U.S. cabinet chiefs watched solemnly and with evident fatigue as President Barack Obama addressed the nation late Sunday night to say U.S. forces had killed Osama bin Laden in a firefight in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and had custody of his remains.
A rare celebratory moment in U.S. foreign policy turned out to be a somewhat somber one for the national security principals involved, with the stakes still high, so many lives lost in the past decade, and ongoing national security challenges still ahead.
Earlier Sunday, Obama and his national security team watched the operation in Pakistan going down (below):
(Top Photo: Seated from the left: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, CIA Director Leon Panetta, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden. Standing in the back, from left: Tony Blinken, national security adviser to Vice President Biden; White House chief of staff Bill Daley; and an unidentified man.
Bottom photo: President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. Seated, from left, are: Brigadier General Marshall B. "Brad" Webb, Assistant Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command; Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Standing, from left, are: Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; National Security Advisor Tom Donilon; Chief of Staff Bill Daley; Tony Blinken, National Security Advisor to the Vice President; Audrey Tomason Director for Counterterrorism; John Brennan, Obama's counterterrorism advisor, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Both photos: Pete Souza/White House.)