Osama bin Laden didn't know it, but when then-CIA Director Leon Panetta jotted down this "memo for the record" on his official stationery, the world's most wanted fugitive had just days left to live.
The document is part of Time magazine's package of stories on the one-year anniversary of the Navy SEAL raid that killed the al-Qaida chief in his hideout in the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad.
The magazine helpfully transcribed Panetta's scrawled message to historians:
Received phone call from (National Security Adviser) Tom Donilon who stated that the President made a decision with regard to AC1 [Abbottabad Compound 1]. The decision is to proceed with the assault. The timing, operational decision making and control are in Admiral McRaven's hands. The approval is provided on the risk profile presented to the President. Any additional risks are to be brought back to the President for his consideration. The direction is to go in and get bin Laden and if he is not there, to get out. Those instructions were conveyed to Admiral McRaven at approximately 10:45 a.m.
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- Leon Panetta
- Osama bin Laden