​White House Situation Room

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May 5, 2011

White House Situation Room – It’s a room that has monitored many situations in the White House, including the death of Osama bin Laden. The latest task was monitoring the strike on bin Laden’s compound in real time. The White House Situation Room was filled with computers and television screens as President Barack Obama and his national security team looked on.

Members of the group held their breath and barely spoke as they waited to see whether a carefully crafted yet extremely risky plan would succeed, said White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan. Obama had been playing golf but returned to the White House for the suspenseful watch Sunday. Brennan said he would not reveal details “about what types of visuals we had or what type of feeds that were there but it was – it gave us the ability to actually track it on an ongoing basis.”

Typically, members of the Navy SEAL team that conducted the operation wear helmet cameras that transmit sound and video to their operation centers and that data can be fed live to the White House and Pentagon. Gathered in the White House Situation Room, the viewers looked on, filled with anxiety and concern.

As the SEALs lowered themselves from helicopters into bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the president and his advisers could only wait.

“It was probably one of the most anxiety-filled periods of time, I think, in the lives of the people who were assembled here yesterday,” Brennan told reporters. “The minutes passed like days, and the president was very concerned about the security of our personnel.” As everyone sat in the White House Situation Room, the SEALs reported the death of bin Laden.