The CIA marked the fifth anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden by live-tweeting the raid by US special forces on the Al Qaeda founder’s compound in Pakistan as if it were happening on Monday.
A series of 13 tweets with the hashtag #UBLRaid summed up the raid on the walled compound located a short distance from the Pakistan Military Academy in Abbottabad but provided very little new information, except for possibly the first confirmation of the exact time of bin Laden’s death.
“To mark the 5th anniversary of the Usama Bin Ladin operation in Abbottabad we will tweet the raid as if it were happening today. #UBLRaid,” @CIA said while announcing the tweets.
The tweets included the famous picture of President Barack Obama and other US officials watching matters unfold from the White House’s Situation Room.
“3:39 pm EDT - Usama Bin Ladin found on third floor and killed #UBLRaid,” said the tweet which gave the time of bin Laden’s death. This tweet garnered the maximum retweets – more than 3,000.
3:39 pm EDT - Usama Bin Ladin found on third floor and killed#UBLRaid— CIA (@CIA) May 1, 2016
With 1.33 million followers on Twitter, the Central Intelligence Agency has put out 1,662 tweets since it joined the platform in February 2014. The account’s bio states: “We are the Nation’s first line of defense. We accomplish what others cannot accomplish and go where others cannot go.”
Shortly before the tweets on the bin Laden raid, CIA chief John Brennan said taking out Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State, would have a “great impact”.
He also warned that Al Qaeda remained a threat, and that the IS was not just an organisation but a phenomenon.
“We have destroyed a large part of Al Qaeda. It’s not completely eliminated. So we have to stay focused on what it can do,” Brennan told NBC’s “Meet the Press” talk show.
“Now, with the new phenomenon of (IS), this is going to challenge us for years to come.”
Asked if removing al-Baghdadi from action was as important as the Bin Laden operation, Brennan, who does not often do interviews, was direct.
“If we got Baghdadi, I think it would have a great impact on the organisation. And it will be felt by them,” he said.
(With inputs from agencies)