By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service
ABOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT, April 27, 2012 – America has become a safer place since a Navy SEAL team killed 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden in his Pakistan compound nearly a year ago, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Friday.
Returning from a weeklong trip to South America to strengthen military ties in Colombia, Brazil and Chile, Panetta, who was director of the CIA on May 2, 2011, when the al-Qaida chieftain met his end, recalled the high-risk mission the Defense Department called Operation Neptune Spear.
“I don’t think there’s any question that America is safer as a result of the bin Laden operation,” Panetta told reporters traveling with him.
“When you combine that with the other operations that have … gone after al-Qaida leadership,” he added,