Navy SEALs Who Captured, Killed Osama Bin Laden Return to United States


Osama bin Laden Unarmed During Raid

Officials said the No. 1 priority in evaluating the information would be to hunt for sketches and plans for attacks abroad and within the United States that Bin Laden had approved. Second, analysts are hunting for evidence regarding Ayman al-Zawahiri's whereabouts. He is al Qaeda's No. 2 in command and U.S. officials assume that Bin Laden knew where he was and how to contact him.

"It's our best opportunity for new clues about him," one official said.

When the 24 SEALs arrived by helicopter to the sprawling million-dollar compound in Abbottabad, intelligence showed only 60 percent to 80 percent certainty that Bin Laden was in the compound.

"The reality was we could have gone in there and not found Bin Laden at all," said CIA Director Leon Panetta on PBS' Newshour.

The president and top advisers, including Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, watched the action in real time, likely in night vision from a drone aircraft.

Panetta was on a corner of the screen explaining to the president and his team what they were seeing.

Panetta was receiving information from Vice Admiral William McRaven, a former SEAL himself. McRaven was running the operation.

"He is a stud. ... When things were at their tensest, he just got cooler," said one official about McRaven.

Things got tense when one of the Blackhawk helicopters stalled, breaking a rotor on the 18-foot walls of the compound. The SEALs switched to plan B and brought in a Chinook helicopter.

The elite team engaged in a firefight with Bin Laden's two trusted couriers, waking up neighbors.

"I heard gunfire around 1 a.m.," said Syed Riaz Hussein. "It was followed by a huge blast."

The SEALs moved to the third floor of the compound where they found Bin Laden. The 9/11 mastermind was unarmed. His young wife charged at the SEALs and was shot in the leg.

The SEALs worried that Bin Laden might be wearing a suicide vest or have the room booby trapped.

White House spokesman Jay Carney reaffirmed that killing Bin Laden -- even though he was unarmed -- was lawful.

"The team had the authority to kill Osama bin Laden unless he offered to surrender, in which case the team was required to accept his surrender if the team could do so safely. The operation was conducted in a manner fully consistent with the laws of war," said Carney at a press conference today.

Five people died, including Bin Laden's son Khalid. Twelve to 15 others, including women and children, survived the raid. At least two women and two children who survived have been taken to Islamabad.

The first indication for Obama that Bin Laden had been killed came when a Navy SEAL sent back the coded message to Washington that said simply "Geronimo-E KIA."

ABC News' Luis Martinez, Nick Schifrin, Habibullah Khan, Brian Ross and Lisa Jones contributed to this report.

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