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The Obama administration's evolving narrative of Bin Laden raid

By FinalCall.com News | Last updated: May 10, 2011 - 6:31:15 PM

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(FinalCall.com) - After President Obama announced to the world on May 1st that Osama bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan, inconsistencies developed. Below are selected excerpts comprised of words spoken by members of the Obama administration.

Press Briefing by Senior Administration Officials on the Killing of Osama bin Laden

Via Conference Call May 2, 12:03 A.M. EDT

obama_cabinet12-01-2009.jpg

' It was a firefight. He, therefore, was killed in that firefight and that's when the remains were removed.'
—John Brennan, Former NSA Chair and President Obama Advisor
“There were several women and children at the compound. One woman was killed when she was used as a shield by a male combatant.”

During the question and answer portion:

Q. Good morning. Can you tell us specifically what contact there was with bin Laden at the compound? You referred to someone using a woman as a shield that was not bin Laden. But how was he killed? Where? What occurred at the compound?

ANS. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: As the President said this evening, bin Laden was killed in a firefight as our operators came onto the compound.

Q. Was bin Laden involved in firing himself or defending himself? And then any chronology of the raid itself?

ANS. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: He did resist the assault force. And he was killed in a firefight.

*****

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney and Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan, 5/2/2011

Q. Thank you, sir. I wanted to ask about the specific goal of the raid. Was there a consideration to try to take bin Laden alive, or was the mission to kill him on sight?

ANS. MR. BRENNAN: Absolutely it was to prepare for all contingencies. 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 President. The concern was that bin Laden would oppose any type of capture operation. Indeed, he did. It was a firefight. He, therefore, was killed in that firefight and that's when the remains were removed. But we certainly were planning for the possibility, which we thought was going to be remote, given that he would likely resist arrest, but that we would be able to capture him.

Q. So you went into the operation believing that the most likely outcome was that he would be killed on sight?

ANS. MR. BRENNAN: We were trying to make sure that we were able to accomplish the mission safely and securely for the people who were involved. 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.

Q. You said that Osama bin Laden was actually involved in the firefight, and we had -- it has been reported that he reached for a weapon. Did he get his hand on a gun and did he fire himself?

ANS. MR. BRENNAN: He was engaged in a firefight with those that entered the area of the house he was in. And whether or not he got off any rounds, I quite frankly don't know.

Q. All right, circle back to a point you just made. Bin Laden used women as human shields when American personnel went in?

ANS. MR. BRENNAN: There was family at that compound, and there was a female who was in fact in the line of fire that reportedly was used as a shield to shield bin Laden from the incoming fire.

*****

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 5/3/2011 James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

1:57 P.M. EDT

Responding to questions regarding the information delivered the day before by Mr. Brennan, Mr. Carney sad the following:

“I want to make clear that is, again, information that is fresh, and we will continue to gather and provide to you details as we get them and we're able to release them. The resistance was throughout. As I said, when the assaulter entered the room where Osama bin Laden was, he was rushed by one individual in the room, and the resistance was consistent from the moment they landed until the end of the operation.”

Q. Jay, just to follow up, how did Obama -- excuse me, Osama bin Laden resist if he didn't -- if he didn't have his hand on a gun, how was he resisting?

ANS. MR. CARNEY: Yes, the information I have to you -- first of all, I think resistance does not require a firearm. But the information I gave you is what I can tell you about it. I'm sure more details will be provided as they come available and we are able to release them.

Q. Did he have any weapon?

ANS. MR. CARNEY: He was not armed, is what I understand to be true.

Q. Are you able to describe how bin Laden resisted?

ANS. MR. CARNEY: Again, beyond what I was able to give you from here, I would refer you to the Pentagon and simply say that we have been -- we have worked very hard to declassify information in record speed to provide as much insight into this operation as we can, as quickly as we can, mindful obviously of the equities that are at stake here in terms of never revealing sources and methods, never compromising our intelligence procedures. But we are working very hard to provide as much information as we can.

*****

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 5/4/2011 James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

Q. Jay, you talked yesterday a lot about firefight. Who was it that was shooting back at the U.S. commandos?

ANS. MR. CARNEY: We have, as you know, since the moment this operation became public been as helpful as we can be to provide as much information as we can. And in terms of the operational details, we have gotten to the point where we cannot cross lines because of the necessity for preserving the methods and operational techniques and capabilities of the kinds of forces that were used in this case. We've gone to the limit of our ability to do that and still maintain some of the things we need to maintain and be kept secret.

So that's a long way of beginning my answer to say that we've revealed a lot of information. We've been as forthcoming with facts as we can be. A lot of information came out quickly. When we needed to clarify some of the information that we had as more information came in, we've provided that. But in terms of further details of the operation, I don't have any for you. You're welcome to obviously consult with the Defense Department about them, but I don't have any more information. I'm not going to discuss beyond what I've said already the operational details.

Q. But some things, as you acknowledged yesterday, have changed as the information came in. Is the fact of a firefight solid?

ANS. MR. CARNEY: You heard the account that I read yesterday, and that is information that I provided. And I'm not -- I'm just simply saying I'm not going further than that.

Q. Okay, I guess I'm just curious about you mentioned --

ANS. MR. CARNEY: I'm not going to go further than what I said yesterday. So we can talk about -- we can ask a lot about operational details. The answer to your question is certainly contained within the account I read yesterday. But we're at a point where we need to be mindful of the necessity to protect our ability in the future to go after other bad guys, perhaps in the same way we went after this one. And some of the capacities that we have, the methods that we use need to be protected and not compromised.

Source: The White House/www.WhiteHouse.gov

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