Declassified Government Documents Available for Download

Osama bin Laden, the founder and head of the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda, was killed in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, shortly after 1:00 am PKT (20:00 UTC, May 1) by Navy SEALs of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group (also known as DEVGRU or SEAL Team Six). The operation, code-named Operation Neptune Spear, was carried out in a Central Intelligence Agency-led operation. In addition to DEVGRU, participating units included the U.S. Army Special Operations Command's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) and CIA operatives.  The raid on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, was launched from Afghanistan. After the raid, U.S. forces took bin Laden's body to Afghanistan for identification, then buried it at sea within 24 hours of his death.

Al-Qaeda confirmed the death on May 6 with posts made on militant websites, vowing to avenge the killing. Other Pakistani militant groups, including the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, also vowed retaliation against the U.S. and against Pakistan for not preventing the operation. Bin Laden's killing was generally favorably received by U.S. public opinion; was welcomed by the United Nations, NATO, the European Union, and a large number of governments; but was condemned by some, including Fidel Castro of Cuba and Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Hamas administration of the Gaza Strip. Legal and ethical aspects of the killing, such as his not being taken alive despite being unarmed, were questioned by others, including Amnesty International. Also controversial was the decision to not release any photographic or DNA evidence of bin Laden's death to the public. The Abbottabad Commission Report of the Pakistani Abbottabad commission was released by Al Jazeera on July 8, 2013.  

The following documents have been obtained under the FOIA, regarding the death of Bin Laden.

  Department of State Records [38 Pages, 3.31MB]

  Department of Defense Records, FOIA Case File 14-F-0643 [ Added 04/30/2014 ] [17 Pages, 0.9MB] - The DOD is the central office for responding to all enquiries regarding information on Bin Laden's death.  I requested from the NSA: "all records pertaining to the talking points for the media and the public, how the government would announce his death, etc."  My request was forwarded to the DOD for a response.  I requested the FOIA Case File to see how the agency communicated about the request, and this was the result.

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