WH Addresses What Support bin Laden Had in Pakistan, Other Details of Operation

Elisabeth Meinecke
Posted: May 02, 2011 2:45 PM
Jay Brennan, the assistant to the president on Homeland Security, took several questions at the White House press briefing today related to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Brennan said that the U.S. would have taken him alive if they had the opportunity to do so. He said he thinks it's "inconceivable" that bin Laden did not have a support system in Pakistan, but added he wasn't going to speculate what kind of support that might have been. He did say the intelligence community in Pakistan has been understanding of the U.S.'s actions in this case.

He did say it was one of the most anxiety-filled times in the lives of the people assembled (presumably in Washington, D.C.), since they were able to monitor on a real-time basis the progress of the operation. Brennan said there wasn't a unanimous recommendation to go in and that the president made one of the "gustiest calls" of any president in recent memory.

He also said the outer features of the compound were studied intensively and certain assessments were made about what area individuals were living in the compound, although they didn't know when they got there exactly what some of the internal features would be.

The woman who tried to shield Osama was presumably his wife, though Brennan said he wasn't there and thus didn't comment on whether she voluntarily shielded Osama, or he or someone else used her to protect himself.