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Bin-Laden's death leaves behind critical questions: Politico

May 6, 2011 - Washington

The death of Osama bin-Laden has left behind many questions in the minds of many, including conspiracy theorists, about the 40-minute operation.

Five days after U.S. commandos killed bin Laden in a raid on his hideout in Pakistan, Politico has questioned related to the changes to the administration's initial account about the daring mission.

At an early briefing, US officials had claimed the Al-Qaeda leader had fired at the U.S. team, but later admitted he had never picked up a weapon. The White House had also claimed earlier that the commandos had undergone gun battle thought the operation, but later said only one man in the compound fired, and he was shot dead early in the mission.

"They did rush to explain the situation before a debrief of the members of the unit. They keep saying 'fog of war,' but that's always the case in every operation. There was too much eagerness to get the story out, and they made mistakes, clearly," former CIA counterterrorism chief Vincent Cannistraro said.

Politico has highlighted some of the remaining mysteries surrounding the death of bin Laden.

During the administration's first background briefing early Monday morning, one official said a helicopter was lost "due to mechanical failure" and blown up by the U.S. team, but minutes later, an official on the call insisted: "We didn't say it was mechanical."

Representative Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, said on Thursday that the helicopter was damaged when it hit the compound's wall and lost lift because of a change in air temperature, adding: "It was not a mechanical failure."

Another question that politico asked is did the firefight continue through most of the raid or not?

When Carney read the prepared statement on Tuesday to correct earlier details about the raid, he said the U.S. special operations members were under attack from the time they landed until they departed, adding: "They were engaged in a firefight throughout the operation."

Also Tuesday, CIA Director Leon Panetta said the shooting continued as the commandos headed to bin Laden's room on the third floor of the house, however, The New York Times however, reported on Thursday that only the first man the team encountered fired on them.


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