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CIA gets creative on Twitter to mark fifth anniversary of bin Laden raid

Looking for a way to mark Sunday’s fifth anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s demise, someone inside the CIA thought it’d be a good idea to tweet the events leading up to his killing “as if it were happening today.”

Al Qaeda leader Bin Laden was shot dead by Navy SEALs at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011.  The raid, the CIA said, marked a significant victory in the U.S.-led campaign to disrupt, defeat, and dismantle the terror group.

Sunday’s tweets, some of which have been embedded below, covered events over a 5.5-hour period, from when the SEAL operatives departed their Afghanistan base on helicopters to when President Obama received “confirmation of high probability of positive identification” of a dead bin Laden.

However, the agency’s idea to mark the event in this way was heavily mocked by Twitter users, with one suggesting the CIA’s Web team should be relieved of its duties.

The Daily Show, too, wasted little time in having a pop:

And in further evidence suggesting the CIA’s social media exercise had backfire, plenty of tweets, like those below, attempted to reignite controversial debates surrounding the killing five years ago.

But CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani defended the agency’s decision to mark the event in this way, telling ABC News that bin Laden’s killing was “one of the great intelligence successes of all time.”

Trapani added, “History has been a key element of CIA’s social media efforts; on the fifth anniversary, it is appropriate to remember the day and honor all those who had a hand in this achievement.”

What do you think of the CIA’s method for marking the bin Laden raid – a pointless reenactment or a clever way to observe a significant event? Sound off in the comments below.