U.S. forces who attacked Osama bin Laden's compound were operating under rules of engagement that made it likely he would be killed, U.S. officials concede.
The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday after saying Navy SEALs had orders to capture the al-Qaida leader if he gave himself up, U.S. officials later acknowledged the assault force was ordered to accept a surrender only if its members could be sure he didn't have a bomb hidden under his clothing and posed no other threat.
The Times reported a senior congressional aide briefed on the rules of engagement said, "He would have had to have been naked for them to allow him to surrender."
U.S. officials have retreated from assertions an armed bin Laden was killed in a firefight.
Bin Laden had about $740 in euros and two telephone numbers sewn into his clothing when he was killed, U.S. intelligence officials told Congress.
Politico reported the money and the phone numbers were signs bin Laden was prepared to flee and was confident he would be alerted before a U.S. strike.
Three sources who attended the classified congressional briefing confirmed the details, Politico said, and a fourth said the same thing later though the White House refused to comment.
CBS News later confirmed bin Laden carried the money and the numbers. Neither report said what the phone numbers contacted.
In Tuesday's classified briefing, CIA Director Leon Panetta disclosed the items in bin Laden's clothing in response to a question about the scarcity of guards at bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where an elite Navy SEAL team killed him Sunday night on President Obama's orders, Politico said.
The newspaper said if U.S. officials thought bin Laden believed he would get a "heads-up" before a strike, it would explain why they did not tell Pakistani officials of the raid before it was completed.
Some members of Congress want to cut off aid to Pakistan or put new conditions on it, Politico reported, given the fact that bin Laden was living undisturbed in that country.
One senior Republican in Congress, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., refused to consider a cut off, Politico said: "You can't trust them, and you can't abandon them. One thing that's just not an option to me is to sever ties -- that to me is a formula for a failed state."
Meanwhile, former President George W. Bush turned down Obama's invitation to join him Thursday at Ground Zero -- the site of the World Trade Center, destroyed by hijacked aircraft at bin Laden's direction on Sept. 11, 2001. A Bush spokesman told Politico the former president wants "to remain largely out of the spotlight."
ed. "The goal was to capture Osama or kill him if necessary. The plan was to kill Osama all along. He was encountered in a bedroom. He was given a brief opportunity to surrender. He didn't. Blam! He died instantly from gunshots to the chest and head, including a large one in the forehead over the eye. He was unarmed. But he resisted. You don't need a gun to resist." - Andrew Malcolm
Article by OfficialWire