Osama would have been taken alive if he had surrendered: White House

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : The American commando team that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden would have taken him alive if he had surrendered, the White House said Wednesday.

Support TwoCircles

“If he had surrendered … then that would have been bringing him to justice as well,” press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. “But he was brought to justice on Sunday.”

The American team “had the authority to kill Osama bin Laden unless he offered to surrender,” he said.

Asked about Pakistan’s claim that the raid was unlawful, Carney asserted, “The raid was entirely lawful”.

“We have a complicated but vital and important relationship with Pakistan,” he said. “We don’t agree on everything. But their cooperation has been essential.”

Asked about the “firefight” in the bin Laden raid Sunday, and who was firing back at American forces, Carney said the White House has been “as helpful as we can be to provide as much information as we can”, but that the administration won’t be releasing details yet.

On where bin Laden was shot, Carney said: “Above the neck.”

He said he would not go into “operational details” of the Osama bin Laden raid, but he said that the American team’s efforts “dramatically minimised collateral damage”.

Asked if bin Laden’s location have been known without torture techniques, Carney said: “I can say with certainty that no single piece of information, with the exception of the address of the compound, was vital to this, was singularly vital to this, because we’re talking about tiny bits of information that were compiled by unbelievably competent professionals … over nine and a half years.”

There was no “thread” that “held the thought together”, he said.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])