How did U.S. confirm the body was bin Laden's?
Officials say DNA, photo comparisons, facial recognition and biometric analysis of bin Laden's body was used to identify him.
May 2nd, 2011
06:30 PM ET

How did U.S. confirm the body was bin Laden's?

(CNN) - It took mere hours to confirm that the person killed in a compound near Pakistan's capital was Osama bin Laden.

How did officials know that the man who was shot in the head Sunday was really the world's most wanted terrorist?

DNA, among other things, senior officials told CNN.

Officials compared the DNA of the person killed at the Abbottabad compound with the bin Laden "family DNA" to determine that the 9/11 mastermind had in fact been killed, a senior administration official said.

It was not clear how many different family members' samples were compared or whose DNA was used.

During a press briefing Monday afternoon, John Brennan, President Barack Obama's adviser on homeland security and counterterrorism said they had "preliminary DNA intelligence" ahead of the strike.

Among the five killed in the compound, one of them was one of bin Laden's adult sons, officials said.

Also to identify bin Laden, a visual ID was made. There were photo comparisons and other facial recognition used to identify him, the official said. A second official said that in addition to DNA, there was full biometric analysis of facial and body features.

Dr. Victor Weedn, a forensic pathologist who helped pioneer the military's DNA identification program,said it's likely that the military would have samples for high-profile terrorists like bin Laden.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Osama bin Laden
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Scott

    I won't believe a bit of it until I see video (preferably) or photos of a dead Osama. I don't argue that Bin Laden is dead, because if he wasn't reports would eventually surface and blow the administrations credibility to pieces. I simply think the timing is too meticulous for election time. I say Osama had been killed long ago, and after it had been verified, Obama kept it as an "ace up his sleeve". I would love to be proven wrong. Sliding Osama, the most wanted man in the history of the United States of America, into the dark ocean at 1am and offering no proof is unlikely and unacceptable. The administration owes the people of this country proof, whether those images are graphic or not. Until that happens, this American doesn't buy it.

    May 3, 2011 at 1:32 am |
  2. Hannelore Garrett

    Why was the body "buried at sea" before the world got to see that Osama bin Laden was really and truly dead? That sounds fishy......pun intended? What happens to the bounty on the terrorist's head?

    May 3, 2011 at 12:02 am |
  3. Richard Ciccotelli

    How is it possible that the local police or Pakistani military did not respond to a 40 minute firefight within a stone's throw of other homes and at least one military academy? Why is it that I have not heard one reporter ask that question?

    May 2, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
  4. Lucille

    I am just so proud of President Obama, the planners, the special ops!! This is what my country really is. Where's the Donald now?

    May 2, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
  5. paul

    Was he really buried or maybe being torchered somewhere at sea? It's always an elaborate game.

    May 2, 2011 at 10:19 pm |