New U.S. Account Says Bin Laden Was Unarmed During Raid

(New York Times) Mark Landler and Helene Cooper - Osama bin Laden was not carrying a weapon when he was killed by American troops in Pakistan, the White House said Tuesday, as it revised its initial account of the raid. Navy Seals burst in on bin Laden and shot him in a room on an upper floor, after a fierce gun battle with other operatives on the first floor. Bin Laden's wife "rushed the U.S. assaulter and was shot in the leg but not killed," said White House spokesman Jay Carney. "Bin Laden was then shot and killed. He was not armed." Several experts on the rules of engagement in combat said that in a raid on a target as dangerous as bin Laden, the Navy Seals team would be justified to open fire at the slightest commotion when they burst into a room. "This is a guy who's extremely dangerous," said John B. Bellinger III, legal counsel at the National Security Council and State Department in the Bush administration. "If he's nodding at someone in the hall, or rushing to the bookcase or you think he's wearing a suicide vest, you're on solid ground to kill him." During Monday's briefing, the president's chief counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, said President Obama put a premium on protecting the commandos in the operation, saying that "we were not going to give bin Laden or any of his cohorts the opportunity to carry out lethal fire on our forces."

2011-05-04 00:00:00

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