Transcript for President Obama Announces the Death of Osama bin Laden in 2011
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's top leader of al-Qaeda. A terrorist who's responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men women and children. It was nearly ten years ago the 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 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 the were on scene to the world. Empty seat at the dinner table. Children were forced to grow up without their mother other father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child's embrace. Nearly 3000 citizens. Taken from us leaving a gaping hole and our hearts. September 11 2001. And our time of grief. The American people came together. We offered our neighbor's hand and we offer the wounded are blunt. 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 pray to or what race or ethnicity we work. We were united. As one American family. We were also united in our resolve. To protect our nation. And a boarding to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We clicked quickly learn 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 glow. And so we went to war against al-Qaeda. To protect our citizens. Our friends. And our allies. Over the last ten 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 strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan we removed tell him on government which had given bin Laden and al-Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe we worked with their friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al-Qaeda terrorists. Including several who were part of the nine elevenths plot. It Osama bin Laden aborted capture. And escaped across the Afghan border into pockets. Meanwhile al-Qaeda continue to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliate 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 all cart. 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 been locked. It was far from Cirque. And took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we develop more information about the possibility that we have located bin Laden hiding within a compound. Deep inside pockets now. 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 a bottom bop pocket stuff. Small team of Americans carried out the operation was extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were parked. It 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 Allen's. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al-Qaeda. It is death does not mark the end of our for. There's no doubt that I'll try to will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must. And we will remain vigilant at home and abroad. As we do we must also reaffirmed that the United States is not and never will be at war with is lop. I've made clear. Just as President Bush did shortly after nine all out of our war is not against Islam there's been logged was not a Muslim leader. He was a mass murder of Muslims. Indeed al-Qaeda slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries including RO. Source 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 what's. 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 it was hike. Indeed bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people. Tonight I called presents are dark and my team has also spoken with their pockets I counterparts. They agree. That this is a good and historic day for both of our nation's. And going forward it is essential that Pakistani continue to join us in the fight against al-Qaeda and its affiliates. The American people did not choose this part. It came to our shores. And started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly ten years of service. Struggle. And sacrifice. We know well the cost of war. These efforts weigh on me every time mind as commander in chief have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a lot. From look in the eyes of a service member. Who's been gravely wounded. So Americans understand the cost 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 melts. 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 worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see either work. Or 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 man who carried out this operation or they exemplify professionalism. Patriotism and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And their part of the generation that has born have you share of the burden since that September day. Finally let me say it of the families who lost loved ones on nine all out. 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 91. I know that it has a time straight. Yet today's achievement is a testament. To the greatness of our comfort. 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 what ever we set our mind to. As the story of our history. Whether it's the pursuit of prosperity for 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 may god bless the United States of America.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.