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Newly released photographs show tense hours in White House during Osama bin Laden raid

Recently released US government photos show key moments in the White House during 2011’s raid that resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden.

Images show US Navy SEALs shooting bin Laden dead after he was revealed to have been the one who had founded al Qaeda as well as being responsible for the attacks of 9/11. The images show Barack Obama phoning other world leaders and telling them about the incident.

The Washington Post submitted a Freedom of Information Act Request to the Obama Presidential Library.

The US news service received more than 900 photos taken by White House official photographers on May 1, 2011.

Before the raid, Barack Obama (top/centre) is joined by his National Security Team, including Vice President Joe Biden (top left), Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (3rd from right), and other members. Pic: Obama Presidential Library

Around 4pm, while in the Situation room conference room, Mr Obama and his national security team heard the voice from Admiral William McRaven who was leading the operation out of Afghanistan.

The president watched a live feed of the raid from a smaller anteroom before leaving the meeting room.

Air Force Brigadier-General Brad Webb offered to sit in the anteroom, but Mr Obama pulled up a hardback and said “sit”.

Picture: Brigadier-General Brad Webb, Air Force, with Mr Obama in the anteroom. Pic: Obama Presidential Library

The national security team of Mr Obama quickly squeezed into the room with him to watch the video feed.

Photo: Obama Presidential Library

Minutes later, Mr Obama’s team was told that “Geronimo EKIA… Geronimo ID”d.

The codename “EKIA”, which stands for “enemy dead in action”, was given to bin Laden by Geronimo.

After hearing these words, Mr Obama replied: “We’ve got him.”

Later, the CIA and US Military were criticized for using an Apache leader’s name as a codename to refer to the 9/11 mastermind.

Image: Before leaving the anteroom, Mr Obama shakes his hands with members of his team including Hillary Clinton. Pic: Obama Presidential Library

Later, the national security team reconvened at the Situation Room Conference room where Admiral McRaven informed them that he had been looking at the corpse and it looked like bin Laden.

He asked a SEAL of 6ft 2ins tall to lie beside the body in order to confirm that it matched Al Qaeda’s leader, who is 6ft 4ins high.

Mr Obama replied: “Seriously, Bill. You did all that planning, and yet you didn’t have a tape measure?

Photo: Obama Presidential Library

Obama returned to the White House for preparations before his speech. He had decided to announce the death of bin Laden that evening.

Image: Picture: Obama Presidential Library

Mr Obama called former Presidents George W Bush, Bill Clinton and told them about the success of the raid.

He also called British Prime Minister David Cameron, and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

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Image: While his team is making last-minute adjustments to his speech, Mr Obama talks on the phone.

Around 10.30pm that night local time, White House staff was making changes to President Obama’s remarks in preparation for his televised address just over an hour after.

According to reports, the president wanted to strike a positive tone by saying that if “America actually sticks with something”, it can “do big things”.

Image: Picture: Obama Presidential Library

The Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen and Vice President Joe Biden (now the president of the United States) posed in front of the rosary rings that they wore on their fingers when the raid took place.

Picture: Admiral Mike Mullen with Vice President Joe Biden. Pic: Obama Presidential Library

Around 11.42pm local, Mr Obama delivered a televised speech that was broadcast around the globe.

He started by saying “Good evening. He began by saying: “Good evening.”

Photo: Obama Presidential Library


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