Skip to main content

Obama personally thanks CIA officers involved in bin Laden's death

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The president visits CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia
  • A crowd of about 1,000 greets Obama with cheers and a standing ovation
  • He also meets with CIA Director Leon Panetta and the director of National Intelligence

(CNN) -- President Barack Obama honored CIA officers for their role in the death of Osama bin Laden during a visit to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, on Friday.

A crowd of about 1,000 greeted Obama with cheers and a standing ovation, according to CIA spokeswoman Marie Harf.

"In helping to locate and take down Osama bin Laden, you made it possible for us to achieve the most significant victory yet in our war to defeat al Qaeda," the president said.

On May 1, Obama announced to the world that bin Laden was dead. Bin Laden and four others were killed in a 40-minute firefight at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Islamabad.

The U.S. operation, which involved Navy SEALs, took years of intelligence work and months of tracking leads.

Before his speech on Friday, Obama met with about 60 key CIA and intelligence officers, including analysts from the Counter Terrorism Center and the National Security Agency.

He also met privately with CIA Director Leon Panetta and James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence.

The trip to the CIA headquarters was the president's third since taking office.

Each visit "has marked another milestone in our mission to protect the American people and keep our country safe," he said.