But while more will surely be told about the ordeal in Alabama, which ended Monday with a late afternoon raid that saved Ethan but ended in the death of Dykes, it's also clear that parts of the operation will remain shrouded in secrecy, given that it involved America's most expert paramilitary counter-terrorism units collaborating with US special operations forces, under the direct authority of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
"This all rings of a unique covert operation,” says Randall Rogan, a crisis communications expert at Wake Forest University who has been following the story closely, adding the multiagency involvement is “atypical, quite honestly, for … what, after all, is not a significant terrorist event."
"There may be some general overview and general description of what happened, but there won't be full, complete disclosure,” he says. “And that's understandable. There are people out there who pay attention and who would make note of it, who are cognizant of what transpired and how it transpired, and who may take steps to prevent that sort of tactic from being utilized in the future."