NBC's 'Today' Takes Sympathetic Look at 'Devoted' Mrs. Osama bin Laden
In report from Pakistan on Friday's NBC Today, news anchor and soon-to-be co-host Ann Curry offered this description of Osama bin Laden's widow, Amal al-Sada: "After more than 10 years of marriage, Amal was known to be devoted to him....and she was much like him: simple, pious, not interested in luxuries like his other four wives. And it appears she lived his life on the run." [Audio available here]
A sound bite was featured from terrorism expert Evan Kohlman, who like Curry, adopted a sympathetic tone toward the al-Qaeda leader's spouse: "She joined bin Laden and she traveled with him during one of the most difficult parts of his life, which when he was mostly on the run, traveling across Pakistan, Afghanistan with few luxuries. And yet, she stuck by him."
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Here is a full transcript of Curry's May 6 report:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: We begin with serious news and the latest on the raid and killing of Osama bin Laden. Ann Curry is in Abbottabad again this morning. Ann, good morning to you.
ANN CURRY: Good morning to you, Meredith. Just a few hours ago, a U.S. drone attack with multiple missiles fired was reported in North Waziristan. And this is likely to further inflame the already tense situation here. Also today, a major push-back by the Pakistani army. Roads cleared, reporters, everyone cleared away from Osama bin Laden's compound as officials here clearly want this embarrassment to end.
This morning, new video emerged, shot by Pakistani intelligence services inside Osama bin Laden's compound.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Ann Curry in Pakistan; Pakistan Blasts U.S. for Mission to Kill bin Laden]
This as U.S. officials release initial details of what special forces found there on laptops, papers and cell phones. No references to specific plots. But, they say, it appears al-Qaeda operatives had weighed options, including as far back as February 2010, about whether they should try to attack trains in the U.S. on the 9/11 anniversary, as al-Qaeda has in the past in Britain, Spain, and India.
Embarrassed and angry about the way the U.S. took down Osama bin Laden, on Thursday, the most powerful man in Pakistan, army chief Ashfaq Kiyani called Sunday's raid a 'misadventure,' bluntly warning in a statement that "any similar action violating the sovereignty of Pakistan would jeopardize the level of military/intelligence cooperation with the United States.' A respected Pakistani journalist and bin Laden expert reports security is now gathering intelligence from three of bin Laden's wives taken into custody at the compound.
HAMID MIR [PAKISTANI BROADCASTER]: I think that they can provide information to the investigators which areas where he was hiding, what kind of people he was meeting, and especially from how long he was hiding in Pakistan.
CURRY: U.S. analysts piecing together the life of one of those wives, Amal al-Sada, say she was just 18 when she was married to Osama bin Laden, then 43, becoming his last and favorite wife. After more than 10 years of marriage, Amal was known to be devoted to him. And when U.S. special forces stormed the compound, she lunged forward, seemingly to protect Osama. The Americans pushed her aside, shot in the leg. She was in the room when her husband died. Amal is from Yemen, a country Osama considered his ancestral homeland, and she was much like him: simple, pious, not interested in luxuries like his other four wives. And it appears she lived his life on the run.
EVAN KOHLMAN [TERRORISM EXPERT]: She joined bin Laden and she traveled with him during one of the most difficult parts of his life, which when he was mostly on the run, traveling across Pakistan, Afghanistan with few luxuries. And yet, she stuck by him.
CURRY: There are reports that Amal, now in Pakistani custody, has told her interrogators that Osama bin Laden and family members had been living in the compound for the past five years. She will know details about the life of the world's most wanted man, and U.S. officials will want to speak with her. Pakistan security is reportedly considering letting U.S. officials have access to Osama bin Laden's wives but not to hand them over. Also there's a report in the Washington Post this morning that the CIA had a safe house here used to monitor movements at the Osama bin Laden compound. If so, locals here still don't know where that safe house was. Alright, David, back to you.
DAVID GREGORY: Alright, Ann. Thank you very much. Reporting from Pakistan this morning.