McRaven: Bin Laden raid was 'historic'

July 26, 2012 at 1:22 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 26 (UPI) -- Adm. William McRaven, the head of U.S. Special Operations command, says the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden was historic but gave no details.

McRaven talked about the special operation during a panel discussion Wednesday moderated by CNN's Wolf Blitzer at the Aspen Institute Security Conference.

McRaven, a Navy SEAL himself, said U.S. forces conducted 11 missions on May 2, 2011, the night bin Laden died in Pakistan, but he declined to give details of any operations saying only that the raid on bin Laden's Abbottabad compound would go down as one of the "great intelligence operations in history."

"My job was to get him [bin Laden] if he was there," McRaven said. "If he wasn't there, we would know that pretty quickly and we would get up and get out."

The admiral commands 66,000 Special Forces from all branches of the U.S. armed forces, including some 7,000 deployed in Afghanistan, CNN said. He also declined to tell persistent audience members details of the military drone campaign in Pakistan that has killed top al-Qaida and Taliban leaders.

"We are never happy when leaks occur and we go to very great lengths to protect our sources and methods," he said. "Sooner or later it [leaks] is going to cost people their lives, or it is going to cost us our national security."

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