Last-minute doubts on Osama raid: Documentary

Targeting bin Laden was made for the cable network by the same production company that made "America The Story of Us."

Last Updated: Aug 31, 2011, 20:39 PM IST

New York: A new documentary reveals that a
last-minute double-check of intelligence before the raid that
killed Osama bin Laden last spring cast fresh doubt on whether
the al Qaeda leader was really in the Pakistani compound where
he was found.

The History network, in its "Targeting Bin Laden" special
that airs next Tuesday, said President Barack Obama convened a
special "red team" of terrorism experts to take a fresh look
at the evidence. That team had greater doubt that bin Laden
was in the Abbottobad, Pakistan home primarily because they
didn`t believe he would take the risk of having as many
visitors as he did.

Despite the new assessment, Obama ordered the mission to
proceed. Four days later on May 2, a team of US Navy SEALs
successfully located and killed the terrorist leader behind
the Sept 11, 2001 attacks.

Obama was interviewed two weeks ago for the special,
which provides a tick-tock account of what went into the
planning and execution of the raid. Other people interviewed
for the special include national security adviser Tom Donilon,
White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan and former
CIA officials.

The special "red team" had not been involved in the
intelligence operation that searched for bin Laden or planned
the raid. It was reviewing the evidence for the first time,
History says in the special.

Their assessment initially deflated policy makers, and
only half of those planning the raid advised Obama to proceed
after hearing their report.

"At the end of the day only the president can weigh those
risks," Donilon told interviewers. "Only the president can
ask, `What`s in the nation`s interest? What are the risks
worth running here? What will we accomplish if this works? How
will I deal with it if it doesn`t work?` It was a
quintessential presidential decision."

"Targeting Bin Laden" was made for the cable network by
the same production company that made "America The Story of
Us." It airs at 8 pm EDT on Sept 6.

PTI