A timeline of the events and intelligence work that led to President Obama’s dramatic late-night appearance announcing the capture and killing ofOsama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks:
Four Years Ago: American intelligence for the first time uncovers the name of Bin Laden’s trusted courier but cannot locate him.
Two Years Ago: American intelligence identifies areas in Pakistan where the courier and his brother have operated but cannot pinpoint exactly where they live.
August 2010: American intelligence locates the brothers’ residence, a compound about 35 miles north of Islamabad in the city of Abbottabad. The compound is so large, secluded and secured that analysts conclude it must shelter a higher-value target than a courier.
September 2010: The Central Intelligence Agency begins to work with President Obama on assessments that lead them to believe that Bin Laden may be located at the compound.
Mid-February 2011: United States government authorities determine that there was a sound intelligence basis to pursue this direction aggressively and develop courses of action.
March 14: Mr. Obama begins a series of National Security Council meetings to develop options for capturing or killing Bin Laden.
March 29: Mr. Obama convenes the second Council meeting on the operation.
April 12: Mr. Obama convenes the third meeting.
April 19: Mr. Obama convenes the fourth meeting.
April 28: Mr. Obama convenes the fifth meeting.
April 29: Mr. Obama authorizes the operation before flying to Alabama to inspect tornado damage.
2 p.m.: Mr. Obama meets with his national security team to review preparations.3:50 p.m.: Mr. Obama told that Bin Laden had been tentatively identified.7:01 p.m.: Mr. Obama told that it was a “high probability” that Bin Laden had been killed.11:35 p.m.: In a televised address, Mr. Obama announces Bin Laden’s death.