The remains of the secret American helicopter that crashed in the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound arrived back in the United States over the weekend, a top Pentagon spokesman confirmed Wednesday. Marine Col. Dave Lapan said an American cargo plane flew "whatever was left of the wreckage" back from Pakistan, but he would confirm few other details about the aircraft or the operation.
Lapan did say "we have no indication it was examined by anyone else," but acknowledged there was no way to be sure whether Pakistani or other analysts hadn't at least inspected the battered tail section, special rotor or its other components.
Where did the changeover take place? Did the U.S. pay Pakistan for the return of the wreckage -- if so, how much? What will American officials do with the remnants of the helicopter? Will they destroy it or try to salvage its special components? DoD officials would not answer those or other questions.
The wreckage of the American helicopter -- believed to be a specially modified MH-60 Black Hawk flown by the Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) -- was in Pakistani hands since after the May 2 raid on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad. Although Navy SEAL special operators destroyed most of the aircraft after it crash-landed at the beginning of their assault, the tail section remained and photographs of it appeared soon after, fueling speculation around the world.