Osama Bin Laden's Death Brings Concerns Over Security
By: Patrick Madden and Rebecca Cooper
May 2, 2011
A crowd gathered outside the White House late Sunday night after President Obama announced that U.S. special forces had killed Osama bin Laden.
The agency has also taken other security measures on the area's transit system "designed to be invisible."
The State Department has put U.S. embassies around the world on alert, and also issued a worldwide travel alert.
In Maryland, Gov. Martin O'Malley is talking with state and local officials who have been reminded to be extra vigilant in case of reprisals following bin Laden's death. O'Malley's spokesman says in a conference call the governor urged law enforcement and local governments to work together to make sure they are in constant communication and cooperating with federal agencies.
In D.C. a spontaneous celebration broke out outside the White House early Monday morning after President Obama gave the U.S. the news that special forces had killed bin Laden. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray met with his top security staff and his director of Homeland Security, WAMU's Matt Laslo reports. Gray says he's already upped the District's police presence too, and that they remain on high alert.
The death of the al-Qaida leader that planned the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001 brought hundreds of people to the gates of the White House in the early hours of Monday morning.
First it was a couple dozen students from George Washington University, then other students came, and then more people. Residents, tourists, servicemen and women, and government workers, all came to the gates of the White House to witness history.
"When I heard the speech of the president, I decided I would head right to the White House," said Marko, a former U.S. diplomatic service official that was serving in India at the time of 9/11. "Because I felt that it was a time to be with our president, in this time of -- I would not call it triumph -- but redress for grave injuries done to our country."
"Knowing that the al-Qaida leader is dead is "mind-blowing," said Jake, a student at George Washington University that was joining many of his fellow students outside the White House last night. He pointed out that his generation has known little else than the U.S. with bin Laden as its top enemy.
"People that are my age have spent over half their lives knowing that Osama bin Laden is the big bad guy," he says. "Knowing that he's gone, that he's dead, is mind numbing almost. It's mind blowing that it's finally over."
Students studying for final exams at George Washington University began their celebration on campus and quickly moved to the White House, according to one student, who was in the library when the President spoke. "I stepped outside, and everyone was screaming," she said. "It was just like an overall ambiance that took over the entire campus and just led everyone here. It was awesome."
Not everyone was so jubilant, however, as the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, the State Department and the president himself warned that the move to take out the former al-Qaida leader could lead to retaliation attempts.
Local Muslim students also have nuanced reactions to bin Laden's death, WAMU's Jonathan Wilson reports. One Northern Virginia Community College student worries that bin Laden's death will remind Americans of 9/11. Sherouk Atta says that could bring back some of the tensions inflamed by those events.
Monday, WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi Show got reactions on the bin Laden death from local officials, lawmakers, and callers, as well as explored how this news may affect America and our relationships around the world.
A sampling of the Twitter traffic for Osama bin Laden Monday:
Doris Meissner was the head of Immigration and Naturalization Services under President Bill Clinton, and she speaks with Armando Trull about the constraints on the current president as he seeks to handle the immigration crisis.
When you give to WAMU, your tax-deductible membership gift helps make possible award-winning programs such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered, The Diane Rehm Show, The Kojo Nnamdi Show, and other favorites.