CIA Chief Leon Panetta: U.S. Elected Not To Work With Pakistan On Bin Laden Raid
CIA chief Leon Panetta is discussing the raid that resulted in the successful capture and death of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, telling Time that “U.S. officials feared that Pakistan could have undermined the operation by leaking word to its targets,” despite the fact that Pakistan is a U.S. ally.
The U.S. has also considered – and eventually ruled out – implementing B-2 bombers or launching cruise missiles because of the probable “collateral damage.” Keep in mind that it was imperative to be able to properly identify the remains of not only bin Laden, but of any of his cohorts who may have been in the compound as well.
Panetta also shared that, last week, a group of 15 aides had been assembled to to go over the evidence pointing to bin Laden’s whereabouts. The CIA chief had wanted the group to assess the proposed mission before moving forward. Panetta recalls one specific fear shared during that meeting: “What if you go down and you’re in a firefight and the Pakistanis show up and start firing? How do you fight your way out?” As it turns out, the group was only about 60% – 80% certain that bin Laden was indeed in the compound. The results of that meetings were then shared with President Barack Obama, who agreed with Panetta that the evidence was relatively enough that troops had “an obligation to act.”
The mission was summed up thusly: “Go in there [and] get bin Laden, and if bin Laden isn’t there, get the hell out!”
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