King: Bin Laden death a U.S. victory

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Peter King House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Peter King Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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Rep. Peter King Sunday heralded Osama bin Laden's death as a "magnificent victory for the United States and a devastating defeat for al-Qaida and international terrorism.

"The leader of the United States' top enemy has gotten what he deserves for orchestrating the deaths of nearly 3,000 innocent Americans on Sept. 11, 2001," he said.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on lower Manhattan and Washington, D.C., and the crash of United Flight 93 near Shanksville, Pa., King has become the leading congressional Republican fighting to secure New York City from another terror attack.

King (R-Seaford), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said he was informed of bin Laden's death at 10 p.m. Sunday night by Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, just over an hour before President Barack Obama announced the news to the nation. King called the news the "most exhilarating moment of my life."

He told CNN host Wolf Blitzer Monday morning that Obama showed great courage in authorizing the attack on bin Laden's Pakistan compound.

"The president did the right thing in doing it," King said. "He was the guy who was on the line trying to make a decision up front. There was no guarantee this was going to work.

"If it had not worked," he added, "it would have been the president's fault."

He also credited former President George W. Bush for his efforts to catch bin Laden.

Despite bin Laden's demise, King told Newsday, the U.S. will have to remain vigilant against attacks from his sympathizers.

"You have to assume this is such a devastating defeat for them that they have to do something," he said. "We definitely have to be on our guard."

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