BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It was a daring mission, years in the making that involved spies, secret intelligence and the most elite members of the U.S. armed forces.

Now we’re learning that the White House wasn’t even 100 percent sure they had Osama bin Laden until he was dead. 

Kai Jackson has more.

After months of studying satellite photos of the compound, CIA analysts concluded there was only a 60-80 percent chance bin Laden was really there.

The photos were vague.  They showed a man walking the courtyard of the compound under surveillance, but it was impossible to tell whether it was bin Laden.  Analysts zeroed in on the pattern of daily life of the family in the main building.  It was the same number of members as bin Laden’s family.  None of them ever left the fortress-like compound.

“The president had to evaluate the strength of that information and then made what I believe was one of the most gutsiest calls of any president in recent memory,” said Chief Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan.

Once the order was given to move in, the SEALS headed into the compound.  A snag forced them to blast their way inside.  They moved up to the second and third floors, where they found bin Laden and his family. 

The White House says the terrorist leader resisted, but he was unarmed.

“I think we…we always assumed from the beginning that the likelihood was that he was gonna be killed,” said CIA Director Leon Panetta. “But if, perchance, he were to be captured, I think the approach was to take him quickly to Bagram, transfer him to a ship off shore and then have the principals at the White House decide what next steps would be taken.”

Video released after the raid showed dishes, carpets and clothing scattered on the floor of one of the buildings. 

The White House says they do have photos of bin Laden’s body and his burial at sea, but they’re still debating whether to release them.

“It’s fair to say that it’s a gruesome photograph,” said Press Secretary Jay Carney.  “It could be inflammatory.”

Bin Laden’s wife was shot in the calf after rushing at the SEALS.  Another woman was killed after getting caught in the crossfire.

 The SEALS returned to Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George’s County, where they were debriefed on the raid.

Click here to look at a slideshow of the world reacting to Osama bin Laden’s death.

Comments (15)
  1. urnotfunny says:

    I could care less that he was unarmed. Those 3,000 people he conspired to masacre during 9/11 attacks were unarmed too and they were only trying to go to work and do a job until that evil piece of trash that we killed took their lives!

    Great job Navy Seals and all involved in taking him down!

    1. Deni says:

      thats right. what gave him the right to invade NYC and threaten to kill and perform more evil attacks on USA that piece of garbage.

    2. Steve says:

      WELL SAID!!!!!!

  2. Deni says:

    Hello??? he was a wanted man, very vicious and dangerous and evil.

  3. troy says:

    well……… usa usa usa usa usa.those brave soldiers make me want to join the navy forces.

  4. joe says:

    How many lies come out of D.C. show me the pictures !

    1. A Voice says:

      I understand the need to see proof with your own eyes. However, you need to consider the safety of our troops abroad and our citizens here. There will be a retaliation, no question. However, if we parade his death pictures around the internet and in newspapers, we could feed the anger of radicals and cause them to attack our boys with more fury. The government has to be careful of that. Frankly, I don’t care about offending Al Qaida. I’m worried about our troops.

      1. Cautious Patriot says:

        Very true. It’s more an issue of the backlash that could happen to our troops and civilians who are living all over the world. I agree we need to be tactful and respectful to ensure the safety of every American, located anywhere in the world.

  5. Mike says:

    A comment as to whether the pictures should be shown – ” The Government has yet to decide …” The fact of the matter is who works for who ? Last I checked politicians , law enforcement , etc., work for the people , this would mean we are the boss and they the employees , so the decision is ours . Just my thoughts as to a paralell indicative of the many reasons we the USA are having the problems we find ourselves with , democracy at its’ core – By the people , for the people …. Too gruesome is an excuse , face reality no matter how harsh . We have lost tens of thousands of our young men and women to gruesome deaths fighting the governments’ war and self-interest , might consider that a “wake-up and smell the roses’ America !

  6. DB says:

    I don’t believe our navy seals could not take down an unarmed man and woman. More Government lies and the phoney photo we are shown of the politicians watching as this attack took place. The Government is pushing me over to the conspiracy side each day.
    Stop the lies it is time for the American people to revolt and take back our country before it is too late. STOP THE LIES COMING OUT OF TH WHITE HOUSE.

    1. JM says:

      Government lies, phoney photos of politicians watching as attack took place. “DB” please don’t start this day off with your rambling. As for the government pushing you to conspiracy – you are already there! And what is this about revolting and taking back our country – WHO TOOK IT? Also, prove just one lie (real facts) that came out of the White House. What I can only say to you right now is, “It’s raining outside – GO BACK TO BED and finish the nightmare you woke up with”!

  7. CE says:

    He should have been hung in the square of new york city.

    1. KS says:

      Agrre Completely its only fair for the family’s who lost loved ones the day of

  8. JOJO DANCER says:

    Now do you understand why so few were brief on the mission? Dose the world need to know where and when the Seals are being brief top secret or not?

  9. Proud American says:

    We watched, Fire Fighters, Paramedics, Emergency staff, Construction Workers, and Americans wanting to help, carry body’s, and body parts out of the rubble in NY for weeks, months even.

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