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The Unpopular Opinion
news and opinions at the extremes of the mainstream
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Pakistanis disclose name of CIA operative

Pakistanis disclose name of CIA operative | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"The public outing of the CIA station chief here threatened on Monday to deepen the rift between the United States and Pakistan, with U.S. officials saying they believed the disclosure had been made deliberately by Pakistan’s main spy agency.

If true, the leak would be a sign that Pakistan’s powerful security establishment, far from feeling chastened by the killing of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani garrison city last week, is seeking to demonstrate its leverage over Washington and retaliate for the unilateral U.S. operation."
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Hillary Clinton edited out of Situation Room photo by Hasidic newspaper | Nerve.com

Hillary Clinton edited out of Situation Room photo by Hasidic newspaper | Nerve.com | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
Sexist?

Take a look at the photo published above, famously snapped in the Situation Room as the U.S. raided Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.

Now click on the headline to see another version of the photo. The astute viewer will notice that, like some sort of sexist version of Highlights magazine, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been Photoshopped out of the picture (not to mention Counterterrorism Director Audrey Tomason, who barely even made it into the original photo)!
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Controversial 9-11 Tweets = Rashard Mendenhall Losing Endorsement Deal « Jam Technique

Controversial 9-11 Tweets = Rashard Mendenhall Losing Endorsement Deal « Jam Technique | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"Days following his controversial Twitter posts, Mendenhall has been cut from his Champion sportswear endorsement deal. In response to America’s celebration of Osama bin Laden’s death, Mendenhall tweeted:

“What kind of person celebrates death? It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side…”

“We’ll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style.”

This lead to much media criticism and debates on free speech and whether athletes should be allowed on Twitter. Mendenhall, is widely recognized as one of the league’s intellectuals so his left field statements aren’t a total surprise but the day following his posts he did issue an apology for any misunderstanding."
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Controversial York vicar wades into war of words over Bin Laden killing (From York Press)

Controversial York vicar wades into war of words over Bin Laden killing (From York Press) | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"OUTSPOKEN York priest Tim Jones has hit out at a coalition Minister for ridiculing the Archbishop of Canterbury after he criticised the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

Father Tim described the anonymous Minister as 'wannabe Dirty Harry-esque' and said he suspected Archbishop Rowan Williams was one of the few prominent British voices to reflect on Bin Laden's death who was actually in New York on 9/11.

The priest's comments were made in a sermon to the annual meeting of the Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers at St Lawrence's Parish Church, York, on Saturday.

Father Tim hit the headlines around the world 18 months ago when he said in a pre-Christmas sermon that shoplifting from large national chains was sometimes the best option for many desperate and vulnerable people.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said earlier this week that the shooting by US special forces of the unarmed Al Qaeda leader, Bin Laden, had made him ‘very uncomfortable’.

Father Tim said that like bells being rung in warning, the Archbishop's words grated on the nerves of many."
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Controversial RI Lawmaker Busted With Pot: Cops

Controversial RI Lawmaker Busted With Pot: Cops | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"Watson, the House Minority Leader in Rhode Island, issued a statement acknowledging that police discovered "trace evidence" of marijuana but said he wasn't driving under the influence."

"Police stopped Watson, a Republican state representative from the wealthy town of East Greenwich, Rhode Island at a police checkpoint in East Haven on Friday and there was a "strong odor of marijuana" coming from Watson's car, East Haven Sgt. Gary DePalma said.

A lawmaker who is arrested on drug charges is one thing. But Watson has been the focus of criticism recently over comments he made earlier this year about immigrants, drugs and homosexuality."
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Islam Needs Reformists, Not 'Moderates'

Islam Needs Reformists, Not 'Moderates' | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
From "Allah, Liberty and Love" by Irshad Manji, to be published June 14 by Free Press.

"President Barack Obama should be applauded for his risky—and lonely—decision to take out Osama bin Laden. But in announcing bin Laden's demise, the president fudged a vital fact. Echoing George W. Bush, he insisted that al Qaeda's icon "was not a Muslim leader."

But this is untrue. Bin Laden and his followers represent a real interpretation of Islam that begs to be challenged relentlessly and visibly..."

"Today, what Islam needs is not more "moderates" but more self-conscious reformists."

"Sounding the call for reform is no way to win a popularity contest in the Muslim community. After the 2005 London transit bombings, I delivered a radio commentary disagreeing with Feisal Abdul Rauf, the moderate American imam who later fronted the campaign for an Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero."

"...moderate Muslims join moderate Jews and Christians in admitting to the nasty side of all our scriptures...a Muslim acquaintance emailed me. Peeved that I would "go after moderate Muslims," she curtly counseled me to "wash laundry in the backyard"—that is, to discuss our internal affairs privately."

"...When it is "moderates," not extremists, who treat you as a traitor for advocating liberal democratic values, something has corrupted the moderates themselves."

"Prof. Bilgrami chalks up the defensiveness of moderate Muslims to their fear that openly criticizing other Muslims "would amount to a surrender," the ultimate abdication of group honor—and thus identity—to a contemptuous West. But, as Prof. Bilgrami astutely points out, the reverse holds true: The final triumph for colonizers is the Muslim habit of denying and deflecting our internal dysfunction. Avoidance strips Muslims of the ability to be introspective and, therefore, free. Moderate Muslims throttle the very moderation to which they claim to be devoted."

"It is time for those who love liberal democracy to join hands with Islam's reformists. Here is a clue to who's who: Moderate Muslims denounce violence committed in the name of Islam but insist that religion has nothing to do with it; reformist Muslims, by contrast, not only deplore Islamist violence but admit that our religion is used to incite it."
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Alleged rape, killing of gay rights campaigner sparks call for action

Alleged rape, killing of gay rights campaigner sparks call for action | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
A 24-year-old who was stabbed to death in South Africa is the victim of "corrective rape," gay rights activists said Thursday, a crime where men attack lesbians in an attempt to reverse their sexual orientation.
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Why U.S. Won't Punish Pakistan Over bin Laden Hideout - Global Spin

Why U.S. Won't Punish Pakistan Over bin Laden Hideout - Global Spin | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"That Pakistan has been an unreliable ally to the U.S. is hardly news: just as Osama bin Laden was hiding in plain sight in Abbottabad, so has Pakistan's security establishment scarcely bothered to conceal the fact that it pursues an agenda quite different from that of the U.S. While that establishment has helped the U.S. roll up hundreds of al-Qaeda suspects on its soil, it has also continued to provide sanctuary and succor to the Taliban and other extremist groups, some of them allied with al-Qaeda, in pursuit of its strategic goals in Afghanistan and Kashmir. And U.S. intelligence has long suspected that at least some among its Pakistani counterparts are maintaining ties with al-Qaeda-linked figures.

The U.S. has known this for years, but that hasn't forced a break in U.S.-Pakistan relations. That's unlikely to change, even if it turns out that elements in the Pakistani security hierarchy had been aware of bin Laden's presence all along.

To understand why, you only have to look as far as Damascus. That's right, Damascus. Syria's President, Bashar Assad, is Iran's only ally among Arab heads of state; he is a key patron of Hizballah and Hamas, and is still formally at war with Israel. His regime is accused by the IAEA of trying to build a secret nuclear program (before the facility was bombed by Israel), and he has sought to suppress an unprecedented protest movement against his authoritarian rule by sending in tanks and ordering his security forces to fire on unarmed demonstrators, killing hundreds. Yet you're unlikely to find a serious foreign policy hand in the corridors of power in Washington — or, for that matter, in Jerusalem — who is willing to advocate for a policy of overthrowing Assad.

That's because as much as they loathe so much of what Assad represents, the Western powers, Israel and other regimes in the region fear that the alternative would be worse. The sectarian structure of power in Syria means that overthrowing Assad could ignite a civil war that would renew the dangerous Sunni-Shi'ite conflicts in Lebanon and Iraq. Israeli leaders note, if Assad were to fall, the most likely claimant on power would be the Muslim Brotherhood, which could adopt an even more hostile posture. Despite his resistance posture, Assad's regime is predictable and seen as an agent of stability on Israel's northern border, over which no shot has been fired from Syria in 38 years. His support for Hizballah is also seen as a brake on any hostilities the Iran-backed group might try to initiate with Israel. And so on."
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U.S. Won't Release bin Laden Photos - WSJ.com

U.S. Won't Release bin Laden Photos - WSJ.com | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
Where do you stand on this debate? Do you agree with President Obama's decision not to release the photos/videos? Or do you think the public has a right to view these?

I think releasing the photos/videos would incite violence and backlash. However, I am deeply curious about the video documenting the actual mission.
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Albinos in Tanzania Murdered or Raped as AIDS 'Cure'

Albinos in Tanzania Murdered or Raped as AIDS 'Cure' | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"Hundreds of albinos are thought to have been killed for black magic purposes in Tanzania and albino girls are being raped because of a belief they offer a cure for AIDS, a Canadian rights group said on Thursday.

At least 63 albinos, including children, are known to have been killed, mostly in the remote northwest of the country.

"We believe there are hundreds and hundreds of killings in Tanzania, but only a small number are being reported to the police," Peter Ash, founder and director of Under The Same Sun (UTSS), told Reuters.

"There is belief that if you have relations with a girl with albinism, you will cure AIDS. So there are many girls with albinism who are being raped in this country because of this belief, which is a false belief."

Around 1.4 million Tanzanians among a population of 40.7 million have the HIV virus that leads to AIDS.

Albino hunters kill their victims and harvest their blood, hair, genitals and other body parts for potions that witchdoctors say bring luck in love, life and business."
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A word on the celebrations

A word on the celebrations | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"...One of the nice things about living in Washington is that you often find yourself in the middle of history, so I joined the crowd and followed them to the president's house. The scene there reminded me of a fraternity party—overexcited young people in silly red, white and blue outfits mindlessly jumping around. The whole thing felt a bit tacky, but, importantly, it didn't feel wrong.

...It feels odd to rejoice in a man's death, even someone as heinous as Mr bin Laden.

...Were the crowds outside of the White House celebrating bloodshed, or were they celebrating a perceived end to the bloodshed caused by Mr bin Laden (however wrong that assumption may be)? Were they rejoicing in a man's death, or rejoicing in the fact that this man can no longer cause death? In my observation, the crowd was not so bloodthirsty. "We did it" was the common refrain I heard from those nearby, not "we killed the bastard". Had we captured Mr bin Laden alive, I believe there would have been nearly as much jubilation. Would it still have been wrong?

...But I say the celebration didn't feel wrong because the one I observed did not have the jingoistic feel of so many post-9/11 gatherings in support of the troops, or the war, or the other war, or whatever. The revelers were not pumping themselves up for some future aggression. Sure, it was "America, fuck yeah!", but it was not "America, fuck you!" There was a satisfying sense of closure to an era of mass discomfort caused by our fears and our reaction to those fears. That this era is not actually over is perhaps a good reason to be more staid. But even if it is merely the beginning of the end, that seems like some cause for celebration. A fist pump, at least."
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"Farewell to Geronimo:" op-ed in NYT about Bin Laden's effect (or lack thereof) on young Arabs

"Farewell to Geronimo:" op-ed in NYT about Bin Laden's effect (or lack thereof) on young Arabs | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"There is only one good thing about the fact that Osama bin Laden survived for nearly 10 years after the mass murder at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that he organized. And that is that he lived long enough to see so many young Arabs repudiate his ideology. He lived long enough to see Arabs from Tunisia to Egypt to Yemen to Syria rise up peacefully to gain the dignity, justice and self-rule that Bin Laden claimed could be obtained only by murderous violence and a return to puritanical Islam."
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Pakistan criticizes U.S. on "unauthorized" raid - CBS News

Pakistan criticizes U.S. on "unauthorized" raid - CBS News | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"Pakistan criticized the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden as an "unauthorized unilateral action" and warned Washington on Tuesday not to launch similar operations in the future.

The comments laid bare the tensions triggered by Monday's attack, which came at time when U.S.-Pakistani ties were already near rock bottom.

The Pakistani government has been assailed by domestic critics, while the fact bin Laden was living in a house in a military town not far from the capital has led to international suspicions that elements of Pakistan's security forces may have been harboring him.

...Washington said it did not inform Islamabad about commando attack early Monday morning on bin Laden for security reasons. The raid followed months of deteriorating relations between the CIA and Pakistan's main intelligence service.

In a statement, the government said "this event of unauthorized unilateral action cannot be taken as a rule."

"The Government of Pakistan further affirms that such an event shall not serve as a future precedent for any state, including the U.S.," adding such actions can sometimes constitute a "threat to international peace and security."

The statement may be partly motivated by domestic concerns. The government and army has come under criticism following the raid by those who have accused the government of allowing Washington to violate the country's sovereignty. Islamabad has also been angered at the suspicions it had been sheltering bin Laden."
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CIA ‘deniers’ are the new ‘birthers’ via @WashingtonPost

CIA ‘deniers’ are the new ‘birthers’ via @WashingtonPost | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"The evidence that CIA interrogations played a key role in the operation that got Osama bin Laden is overwhelming. Countless intelligence officials, including CIA Director Leon Panetta, have confirmed that detainees interrogated by the CIA provided information that helped lead us to bin Laden. But the CIA deniers continue to insist it is all a “big lie.” Despite this testimony, and the mountains of documents declassified by the Obama administration in 2009, they contend that CIA interrogations did not work."
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Quote of the Day: Obama on Pakistan

Quote of the Day: Obama on Pakistan | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"There might have been some people inside of [Pakistan's] government ... and that's something that we have to investigate and, more importantly, the Pakistani government has to investigate."

-- PRESIDENT OBAMA, on who knew about Osama bin Laden's whereabouts

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Norway's controversial 'cushy prison' experiment - could it catch on in the UK?

Norway's controversial 'cushy prison' experiment - could it catch on in the UK? | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
""And yet, an extensive new study undertaken by researchers across all the Nordic countries reveals that the reoffending average across Europe is about 70-75 per cent. In Denmark, Sweden and Finland, the average is 30 per cent. In Norway it is 20 per cent. Thus Bastoy, at just 16 per cent, has the lowest reoffending rate in Europe."

'The prison is self-sustaining and as green as possible in terms of recycling, solar panels and using horses instead of cars. It means that the inmates have plenty to do and plenty of contact with nature - the farm animals, wildlife, the fresh air and sea. We try to teach inmates that they are part of their environment and that if you harm nature or your fellow man it comes back to you.'

He adds that a significant advantage of the ecological approach is that due to low staffing levels and producing their own food and fuel, Bastoy is actually the cheapest prison to run in the whole of Norway.

'We have a price for each prison bed in this country and we are much cheaper to run than a conventional closed prison.' "
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Obama’s national security team was sharply divided over Osama bin Laden raid

Obama’s national security team was sharply divided over Osama bin Laden raid | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"President Barack Obama faced sharply divided counsel and, in his mind, barely better-than-even odds of success when he ordered the May 1 commando raid that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the president said in an interview broadcast Sunday.

Obama acknowledged having only circumstantial evidence placing bin Laden at the Abbottabad compound. There was not a single photograph or confirmed sighting of the man, he said, and he worried that the Navy SEALs would find only a “prince from Dubai” instead of the terrorist mastermind responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks."
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Unusual quiet from radical Pakistani groups

Unusual quiet from radical Pakistani groups | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"In a nation that is home to an alphabet soup of militant organizations subscribing to the late al-Qaeda leader’s violent ideology, retaliatory bombs did not explode. The cities did not fill with banned organizations’ foot soldiers vowing revenge. A top religious party drummed up a few hundred demonstrators Friday afternoon, but their stated agenda — to protest the bin Laden killing — barely seemed to register, and instead they fell back on familiar anti-government, anti-American slogans.

The subdued reaction from Pakistan’s most radical groups — at least for now — may reflect the eroded resonance of bin Laden’s message and the disarray of Pakistani militant groups, whose attacks have slowed in recent months, analysts said.

Despite the muted response, security officials said it was hardly time to relax. An online posting attributed to al-Qaeda on Friday confirmed bin Laden’s death and vowed retaliation. It also called specifically upon Pakistanis to “rise up and revolt to cleanse this shame that has been attached to them by a clique of traitors and thieves.”

Several of Pakistan’s prominent militant groups, including the Pakistani Taliban and various sectarian organizations, have long-standing ties to al-Qaeda. Intelligence officials said the Pakistani army had pointedly distanced itself from the U.S. raid this week in part to discourage an insurgent backlash.

A senior police official in Lahore, the capital of a province that is the base of several banned jihadist outfits, said authorities expected strikes within two weeks.

That is what the groups have warned. The day of the killing, the Pakistani Taliban, which focuses its attacks on the Pakistani state, threatened that it would soon lash out.

A pro-Taliban weekly newspaper, published in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Friday, asserted that bin Laden’s followers had restricted their attacks to “protect” their leader, but that “now they are free with full revenge.”
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Feminist porn faces hardcore critics

Feminist porn faces hardcore critics | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
Pornography and feminism aren't the most obvious bedfellows.

The vast majority of explicit material is made for a male audience; at best, it is degrading, and at worst it is often physically harmful to the women featured in it.

But for the women making feminist porn, the answer is not to try to beat the porn industry, but to join it and give a voice to women's sexuality.

British porn director (and former parliamentary candidate) Anna Arrowsmith considers her work part of the fight for women's rights – specifically, “women's right to female sexual expression and consumption.”

It's not news that women use pornography.

In 2003, Neilsen Netratings recorded that 28 per cent of visitors to explicit websites were female.

However, it's still relatively rare for explicit material to be made for a female audience – especially in Australia, where strict legislation (it is illegal to make an explicit film outside of the ACT) means that even the mainstream industry is small.

The FPAs, founded by Toronto sex shop manager Chanelle Gallant, were created to showcase people “making porn in a feminist way and help to expose them to a greater audience”.

Now “the longest running celebration of erotica focused on women and marginalised people”, the awards have gained more mainstream media attention (not all of it positive) and a longer nominee list, every year.
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Quote of the Day: Official statement from al-Qaeda

Quote of the Day: Official statement from al-Qaeda | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"The soldiers of Islam ... will continue planning ... until they cause the disaster that makes children look like the elderly!"

- STATEMENT, from al-Qaeda, confirming the May 1 death of its leader, Osama bin Laden and promising to "continue on the path of jihad"
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Quote of the Day: Fidel Castro on the Killing of Osama Bin Laden

Quote of the Day: Fidel Castro on the Killing of Osama Bin Laden | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"Whatever the actions attributed to bin Laden, the assassination of an unarmed human being surrounded by his family constitutes an abhorrent act."

- FIDEL CASTRO, former Cuban President, on the methods used by U.S. special forces to kill al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden
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Pakistan Rejects U.S. Criticism - WSJ.com

Pakistan Rejects U.S. Criticism - WSJ.com | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"Pakistan's foreign secretary said the U.S. would face "disastrous consequences" if it carried out any more unilateral raids similar to the one that killed Osama bin Laden, and knocked back U.S. government allegations that the country had been sheltering the former al Qaeda chief.

Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, in the first detailed public comments on the raid by a Pakistani official, said Pakistan's military had immediately scrambled F-16 planes once they became aware of the attack on the compound in the town of Abbottabad, but they had arrived on the scene only after U.S. helicopters had left.

The attack by U.S. Navy Seals in the early hours of Monday, which took under 40 minutes and led to the death of bin Laden and four other people, was carried out without Pakistan's knowledge. That has caused great anger here over what many people see as a violation of the country's sovereignty."
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Trail to Bin Laden began with CIA detainee, officials say

Trail to Bin Laden began with CIA detainee, officials say | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
Wow. This guy was definitely tortured! What do you think of the CIA's torture techniques? Necessary? Or cruel punishment?

"An Al Qaeda suspect who was subjected to harsh interrogation techniques at a secret CIA prison in early 2004 provided a clue, the nom de guerre of a mysterious courier, that ultimately proved crucial to finding Osama bin Laden, officials said Wednesday.

The CIA had approved use of sleep deprivation, slapping, nudity, water dousing and other coercive techniques at the now-closed CIA "black site" in Poland where the Pakistani-born detainee, Hassan Ghul, was held, according to a 2005 Justice Department memo, which cited Ghul by name. Two U.S. officials said Wednesday that some of those now-prohibited practices were directed at Ghul.

Ghul was not waterboarded, the notorious interrogation technique that simulates drowning and which critics describe as torture."
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Signs Point to Pakistan Link to bin Laden - WSJ.com

Signs Point to Pakistan Link to bin Laden - WSJ.com | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"U.S. and European intelligence officials increasingly believe active or retired Pakistani military or intelligence officials provided some measure of aid to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, allowing him to stay hidden in a large compound just a mile from an elite military academy...

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Quote of the Day: CIA director on working with Pakistan

Quote of the Day: CIA director on working with Pakistan | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"It was decided that any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardize the mission. They might alert the targets."

- LEON PANETTA, CIA director, speaking to TIME about the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound
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