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U.S. leaders, political groups, welcome news of bin Laden's death

By the CNN Wire Staff
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'I never thought this night would come'
  • NEW: Newt Gingrich: "the world is a better place without Osama bin Laden"
  • Former Vice President Dick Cheney extends congratulations to Obama
  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney: "his (bin Laden) death will help bring closure to our city"
  • CIA director calls for vigilance: "Though Bin Ladin is dead, al-Qa'ida is not"

(CNN) -- Reaction to the announcement that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had been killed nearly 10 years after masterminding the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil was strong and swift from American political leaders:

Former President George W. Bush:

"A victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done."

Former Vice President Dick Cheney:

"I also want to congratulate President Obama and the members of his national security team. At this moment when bin Laden has been brought to justice, we especially remember the sacrifice of the young Americans who've paid the ultimate price in defense of the nation, as well as the nearly 3000 Americans who lost their lives on 9/11."

Former President Bill Clinton:

"I congratulate the president, the National Security team and the members of our armed forces on bringing Osama bin Laden to justice after more than a decade of murderous al Qaeda attacks."

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg:

"The killing of Osama bin Laden does not lessen the suffering that New Yorkers and Americans experienced at his hands, but it is a critically important victory for our nation. ... New Yorkers have waited nearly 10 years for this news. It is my hope that it will bring some closure and comfort to all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001."

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano:

"The death of Osama bin Laden is an important success not only for the United States, but the entire world. Our efforts to combat terrorism, however, do not fixate on one individual, and we remain completely focused on protecting our nation against violent extremism of all kinds......I commend the President and offer my gratitude to the men and women who defend and protect our nation at home and abroad, whether they wear a military or law enforcement uniform or serve as one of thousands of unsung heroes in the intelligence and homeland security community."

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates:

"Secretary Gates is enormously proud of everyone involved in making yesterday's operation a success. It was an extraordinary achievement."

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumseld:

"The man who once called the United States "a paper tiger" and issued a fatwa to "kill all Americans" believed that our nation would not strike back if provoked. Today that man, responsible for the deaths of 3,000 Americans on September 11th, Osama bin Laden, is dead......All of this was made possible by the relentless, sustained pressure on al Qaeda that the Bush administration initiated after 9/11 and that the Obama administration has wisely chosen to continue."

CIA Director Leon Panetta:

"Nothing will ever compensate for the pain and suffering inflicted by this mass murderer and his henchmen. But just as evil never rests, neither does good. May the fact that Usama Bin Ladin no longer inhabits the earth be a source of comfort for the thousands of families, here in America and around the globe, who mourn the victims of al-Qa'ida's barbarity......

Though Bin Ladin is dead, al-Qa'ida is not. The terrorists almost certainly will attempt to avenge him, and we must -- and will -- remain vigilant and resolute. But we have struck a heavy blow against the enemy. The only leader they have ever known, whose hateful vision gave rise to their atrocities, is no more. The supposedly uncatchable one has been caught and killed. And we will not rest until every last one of them has been delivered to justice."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR):

"We join our fellow citizens in welcoming the announcement that Osama bin Laden has been eliminated as a threat to our nation and the world through the actions of American military personnel. ... Bin Laden never represented Muslims or Islam. In fact, in addition to the killing of thousands of Americans, he and Al Qaeda caused the deaths of countless Muslims worldwide. We also reiterate President Obama's clear statement tonight that the United States is not at war with Islam."

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio:

"This is ... a victory in our continued fight against al Qaeda and radical extremism around the world. We continue to face a complex and evolving terrorist threat, and it is important that we remain vigilant in our efforts."

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada:

"This is the most significant victory in our fight against al Qaeda and terrorism, but that fight is not over ... As we remember those who were killed on that dark day in September and their families, we also reaffirm our resolve to defeat the terrorist forces that killed them and thousands of others across the globe."

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper:

"It is with great pride and admiration that I offer thanks to all of the dedicated men and women of our community who worked so tirelessly in this achievement. I want to thank the President for his cool, decisive leadership. The Intelligence Community will never waver in our continued commitment to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies."

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida:

"Finally. We cut off the head of the snake. It's our intelligence that got him. The noose has been tightening because of our intelligence operations."

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Massachusetts:

"(This) closes an important chapter in our war against extremists who kill innocent people around the world. We are a nation of peace and laws, and people everywhere should understand that our 10-year manhunt was in search of justice, not revenge."

U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia:

"Justice has been done. The man with the blood of more than 3,000 (people) on his hands, the man who forced us to begin to think the unthinkable -- is now dead. ... While this is no doubt a major event in our battle against terrorism, we will not relent in our fight against terror and our efforts to keep America safe and secure."

U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-New York, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee:

"In 2001, President Bush said 'we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.' President Bush deserves great credit for putting action behind those words. President Obama deserves equal credit for his resolve in this long war against al-Qaeda.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:

"Justice has been done and we are all indebted to the American military and intelligence community for their skill and dedication. Nothing can bring back bin Laden's innocent victims, but perhaps this can help salve the wounds of their loved ones."

Retired Gen. Colin Powell, former secretary of state

"Osama bin Laden is dead and buried at sea. Justice has been done. His death brings a sense of relief to the families of 911 and the families of all those brave America troops who have fought this war over the past ten years. I congratulate the intelligence community and the assaulting troops for this flawless operation. Osama bin Laden was just one man. The al-Qaeda threat remains and we must be vigilant and aggressive against them until they are totally destroyed."

Former U.S. Secretary. of Homeland Security Tom Ridge

"The news that Osama bin Laden is no more demonstrates the resolve of the intelligence and military community and the American community writ large. We did not forget, nor will we ever. May this news give some measure of comfort to those we lost on 9/11 and those we have lost since that day, who fought so bravely to answer brutality with justice."

U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, ranking Republican of the Senate Armed Services Committee:

"The world is a better and more just place now that Osama bin Laden is no longer in it. I hope the families of the victims of the September 11th attacks will sleep easier tonight and every night hence knowing that justice has been done."

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee:

"(This) is a credit to our intelligence efforts and brings to justice the architect of the attacks on our country that killed nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001."

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence:

"The announcement that Usama bin Laden is dead is welcome news, and I congratulate the CIA for finding him and providing the information that led to his death. I also congratulate the U.S. military team who conducted this clean and precise operation."

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California:

"The death of Osama bin Laden marks the most significant development in our fight against al Qaeda ... It is a testament to the professionalism of our dedicated national security professionals that no American lives were lost in this operation ... I hope that today's action provides some comfort to the 9/11 families who lost loved ones in the devastating attacks on our shores."

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York:

"This is a thunderous strike for justice for the thousands of my fellow New Yorkers -- and citizens from all over the world -- who were murdered on 9/11. It took close to 10 years, but the world's most wanted terrorist has finally met his deserved fate."

Representative Carolyn Maloney, D-New York

"As we approach the 10th anniversary of that terrible day, this is also a solemn moment to reflect and remember. Nearly 3,000 men, women, and children died in New York City alone, due directly to orders issued by Osama Bin Laden. His death will help bring a measure of closure to our city and it represents the end of a chapter in a larger story still to be written."

PAKPAC, a Pakistani-American advocacy group:

"(Bin Laden's) death is a victory for the civilized world ... Now with the Arab awakening, and democracy taking hold in the Middle East, PAKPAC is confident that al Qaeda and its ideology will be relegated to the dust bin of history."

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo:

"New Yorkers endured bin Laden's most devastating and destructive attack, and his death brings back the horrific images and emotions of that terrible day. However, his death also reminds us of our strength, courage, and unity as a people in our response to his actions."

Former U.S. Department of Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff:

"With the World Trade Center still smoldering, America promised to bring Osama bin Laden to justice or justice to him. Tonight's announcement that bin Laden has been killed brings a tremendous amount of gratification and I hope, great comfort to those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001."

Possible 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee:

"It is unusual to celebrate a death, but today Americans and decent people the world over cheer the news that madman, murderer and terrorist Osama bin Laden is dead ... Welcome to hell, bin Laden. Let us all hope that his demise will serve notice to Islamic radicals the world over that the United States will be relentless is tracking down and terminating those who would inflict terror, mayhem and death on any of our citizens."

Possible 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney:

"This is a great victory for lovers of freedom and justice everywhere. Congratulations to our intelligence community, our military and the president. My thoughts are with the families of Osama bin Laden's many thousands of victims, and the brave servicemen and women who have laid down their lives in pursuit of this murderous terrorist."

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, possible 2012 GOP presidential candidate:

"Tonight's news does not bring back the lives of the thousands of innocent people who were killed that day by Osama bin Laden's horrific plan, and it does not end the threat posed by terrorists, but it is my hope that this is the beginning of the end of Sharia-compliant terrorism."

Possible 2012 GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich:

"The world is a better place without Osama bin Laden, but his just demise cannot erase the loss and suffering of the families and friends of those who died on September 11 or died fighting in the war since September 11. So while we are celebrating this victory, we should take time to remember all who suffered and sacrificed and pray for them."

Possible 2012 GOP presidential candidate Sarah Palin:

"Thank you, American men and women in uniform. You are America's finest and we are so proud. Thank you for fighting against terrorism."

Possible 2012 GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum:

"This is extraordinary news for all freedom loving people of the world, and I commend all those involved for this historic triumph. Americans have waited nearly ten years for the news of Osama bin Laden's death. And while this is a very significant objective that cannot be minimized, the threat from Jihadism does not die with bin Laden."

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, possible 2012 GOP presidential candidate:

"This is terrific news for freedom and justice. In the hours after the 9/11 attacks, President Bush promised that America would bring Osama bin Laden to justice -- and we did. I want to congratulate America's armed forces and President Obama for a job well done."

Anti-Defamation League

"The death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of U.S. forces in Pakistan strikes a critical blow against the Al Qaeda network and is a significant turning point in the war against global terrorism...... We extend our congratulations and appreciation to President Barack Obama and the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Services and intelligence community who engaged in a relentless pursuit of this mortal enemy of freedom and peace."

"While we are collectively aware of today's news, our company continues to remain focused on moving forward from that terrible day, while continuing to remember, think of, and pray for those who lost their lives, as well as for their loved ones who remain behind."

American Airlines spokesperson Tim Smith:

"While we are collectively aware of today's news, our company continues to remain focused on moving forward from that terrible day, while continuing to remember, think of and pray for those who lost their lives, as well as for their loved ones who remain behind."