National Security Council visits Classroom via Technology

By David Mohimani –

“They killed Osama bin Laden,” said National Security Deputy Adviser for strategic communication Ben Rhodes.

Rhodes, a New York native who was in the city during the September 11 terrorist attacks was part of the 9/11 Commission that was responsible for trying to understand the tragic events.  On Thursday he told more than 1600 students live how the Navy Seals were able to carry out this mission.

The Penn Manor’s library played host to the live stream from the National Security Council in Washington, D.C., where 40 students listened intently as Rhodes informed them of the events leading up to the raid on the al Qaeda leader.

Social studies teacher Donna Brady received an email from the Council Wednesday afternoon and set up the interactive session.  Students were asked and encouraged to type questions to Rhodes, who answered the questions live.

Ben Rhodes of the National Security Council. Photo by Alex Blythe

“We weren’t 100 percent sure, but we were fairly certain (that Osama was there),” said Rhodes.

He explained that their  intelligence was very good but that they had not received any type of visual confirmation. He also said that the President had received this intelligence last August.

The Seals carried out the mission late Sunday night.

“It was a very tense situation, we were worried about the U.S soldiers, their safety was our main concern,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes was in the situation room at the White House with President Obama while the operation was carried out.

They received real time updates during the mission, Rhodes said, and that,”minutes and hours and felt like days.”

Eventually they were able to relax once the troops had landed safely back on their base.

News of the events hit the the airwaves Sunday night, the man that had been on the run for nearly 10 years, and who we hold accountable for the most devastating attack in the history of the United States was brought to justice.

“[It shows] we can overcome challenges and were able to achieve justice.” said Rhodes.

As for possible retaliation, Rhodes did not seem too worried.

“Al Qaeda is the most dangerous threat in the world, in their history they have had one leader, Osama Bin laden, so we felt it was essential he be removed,” said Rhodes, in response to student’s question.

The original plan did not intend for Osama to be killed but the Seals on the mission deemed it a necessary course of action.

Rhodes noted that the threat level was not elevated by the department of Homeland Security.

Rhodes concluded by saying that, in the long run, the world will be a better place because it is rid of Osama bin Laden.