Osama bin Laden was not armed, but did not attempt to surrender

Residents surround the compound where al Qaeda ...

Residents surround the compound where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was reported to have been killed in this ariel view in Abbottabad May 4, 2011. Bin Laden was unarmed when U.S. special forces shot and killed him, the White House said, as it tried to establish whether its ally Pakistan had helped the al Qaeda leader elude a worldwide manhunt. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that Osama bin Laden was not armed when a Navy SEAL raiding party confronted him during an assault on his compound in Pakistan. (May 3)

The Associated press reported yesterday:

After two days of shifting accounts of the dramatic raid, Carney said he would no longer provide details of the 40-minute operation by the team of elite Navy SEALs. That left unresolved numerous mysteries, prominent among them an exact accounting of bin Laden’s demise. Officials have said he was unarmed but resisted when an unknown number of commandos burst into his room inside the high-security compound.

The officials who gave the latest details said a U.S. commando grabbed a woman who charged toward the SEALs inside the room. They said the raiders were concerned that she might be wearing a suicide vest.

Administration officials have said bin Laden’s body was identified by several means, including a DNA test. Members of Congress who received a briefing during the day said a sample from the body killed at the compound in Pakistan was compared to known DNA from bin Laden’s mother and three sons.

After two days of speculation about releasing the photographs, there was no detectable public debate in the U.S. about the merits of the raid itself against the man behind the terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11, 2001.

Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress the operation was “entirely lawful and consistent with our values” and justified as “an action of national self-defense.” Noting that bin Laden had admitted his involvement in the events of nearly a decade ago, he said, “It’s lawful to target an enemy commander in the field.”

Holder also said the team that carried out the raid had been trained to take bin Laden alive if he was willing to surrender. “It was a kill-or-capture mission,” he said. “He made no attempt to surrender.”

Bin Laden had evaded capture for nearly a decade, and officials said he had currency as well as two telephone numbers sewn into his clothing when he was killed, suggesting he was prepared to leave his surroundings on a moment’s notice if he sensed danger.

Administration officials said the two dozen SEALs involved in the operation were back at their home base outside Virginia Beach, Va., and the extensive debriefing they underwent was complete. Saluted as heroes nationwide, they remained publicly unidentified because of security concerns.

In addition to bin Laden’s body, the SEALs helicoptered out of the compound with computer files, flash drives, DVDs and documents that intelligence officials have begun analyzing in hopes the information will help them degrade or destroy the network bin Laden left behind.

In New York on Thursday, Carney said, Obama will lay a wreath at the World Trade Center site and hold a private meeting with relatives of some of the victims of the attacks, in which jetliners hijacked by terrorists were flown into the side of first one tower, then the other.

The buildings collapsed within minutes, dooming office workers as well as rescuers who had run in hoping to save them.

A few days later, then-President George W. Bush stood amid the rubble and spoke through a bullhorn. When one worker yelled, “I can’t hear you,” the president responded, “I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!”

A decade — and long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan later — Obama said he had no intention of gloating.

Obama’s decision not to release any photographs was unlikely to be the final word, though.

Some members of Congress have been shown at least one photo of bin Laden, and others have asked to see it, an indication of the intense interest generated by the raid.

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Comments

  • Bill  On May 4, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Idiot Conservatives are so quick to blame Obama, but credit Bush that they forget Bush signed an Executive Order calling for Osama bin Laden to be shot on sight.

    Funny how you overlook that little fact… not that this note will ever see print.

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