`Obama rolled dice with order to kill bin Laden`

Former US defence secretary Robert Gates said Barack Obama had virtually no concrete proof Osama bin Laden was holed up in a Pak compound.

Updated: May 17, 2012, 13:20 PM IST

Washington: Former US defence secretary Robert Gates has revealed that President Barack Obama’s decision to order the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was akin to a blind shot at rolling the dice.

“Obama rolled the dice with a blind -- and ultimately spot-on -- shot at Osama bin Laden,” Gates, the one-time CIA head, said during an interview with CBS.

Gates said Obama and his national security team had virtually no concrete proof bin Laden was holed up in a Pakistani compound.

“I had no doubts that the SEALs could perform the mission. My concern was whether or not he [bin Laden] was there,” The New York Post quoted Gates, as saying.

“People don’t realise [what] made the decision tough for the president was we didn’t have one single piece of hard data that he was actually in that compound. Not one,” he added.

According to the report, Gates had urged Obama to take down bin Laden from above, with an air attack that wouldn’t require US forces on the ground.

“My view was let’s kill him but let’s use a missile of some kind. The objection to that was `Well we couldn’t collect any information to exploit and we won’t know for sure whether we got him’,” the report quoted him, as saying.

“My view was you’ll know. It may take a few months and it’s not as dramatic and you won’t get the headline that you will on a SEAL raid. But if you think he’s there, that’s probably the least risky way to take him out,” he added.