost thousands of lives,” he said. “This is a time to remember all those murdered by Osama bin Laden, and all those who lost loved ones,” he said. “It is also a time too to thank all those who work round the clock to keep us safe from terrorism.”
European Commission President Barroso and European Council President Van Rompuy
The leaders said bin Laden’s death shows that bad deeds do not go unpunished.
“Osama bin Laden was a criminal responsible for heinous terrorist attacks that cost the lives of thousands of innocent people,” both said in a joint statement. “His death makes the world a safer place and shows that such crimes do not remain unpunished.”
French President Nicolas Sarkozy
Sarkozy said bin Laden’s death was a result of a “remarkable U.S. commando” operation.
“Osama Bin Laden was a promoter of the ideology of hatred and was the chief of a terrorist organization responsible for the deaths of thousands of victims, especially in Muslim countries,” he said.
“For his victims, justice has been done. Today, in France, we think of them and their families.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Merkel said the death is a major setback for the terror group.
“With the commando action against Osama bin Laden and his killing, the U.S. military has achieved a decisive strike against al Qaeda,” she said.
“At his command and in his name, terror was enforced into many countries against men women and children, Christians as well as Muslims. Osama bin Laden suggested that he was operating in the name of Islam, but in reality he makes a mockery of the fundamental values of his own and every other religion.”
Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister for the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip
The prime minister condemned the killing, describing bin Laden as a Muslim “mujahid” or holy warrior.
Al Qaeda and the Islamist radical group Hamas have no official relationship, but the Palestinian conflict with Israel has been the subject of frequent audio messages from al Qaeda.
India’s external affairs minister M. Krishnas
India applauded the killing as a “historic development and victorious milestone in the global war” against terror.
“Over the years, thousands of innocent lives of men, women and children have been tragically lost at the hands of terrorist groups,” the minister said.
“The world must not let down its united effort to overcome terrorism and eliminate the safe havens and sanctuaries that have been provided to terrorists in our own neighborhood.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
The prime minister applauded the development in the war against terror.
“Israel joins in the joy of the American people on this historic day in which Osama bin Laden was killed. … This is a resounding victory for justice, freedom and for the joint values of all the countries that fight side by side determinedly against terror.”
Israeli President Shimon Peres
“The end of bin Laden is a great piece of news for the free world,” he said.
“This man was a mega murderer, he killed thousands and thousands of people, people who were totally innocent, and would continue to kill, his purpose in life was to kill anybody who doesn’t belong to him.”
Italian foreign Minister Franco Frattini
The foreign minister said “this is a great victory for the United States and for the entire international community” in the fight against terror.
“It is a victory made possible by the determination of the United States in their hunt against the one responsible for the most tragic episode at the beginning of this century, 9/11 and numerous other tragedies,” he said. ” A victory that rewards the efforts that all of us next to the United States have fought and continue to fight against terrorism. A victory of good against evil, of justice against malignancy. It is a victory of the free and democratic world.”
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s office
Spokesman Noriyuki Shikata said the nation would continue its work with the international community to combat terrorism.
“We pay our respects to the efforts of those concerned, including the U.S. and Pakistan. We regard this as part of a united effort to fight against terrorism,” Shikata said. “Japan has been working on assistance to both Pakistan and Afghanistan, and proactively tackling the issue of terrorism.”
Kenyan government spokesman Alfred Mutua
The nation, which was bombed by al Qaeda in 1998, called his killing a “defining moment in the fight against” terrorism.
“Kenya was the first country to be attacked by al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden’s death comes as a relief to many of the victims of the bombings in East Africa,” the spokesman said.
“This is a significant success for the security of NATO allies and all the nations which have joined us in our efforts to combat the scourge of global terrorism to make the world a safer place for all of us,” it said in a statement. “NATO made clear that it considered the September 11 attacks on the United States an attack against all allies. We remember the thousands of innocent lives lost to terrorist atrocities in so many of our nations, in Afghanistan, and around the world.”
Pakistan foreign ministry
The Pakistani foreign ministry issued a statement confirming the terror leader’s death.
“In an intelligence driven operation, Osama bin Laden was killed in the surroundings of Abbottabad in the early hours of this morning. This operation was conducted by the U.S. forces in accordance with declared U.S. policy that Osama bin Laden will be eliminated in a direct action by the U.S. forces, wherever found in the world,” the ministry said.
“Earlier today, President Obama telephoned President Zardari on the successful U.S. operation which resulted in killing of Osama bin Laden.”
The ministry said the killing highlights the resolve of Pakistan and the international community to combat terrorism.
Russia said it is ready to help step up efforts to combat terror, saying only joint efforts can produce results.
“Russia was among the first countries to face the dangers inherent in global terrorism, and unfortunately knows what al Qaeda is not from hearsay,” the Kremlin said. “Retribution will inevitably reach all terrorists.”
Spain’s ruling Socialist Party
“This is good news because it has put an end to the symbolic leader of international jihadi terrorism, the al Qaeda chief, the head of the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world.”
Turkish President Abdullah Gul
Gul said he welcomed the news of bin Laden’s death.
“Terrorists and leaders of terrorists are captured alive or dead sooner or later,” Gul said at a news conference. “It should teach a lesson that the leader of the world’s most dangerous and sophisticated terrorist organization is captured this way.
Uganda government spokesman Fred Opolot
The east African nation pledged to continue its fight against terrorism. Ugandan troops are part of an African Union force helping fight the al-Shabaab — an al Qaeda proxy — in Somalia.
“Uganda shall continue to support the ongoing fight against global terrorism and renews its commitment to bring to justice those who commit acts of terror in the country,” the spokesman said.
The Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi
“Osama bin Laden, as we all know, had the very grave responsibility of spreading division and hatred amongst the people, causing the death of countless of people, and of instrumentalizing religion for this end,” he said. “In front of the death of man, a Christian never rejoices but rather reflects on the grave responsibility of each one in front of God and men, and hopes and commits himself so that every moment not be an occasion for hatred to grow but for peace.”
Yemeni government official
A government official described the death of Osama bin Laden as “a truly historic moment.”
We welcome the news … millions of people will sleep in peace tonight,” the official said. “Osama bin Laden was more of a symbolic figure, a spiritual leader for al Qaeda.”
The official said it is too early to determine how his death will affect the war against terror.
“But this is definitely a strong blow to the organization,” said the official, who did not want to be named because he is not authorized to talk to the media.
Embassy of the Republic of Yemen
“The government of the Republic of Yemen welcomes the elimination of Usama Bin Laden, the founding father of the al Qaeda terrorist network. The successful operation, spearheaded by U.S. forces, marks a monumental milestone in the ongoing global war against terrorism.”
Washington (CNN) — President Barack Obama addressed the nation Sunday night to announce the death of Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the worst terrorist attack on American soil. The following is a transcript of his speech.
President Obama: Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world, the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.
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.
We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda — an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.
Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort. We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.
Yet Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.
And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.
Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.
Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.
For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.
Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must — and we will — remain vigilant at home and abroad.
As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not — and never will be — at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.
Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done. But it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people.
Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.
The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as commander in chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded.
So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done.
Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work, nor know their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.
We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.
Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.
And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.
The cause of securing our country is not complete. But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.
Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.
- NEW: Terrorists will almost certainly attempt to avenge the death, Panetta says
- DNA matching is under way, a U.S. official says
- Intelligence work on a courier for bin Laden led to a key break
- Hundreds celebrate in front of the White House and in New York
(CNN) — The operation that killed Osama bin Laden was designed to do just that, not to take him alive, a U.S. government official told CNN Monday.
DNA matching is under way on samples from the body of the slain terrorist leader, the official said. There are photographs of the body with a gunshot wound to the side of the head that shows an individual who is not unrecognizable as bin Laden, the official said.