Obama wanted bin Laden's DNA first

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on June 09 2011 12:56 PM
President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama Reuters

U.S. President Barack Obama likes to be right.

After the death of Osama bin Laden, Obama wanted to keep the news from the public until he was certain that the al-Qaeda chieftain had been killed in the Abbottabad compound raid in Pakistan.

According to ABC News White House correspondent Jake Tapper, Obama wanted to wait to tell the public about bin Laden's death until DNA evidence was analyzed. While his staff persisted that the news should be spread immediately, the President held his ground, waiting for proof.

 Let's wait until we get that DNA evidence back, Obama reportedly told his advisors. Let's tell the Pakistanis, make sure they understand our perspective... Let's get all of our ducks in a row.

Navy SEALs sent DNA samples electronically to the US for immediate analysis, but the results would take overnight to generate. As previously reported, some of the DNA used was likely that of bin Laden's sister, who died of brain cancer in Boston.

Yet, despite his firm stance, Obama was eventually swayed. Convinced by his staff and Pakistani general Ashfaq Parvez Kayani that the news would break without him, Obama held a televised press conference. At 11:35 PM, he shared the news of bin Laden's death with the world.

The DNA data later confirmed with ninety-nine percent accuracy that the body indeed belonged to bin Laden.

Along with preliminary intelligence that bin Laden was in the compound, women who lived in the compound confirmed that the body did belong to the desired target. Additionally, a photo of the cadaver was analyzed using face recognition software, which indicated with ninety percent certainty that the body was bin Laden.

Before the photo and DNA sample had been sent, the first piece of evidence used to identify the al-Qaeda leader was his height. According to the Tapper's report, a SEAL who was six feet tall lay next to the body and was shorter by about four inches, matching bin Laden's reported stature.

We can afford to expend a $60 million plane on this operation, but we can't afford a tape measure? the president is quoted as saying.

 

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