Pelosi: Death of Osama bin Laden Sends a Clear Message the American People Will Pursue Justice

May 4, 2011

Washington, D.C. - Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor this evening during a special order hour commending President Obama and the members of the military and intelligence community who carried out the mission that killed Osama bin Laden.  Below are the Leader's remarks.       

“I thank the gentleman for yielding and for his very kind words.  I thank you for giving, yielding your special order that you have practically every night that the Congress is in session to talk about jobs for the American people, to instead allow us to use this time to come to the floor to say ‘Hail to the Chief.'

“Congratulations and thank you, President Obama.  All of, many of us, in Congress come together in appreciation for your leadership, your determination, your commitment of resources in the fight against Osama bin Laden.

“I am pleased to join so many of my colleagues who have come to the floor to express their appreciation for that historic achievement.  We all know that the death of Osama bin Laden is not the end of terrorism, but it is a significant step.  It sends a clear message that the American people will pursue justice.

“I'd also like to express my gratitude to our former colleague, our former colleague Congressman but now Director of the CIA, soon to be Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.  He was tasked by the President and named by the President in his remarks on Sunday evening as the person who had the responsibility to get the job done.

“Our colleague, Congresswoman Jackson Lee, has referenced his entire national security team, some specifically.  I want to associate myself with her comments in that regard.  The President's national security team, Special Ops team, men and women in uniform and our officers in the intelligence community--it is a testament to their professionalism, their precision, their talent that no American lives were lost in this action.   But it is, again, indicative of, again, their contributions that they and their families made to help us and uphold our oath of office, to protect and defend.  That's what we take an oath of office to do.

“We recognize that this achievement was not just the goal of President Obama--who said as candidate Obama and as President: ‘If I have actionable intelligence on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, I will act upon them.'  And act upon them, he did.

“I called both former President George W. Bush and President Clinton to thank them for their work in this regard.  In the 90s, President Clinton declared Osama bin Laden America's public enemy number one.  He saw that danger long before 9/11.  And of course, 9/11 following that, President Bush tried to pursue Osama bin Laden, and their work was important.  But I am here to commend President Obama in particular for carrying out, executing the plan to get it done in recognition of the foundation that was laid by President Clinton and President Bush.

“When we think of why this is important, and the symbol that Osama bin Laden was and why bringing this to closure is important, we are venturing on to sacred ground: 9/11, a shocking act of terrorism that affected our country very, very deeply but none more deeply than the families that were affected by 9/11.  We can never make them whole.  We can never make up to them all that they have lost.  But I hope it is some comfort to them that at least this has happened, however long it took.

“They turned, not turned their grief, but used their grief for the greater good at the time by supporting a commission to investigate, the 9/11 Commission, to investigate and why this happened so it would never happen again and endanger the lives of the American people.  So I commend the 9/11 families for their sacrifice, yes, for their patriotism, and for what they did to make a difference as we go into the future.  Who knows, maybe the work of the 9/11 Commission contributed to the success of this operation as well.

“I know that our time is running out, and I just want to close by, Mr. Speaker, saying our colleagues in the United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution to honor those who so successfully carried out this mission, and I would like to associate myself with the language of their resolution.

“It says in part: ‘The death of Osama bin Laden represents a measure of justice and relief for the families and friends of the nearly 3,000 men and women who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, the men and women in the United States and around the world who have been killed by other al Qaeda-sponsored attacks, the men and women of the United States Armed Forces and the intelligence community who have sacrificed their lives pursuing Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.'

“As they said, the death of Osama bin Laden represents a ‘measure of justice.'  With gratitude for this ‘measure of justice,' I again, ‘Hail to the Chief, Hail to the Chief' President Obama for his great work, thank him and congratulate him and all who made this historic achievement possible.”