FOIA emails give details in Osama bin Laden burial at sea
By RICHARD LARDNER Associated Press November 21, 2012 4:36PM
FILE - In this April 1998 file photo, exiled al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is seen in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden was unquestionably within reach of U.S. troops in the mountains of Tora Bora when American military leaders made the crucial and costly decision not to pursue the terrorist leader with massive force, a Senate report says. (AP Photo, file)
Updated: December 24, 2012 7:14AM
WASHINGTON — Internal emails among senior U.S. military officials reveal that no sailors watched Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea from the USS Carl Vinson and traditional Islamic procedures were followed during the ceremony.
The emails, obtained by The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act, are heavily blacked out, but are the first public disclosure of information about the al-Qaida’s leader’s death.
Bin Laden was killed on May 1, 2011, by a Navy SEAL team that assaulted his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
One email sent on May 2 by a senior Navy officer briefly describes how bin Laden’s body was washed, wrapped in a white sheet, and then placed in a weighted bag.
According to another message, only a small group of the ship’s leadership was informed of the burial.