US was ready to capture Osama alive: White House
"If we had the opportunity to take bin Laden alive, if he didn't present any threat, the individuals involved were able and prepared to do that. We had discussed that extensively in a number of meetings in the White House and with the US president," John Brennan, National Security Advisor for Counterterrorism and Homeland, told mediapersons at the White House.Bin Laden was killed in a pre-dawn operation on Monday in Pakistan's Abbottabad, 120 km from Islamabad.
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Image: The compound, within which bin Laden was killed, is seen in flames after it was attacked in Abbottabad in this still image taken from video footage from a mobile phone
'Osama engaged in a firefight and was killed'
The White House official said they were trying ensure that mission was accomplished safely. "We were not going to put our people at risk. The president put a premium on making sure that our personnel were protected, and we were not going to give bin Laden or any of his cohorts the opportunity to carry out lethal fire on our forces. He was engaged, and he was killed in the process. But if we had the opportunity to take him alive, we would have done that," he said.
Image: Aerial views, released by the US Department of Defence, show before (left) and after (right) views of the compound that bin Laden was killed in on Monday in Abbottabad
Photographs: Department of Defence handout/Reuters
'If we captured him, what would we do with him?'
"There was a working group that was working this on a regular basis, if not a daily basis, over the last several weeks, looking at every decision and based on what type of scenario would unfold, what actions and decisions would be made," the official said.
"It was looked at from the standpoint of, if we captured him, what would we do with him, where would he go. If he was killed, what would we do with him and where would he go?" he added.
Image: A drawing, released by the United State Department of Defence, shows the compound that bin Laden was killed in on Monday in Abbottabad