Nightly News   |  April 11, 2012

Hillary Clinton on ‘worst part’ of bin Laden raid

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., about the historic night when Osama bin Laden was killed by a team of Navy SEALS. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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>>> secretary of state hillary clinton was an annapolis last night. she talked in dramatic detail about what happened the night osama bin laden was hunted down and killed by the team of navy s.e.a.l.s. her reflections were prompted by a question by a mid-shipman who asked her what we wurb thinking at the time, what were you thinking as you watched it happen? andrea mitchell has more from secretary clinton.

>> it is a white house photo that captures all of the drama of a command decision fraught with risk. in the situation room , it is high. what if they fail.

>> it was an intense, stressful time. and i'm not sure anybody breathed for 35 or 37 minutes. for me, the worst part was when one of the helicopters, the tail got stuck, and it was not flyable.

>> she thinks about jimmy carter 's failed iran hostage rescue in 1980 .

>> we got the word they thought they had killed bin laden , but think about what they had to do because it was imperative that we take the body.

>> they need bin laden 's dna to prove he was dead and had to get out before pakistan's military knew they were there. but first, the downed chopper had to be blown up.

>> the s.e.a.l.s had to take the women and children out of the house to get them away from the site of where disabled helicopter was. all of this is happening, you know, the bodies going out, the women and children are coming in. the reserve helicopter is on its way, but it's not there yet. you know, there was a lot of breath holding. and then finally, you know, all of the helicopters were up and out and on their way to -- back to afghanistan.

>> then, atz they walked to the east room for the president's address to the nation.

>> we heard these incredible cheers and shouts and all of these students from around the area had just spontaneously come to the gates of the white house .

>> two years earlier, clinton caused a ruckus telling pakistan's government she couldn't believe none of them knew where bin laden was hiding. it turns out she was probably right. andrea mitchell , nbc news, washington.