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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rep. Young: Bin Laden operation, planned for weeks, "symbolic victory"

 U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores, said he had receiving intelligence briefing weeks ago indicating the U.S. knew where Osama bin Laden was and planned to attack him. Young, a chairman of the House defense appropriations panel, described the facility as a "fortress" based on picture he saw.

"I have been in close contact with the director of the Central Intelligence Agency over several weeks. ... He had kept me briefed on the fact Osama’s location was identified ... and that location would be attacked as soon as it was possible," Young said late Sunday, referring to minimizing "collateral damage."

Reports of a palace or large facility hold Bin Laden might mistate the actual size, Young said.

"I can tell you that’s probably an understatement. I have seen the intelligence and the photographys of the facility. It is like a fortress. They have taken extreme measures to avoid giving away Osama was there.

"It is a major symbolic victory here. The al-Qaida leadership has been pretty much attacked by the U.S. and distrupted. ... So I don’t know to what extent Osama was handling day-to-day business -- that doesn’t change the fact he was a major symbol for al-Qaida, that he was kind of a martyr, a living martyr."

[Last modified: Monday, May 2, 2011 1:11pm]

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