Skip to main content

Source: SEALs wore helmet-mounted cameras in bin Laden raid

From Barbara Starr, CNN
The U.S. military is reviewing footage of the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound, a military official says.
The U.S. military is reviewing footage of the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound, a military official says.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Audio message recorded by bin Laden days before his death, official says
  • U.S. Navy SEALs found porn at bin Laden compound
  • Official confident that SEALs' families can be protected amid safety concerns
  • Bin Laden apparently had a support system in Pakistan, U.S. officials say
RELATED TOPICS

(CNN) -- Members of the U.S. Navy SEAL team that attacked Osama bin Laden's Pakistani compound were wearing helmet-mounted digital cameras that recorded the mission, a U.S. military official told CNN Friday.

The official described the digital recording as hazy, fast-moving and subject to poor lighting in the rooms. The source also said it is hard to get clear images from the footage.

"This is not movie-quality stuff," the source said.

The revelation of the digital video was among a series of developments Friday in the wake of bin Laden's death, including word that U.S. intelligence officers, along with Pakistanis, interviewed three of his widows and found them "hostile."

A source familiar with the material seized from bin Laden's compound said Friday that U.S. Navy SEALs recovered a stash of pornography. The source would not discuss exactly where it was found, what it was or whether it is believed to belong to the al Qaeda leader or to someone else living at the site, such as bin Laden's couriers or his son.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan's northwest, the Taliban took responsibility for twin suicide bombings at a military training facility that killed 80 people, nearly all of them recruits, and said they were avenging bin Laden's killing, officials said. About 140 others were injured.

On a related front, four alleged U.S. drone strikes have pounded Pakistan's tribal region since the al Qaeda leader's death, including one Friday that killed four suspected Islamic militants in the Datta Khel region of North Waziristan, according to two Pakistani intelligence officials. They said an unmanned aircraft fired four missiles at a militant's vehicle.

Bin Laden's compound is also undergoing intense analysis, and U.S. officials say he apparently enjoyed a support network in Pakistan that allowed him to stay in one location for the past several years. He apparently didn't even prepare an escape plan or means to destroy his reams and gigabytes of documents in the event of an enemy assault, according to the U.S. sources.

In addition to the rash of intelligence said to be garnered from the raid, an unreleased audio message from bin Laden was found, a U.S. official said Friday. The message, produced in late April just days before his death, focused on bin Laden's support of the "Arab Spring."

The message refers to the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia but doesn't mention the uprisings in Libya, Yemen, Syria or elsewhere, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the classified nature of the information.

Back in the United States, the Pentagon is looking to "pump up the security" for the team of SEALs who killed bin Laden after the commandos expressed concern for their safety and the safety of their families, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday.

Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, said Friday that he is "absolutely" confident the families of the Navy SEALs involved in the raid can be protected, noting that such an issue is not new to the military.

"We've been very mindful of the effects on those who conduct operations like that, not just our SEALs," Roughead said. "But oftentimes, we will withhold the names of a particular ship, for example, simply because we don't want there to be any retribution against the families. And the world we live in today, people can garner that information very easily, simply by doing a little sleuthing."

Two lawmakers joined a public chorus for the release of photos of bin Laden's body after seeing the images themselves. "These are very graphic, gruesome pictures," said Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado. But seeing them "gave me a sense of finality and closure."

A conservative legal watchdog group has filed the first lawsuit seeking the public release of the video and photographs of the raid and its aftermath.

Judicial Watch is asking the Department of Defense to comply with a Freedom of Information request for the material, especially photos of bin Laden's body. The legal complaint to force compliance was made in federal court in Washington on Friday.

The SEALs' digital footage of their raid on the bin Laden compound is now being reviewed by the military as part of a standard post-mission analysis, said the U.S. military official.

Among other things, analysts are attempting to find exactly how much of the moment in which bin Laden was killed was recorded.

Describing the footage, the source said that any glimpses of bin Laden caught on camera would be brief. Because the cameras were attached to the SEALs' helmets, the footage is extremely unsteady and constantly shifting.

The source described much of the footage as fast and violent.

The video review will be used to help discern what went right and wrong during the raid. It helps the SEALs "remember what went on in the heat of the moment," the source said.

The review is meant to "look and learn," the source added.

CNN's Michael Martinez, Pam Benson and Larry Shaughnessy contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
Q&A: al Qaeda's power struggle
The appointment of a former Egyptian army lieutenant as the interim leader of al Qaeda suggests a power struggle within the Islamist organization.
Jihadists eager to avenge Osama
From Morocco to the Himalayas, online forums associated with al Qaeda overflow with declarations that global jihad will continue.
Who are al Qaeda's most wanted?
He was its founder and strategic guiding force, but now that Osama bin Laden is dead, who are al Qaeda's most wanted leaders?
U.S. to speak to bin Laden's wives
The United States will be given access to Osama bin Laden's wives, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik told CNN Tuesday.
Children recall bin Laden's compound
Children in Abbottabad said they noticed oddities at bin Laden's compound but were oblivious he was hiding in the city.
Exclusive: Bin Laden's young bride
Amal al-Sadah was "a quiet, polite, easygoing and confident teenager" who came from a big, conservative family in Yemen.
Roots of terror untouched by death
As the death of Osama bin Laden reverberates around the world the root causes of extremism are apparently largely being ignored.
Al Qaeda threats, terror plans surface
Saber-rattling al Qaeda warnings against the U.S. emerged as the killing of Osama bin Laden continued to yield a trove of intelligence.
 
Quick Job Search