Washington: US President Barack Obama's decision to order a raid on Osama bin Laden's compound was "a very gutsy call”, Defence Secretary Robert Gates said in an interview released on Thursday.
The Pentagon chief, who has worked under eight presidents including as a CIA director, said Obama had to weigh a difficult choice fraught with risk and danger.
"I've worked for a lot of these guys and this is one of the most courageous calls -- decisions -- that I think I've ever seen a President make," Gates told CBS television's "60 minutes" news program.
Given "the uncertainty of the intelligence, the consequences of it going bad, the risk to lives of the Americans involved -- it was a very gutsy call," he said.
Asked about the atmosphere in the White House situation room as the president and his deputies followed the raid's progress, Gates said: "Let's just say there wasn't a lot of conversation, by anybody in the room."
CBS was due to broadcast the full interview on Sunday as Gates -- who also served under Obama's predecessor George W Bush -- prepares to wrap up his tenure as defence secretary at the end of June.
In an interview with the same program aired last Sunday, Obama described the risks involved in his decision and said there was no definitive proof beforehand that bin Laden was at the compound.
On May 02, a team of elite Navy SEALs swooped in by helicopter on the al Qaeda leader's compound in Pakistan under the cover of darkness and shot dead bin Laden, before carrying his body away to be buried at sea.
US officials gave no advance notice to Islamabad.
First Published: Friday, May 13, 2011, 14:27