Right around the time President Obama arrived at the Capitol to deliver the State of the Union address, a U.S. military unit swooped into Somalia, killing nine pirates and rescuing aid workers who they had taken hostage. According to reports, American helicopters landed near town of Galkaiyo around 3:00 a.m. local time on Wednesday morning., which would be about 7:00 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday night. When the president arrived in the House chamber shortly after nine, TV cameras captured him pointing at Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and saying "Good job tonight." He did not mention the raid in his speech.

Jessica Buchanan, a 32-year-old American, and Poul Thisted, a 60-year-old from Denmark, were both working in the country with a Danish organization focusing on removing land mines, when they were kidnapped last October and held for ransom. Early in the morning on Wednesday, two Navy seal teams landed outside the compound where they were being kept and engaged in a firefight with the pirates, before scooping up the hostages and quickly heading back across the border to Djibouti.. At least nine pirates were killed and three to six may have been arrested by the Americans. There were no reports of any Americans being wounded, though both hostages are said to be unharmed.