The nation's top special operations commander ordered military files about the Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden's hideout to be purged from Defense Department computers and sent to the CIA, where they could be more easily shielded from ever being made public.
TULSA - Friday morning, social media and news wires began lighting up with the news: An Internet posting by al-Qaida confirms the death of the terrorist organization's erstwhile leader, Osama bin Laden.
It also claims that al-Qaida will soon release an audio recording from bin Laden, recorded about a week before his death.
Within minutes, several news agencies -- including Reuters, BBC, CNN, and Al Jazeera -- had picked up the story, quoting the post signed by "the general leadership" of al-Qaida.
The statement warned that Americans' "happiness will turn to sadness, their blood will be mingled with their tears."
Another passage read: "The blood of the holy warrior sheik, Osama bin Laden, God bless him, is too precious to us and to all Muslims to go in vain. We will remain, God willing, a curse chasing the Americans and their agents, following them outside and inside their countries."
The statement was entitled "You lived as a good man, you died as a martyr," and stressed the notion that al-Quaida would live on and continue its war of terror.
"The soldiers of Islam will continue in groups and united, plotting and planning without getting bored, tired, with determination, without giving up until striking a blow," it reads.
It didn't outline any specific plan of action, but did call on Pakistanis to rise up in revolt against its leaders in order to "cleanse the shame."
Strangely, the writers of the statement seemed not to know about the Obama administration's announcement that bin Laden had been buried at sea.
It warned that his body must be handed over to the bin Laden family immediately, and that "any harm (to the body) will open more doors of evil, and there will be no one to blame but yourselves."
The statement did not go into any details about the audio statement by bin Laden, other than to say it would release it "soon."
While Friday's dramatic developments include the first public statement from al-Qaida directly reacting to bin Laden's death, the Yemeni branch of the organization had previously confirmed the news through the Arabic news network, Al Jazeera.
The network quoted the Yemeni representative as saying "at first we did not believe it, but we got in touch with our brothers in Pakistan who have confirmed it."