CIA Chief: US had concerns about Pakistan before raid

Leon Panetta says US excluded Pakistan because "it might alert targets" before operation; White House: Bin Laden was unarmed during operation.

By REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
May 3, 2011 22:19
1 minute read.
Leon Panetta

Panetta 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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WASHINGTON - US officials were concerned that Pakistan could jeopardize the Osama bin Laden operation and "might alert the targets," CIA Director Leon Panetta said on Tuesday.

In an interview with Time magazine, Panetta said his aides had 60 to 80 percent confidence that bin Laden was in the compound.

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The CIA ruled out working with Pakistan on the raid because "it was decided that any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardize the mission: They might alert the targets," Panetta said.

US forces killed bin Laden on Sunday in a secret operation in the well-heeled city of Abbottabad, located not far from the capital Islamabad.

White House spokesman Jay Carney on Tuesday said bin Laden was unarmed when US forces raided his compound, but he did put up a fight before he was shot.

He added that the White House is considering the possibility of releasing photos of the al-Qaida leader's body after he was killed, but that there are concerns that publication of the photos could be inflammatory.

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"It could be inflammatory, we take this into account", Carney said about the pictures, which he described as "gruesome."

Finding bin Laden in such an affluent area, described by some US officials as hiding in plain sight, has raised questions about whether he had support from Pakistani elements.

Panetta said he told President Barack Obama: "If I thought delaying this could in fact produce better intelligence that would be one thing. But because of the nature of the security at the compound, we're probably at a point where we've got the best intelligence we can get."

In the raid, US forces gathered an "impressive amount" of material, including computers and electronics, Panetta said.

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