Calif. Rep. Adam Schiff on bin Laden death: 9/11 victims now have 'some measure of justice'

Congressman Adam Schiff
Congressman Adam Schiff
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Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff serves on the House Intelligence Committee. Schiff says the Committee didn't know about the raid before it took place.

Congress was in recess when the announcement of bin Laden's death was made last night. "We had not had briefings on it. We obviously over the many years, the last several years, we've been briefed periodically on the hunt for Osama bin Laden, but I suspect that most of the committee members found out the way most Americans did, by finding out about it on a news broadcast."

Schiff called bin Laden's death "stunning news." "The victims of 9/11 now have some measure of justice, and the symbolic and spiritual leader of the organization is gone."

While bin Laden's been killed, Schiff says bin Laden long ago ceased to be al-Qaida's operational commander. Operations have shifted to al-Qaida offshoots. "These offshoots will be more dangerous. They may be planning less spectacular attacks, but still devastating ones."

Schiff says bin Laden's death will have an impact on the war in Afghanistan. "It certainly won't cause the Taliban to go away, but it is a psychological boost for our troops," and a negative one for the Taliban.

Schiff also pointed out this marks one of the reasons the United States went to war in Afghanistan being accomplished.

In 2001, Schiff first saw the difficulty of finding bin Laden when he visited Afghanistan for the first time. Flying over mountain ranges and visiting northern Pakistan, Schiff saw that it was a mammoth region with many places to hide.

"As we found out last night, it wasn't even the mountainous areas he was found in," says Schiff. "It is a huge area to search," particularly with bin Laden having the cooperation of the local population, says Schiff.

Next, Schiff says it's time to found out what the United States knows about the compound bin Laden was killed in, and "perhaps more significant, what the Pakistanis know."

The compound was electronically "dark," with no Internet or other modern communications. "That's like a neon sign in reverse," says Schiff. He wants to know how the structure was planned and built with no one seeming to know until fairly recently that it was significant from a terrorism perspective.