President Barack Obama is finalizing plans to visit Ground Zero on Thursday, where he’ll reportedly meet with a small, handpicked group of September 11 families at the site and may also stop by a city firehouse.
Mr. Obama will not be joined by his predecessor, President George W. Bush, who declined an invitation and has kept out of the spotlight.
Flag-waving crowds had gathered in Lower Manhattan after the President announced bin Laden’s death late Sunday night.
The observance will unfold against the backdrop of a new, revised narrative of how U.S. Navy SEALs killed the world’s most wanted terrorist, who officials now say was unarmed at the time.
“He was killed in an operation because of the resistance that they met,” said Jay Carney, White House spokesman.
New video of Bin Laden’s compound shows a disheveled interior with blood on the floor.
There were several minutes when a visibly tense President Obama watched and waited in real time to hear “Geronimo,” a codename for Bin Laden, was “EKIA” – enemy killed in action.
“I think we always assumed from the beginning that the likelihood was that he was going to be killed,” said CIA Director Leon Panetta.
White House officials said there were no regrets over the secrecy of the mission which did not include briefing Pakistani officials before the raid.
“We make no apologies about that. He was enemy number one for this country and killed many, many innocent civilians. And, no apologies,” Carney said.