US debated a joint op with Pak to nail Osama: Book

Obama`s top officials had debated various options like dropping an experimental small bomb on Osama`s Abbottabad den.

Washington: Prior to the raid by the US Navy SEALS that killed Osama bin Laden, country`s top National Security officials debated various options including inviting the Pakistanis to conduct a joint operation to nail the al Qaeda chief, a new book has claimed.

President Barack Obama`s top national security officials, six weeks prior to the May 2 raid, debated various options, from dropping an experimental small bomb on the al Qaeda leader inside his Abbottabad hide-out and obliterating the compound with a B-2 bomber to conducting a joint operation with Pakistan.

Then Defence Secretary Robert M Gates and General James E Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, favoured the small bomb option while others persuasively argued that the mini-bomb might miss or that there would be no way to prove to the world that bin Laden had been killed, according to a new book by bin Laden expert Peter Bergen.

"I think we have hung our hopes on sophisticated new technologies sometimes too soon that don`t work out," Admiral Mike Mullen, then the Joint Chiefs chairman, told Bergen of the March 14 debate within the president`s war cabinet.

The book, "Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden From 9/11 to Abbottabad," is scheduled for publication on Tuesday, the first anniversary of bin Laden`s death, the Washington Post reported.

The book describes bin Laden`s six-year stay in Abbottabad until the moment when, according to Bergen, he uttered his final words, spoken to his fourth wife as the commandos climbed the stairs to his bedroom: "Don`t turn on the light."

In addition, it also gives a detailed account of nearly a decade of CIA frustration, spent with virtually no idea of the al-Qaeda leader`s whereabouts.

Bergen describes bin Laden`s life in Abbottabad as a "comfortable, if confining retirement" that left him free to "indulge his hobbies of reading and following the news", attended by three of his wives and surrounded by many of his children.

"For the world`s most wanted fugitive," he writes, "it was not a bad life."

Bergen`s account is drawn from now-declassified documents seized by the SEALS from the compound, interviews with senior US policymakers and a visit to the compound itself two weeks before the Pakistani government ordered it to be destroyed last February.


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