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Doubts grow on US version of strike against bin Laden

Posted by musliminsuffer on May 9, 2011

In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

Doubts grow on US version of strike against bin Laden

Steven Swinford
May 6, 2011

Bin Laden raid story changes again
The White House’s depiction of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden has changed sharply since President Barack Obama’s first version of events.

LONDON: The head of the CIA has admitted that there was no live video footage of the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound as further doubts emerged about the US version of events.

Leon Panetta said there was a 25-minute blackout during which the live feed from cameras mounted on the helmets of the US special forces was cut off.

A photograph issued by the White House appeared to show the President and his aides in the situation room watching the action as it unfolded. In fact they had little knowledge of what was happening for long periods.

US President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and security officials watch events in Pakistan unfold in the White House situation room.
US President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and security officials watch events in Pakistan unfold in the White House situation room. Photo: AFP Photo / White House

”Once those teams went into the compound I can tell you that there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes where we really didn’t know just exactly what was going on. And there were some very tense moments as we were waiting for information,” Mr Panetta said.

”We had some observation of the approach there, but we did not have direct flow of information as to the actual conduct of the operation itself as they were going through the compound.”

It has emerged that US commandos were told to assume bin Laden was wearing a suicide vest and must be killed, unless they found him naked. They would have accepted surrender only if they could be sure he had nothing hidden under his clothing, meaning his fate was sealed as soon as he was found in his bedclothes.

The admission by John Brennan, the chief US counter-terrorism adviser, will add to the growing belief that there was no real intention of taking bin Laden alive.

Mr Panetta said the US Navy SEALs made the final decision to kill bin Laden rather than the President. Even so, ”the authority here was to kill bin Laden”, he said. ”And obviously, under the rules of engagement, if he had in fact thrown up his hands, surrendered and didn’t appear to be representing any kind of threat, then they were to capture him. But they had full authority to kill him.

”To be frank, I don’t think he had a lot of time to say anything.”

While the White House has decided not to make photos of bin Laden’s corpse public, Reuters news agency has issued a series of bloody pictures of the attack’s aftermath that it said depicted the deaths of three men who were with bin Laden when he was killed.

Mr Obama knew the mission was successful only after the SEALs commander heard the word ”Geronimo” on the radio, code meaning bin Laden had been killed.

The absence of footage added to the confusion about what happened in the compound. Pakistani authorities say one of bin Laden’s daughters, who was present during the raid, said her father was captured alive before he was killed.

There was also growing doubt about the US claims that Pakistan was not involved in the raid. Lieutenant-General Asad Durrani, a former head of Inter-Services Intelligence, said it was ”inconceivable” that his government was unaware of the US raid.

He said that his country was forced to deny any knowledge of the raid to avoid a domestic backlash. The ISI’s official line has been that bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad had ”slipped off our radar” after it raided the building in 2003 while hunting for another senior al-Qaeda operative. The agency says it did not know bin Laden was there.

Telegraph, London

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