- - Thursday, November 22, 2012

President Obama urged Americans to put aside partisan differences and come together as a nation for Thanksgiving.

Mr. Obama, just re-elected to a second term, said in his weekly radio and Internet address that the country has “just emerged from a campaign season that was passionate, noisy and vital to our democracy.”

While the election required voters to make choices, Mr. Obama said, Thanksgiving offers “a chance to put it all in perspective — to remember that, despite our differences, we are and always will be Americans first and foremost.”

In the GOP address, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state said Republicans are ready to work with Mr. Obama to avert impending tax increases, big spending cuts and other problems.

DEFENSE

Pennsylvania Democrats are already lining up to take on first-term Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, in 2014. (Associated Press)
Pennsylvania Democrats are already lining up to take on first-term Gov. Tom ... more >

Internal emails offer details on bin Laden burial

Internal emails among U.S. military officers indicate that no sailors watched Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea from the USS Carl Vinson and traditional Islamic procedures were followed during the ceremony.

The emails, obtained by The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act, are heavily redacted, but are the first public disclosure of government information about the al Qaeda terrorist mastermind’s death. The emails were released Wednesday by the Defense Department.

Bin Laden was killed on May 1, 2011, by a Navy SEAL team that assaulted his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

One email stamped secret and sent on May 2 by a senior Navy officer briefly describes how bin Laden’s body was washed, wrapped in a white sheet, and then placed in a weighted bag.

According to another message from the Vinson’s public-affairs officer, only a small group of the ship’s leadership was informed of the burial.

“Traditional procedures for Islamic burial was followed,” the May 2 email from Rear Adm. Charles Gaouette reads. “The deceased’s body was washed (ablution) then placed in a white sheet. The body was placed in a weighted bag. A military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up, whereupon the deceased’s body slid into the sea.”

The email also included a cryptic reference to the intense secrecy surrounding the mission. “The paucity of documentary evidence in our possession is a reflection of the emphasis placed on operational security during the execution of this phase of the operation,” Adm. Gaouette’s message reads.

Recipients of the email included Adm. Mike Mullen, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. James Mattis, the top officer at U.S. Central Command. Adm. Mullen retired from the military in September 2011.

WHITE HOUSE

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