CIA Director’s Message to the Workforce: Remembering the Raid in Abbottabad
Five years ago Sunday, two helicopters carrying a team of US Special Operations Forces cut through the night sky and descended on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Within minutes of touching down, they had accomplished their mission, ensuring that Usama Bin Ladin would never again threaten our country. The raid was a masterpiece of planning and execution, and it was the culmination of years of painstaking work by CIA and our Intelligence Community partners. In the words of Admiral William McRaven, who directed the raid, it was “one of the greatest intelligence operations of all times.”
I was at the White House on the day of the raid, monitoring its progress with the President and his national security team. I took great pride in knowing that the operation would never have been possible without CIA and the remarkable women and men who serve here. All of CIA’s strengths were brought to bear in the lead-up to the raid: our expertise, our capabilities, our resolve, our courage—both physical and moral. And perhaps most importantly, our efforts highlighted the teamwork that has always underpinned our Agency’s greatest achievements.
Ridding the world of Usama Bin Ladin was an act of supreme justice. It sent a message to our adversaries that America will never let up in the pursuit of those who threaten us. And it underscored what every Agency officer knows instinctively: that intelligence is essential to our Nation’s security, every bit as important to the strength of our democracy as diplomacy, law enforcement, and military service.
As we continue the fight against al-Qa‘ida, ISIL, and like-minded groups, the raid in Abbottabad reminds us that if we work together—with patience, courage, and purpose—nothing is beyond our reach.