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Obama: Bin Laden must have had support

Supporters of a Pakistani religious group Jamaat-e-Islami attend an anti American rally in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 6, 2011. Osama bin Laden was killed by a U.S. special forces in a secret operation on Monday, in a house in Abbottabad. UPI/Sajjad Ali Qureshi
1 of 4 | Supporters of a Pakistani religious group Jamaat-e-Islami attend an anti American rally in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 6, 2011. Osama bin Laden was killed by a U.S. special forces in a secret operation on Monday, in a house in Abbottabad. UPI/Sajjad Ali Qureshi | License Photo

WASHINGTON, May 8 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama says it will take time to figure out who helped Osama bin Laden avoid detection for years in Pakistan.

In an interview on CBS' "60 Minutes" news program, which was taped Wednesday and aired Sunday night, Obama said he thinks "there had to be some sort of support network for bin Laden inside of Pakistan."

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"But we don't know who or what that support network was," the president said. "We don't know whether there might have been some people inside of government, people outside of government, and that's something that we have to investigate, and more importantly, the Pakistani government has to investigate."

Obama said his administration has been in touch with the Pakistani government and Pakistani officials have indicated they have "a profound interest" in learning who was responsible for keeping bin Laden safe in a compound near a Pakistani military academy for five years without word getting out.

"But these are questions that we're not gonna be able to answer three or four days after the event," Obama said. "It's gonna take some time for us to be able to exploit the intelligence that we were able to gather on site."

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Obama called the killing of bin Laden, whom he called a "mass murderer," last week "one of the most satisfying weeks not only for my presidency, but I think for the United States since I've been president."

He also said making the call to send an elite team into Pakistan to get bin Laden was one of the toughest decisions he's had to make.

"This was a very difficult decision, in part because the evidence that we had was not absolutely conclusive," he said. "This was circumstantial evidence that he was gonna be there."

Obama said despite the "outstanding" work by U.S. intelligence workers "at the end of the day, this was still a 55/45 situation."

"I mean, we could not say definitively that bin Laden was there. Had he not been there, then there would have been significant consequences," the president said.

"Obviously, we're going into the sovereign territory of another country and landing helicopters and conducting a military operation. And so if it turns out that it's a wealthy, you know, prince from Dubai who's in this compound, and, you know, we've spent special forces in -- we've got problems. So there were risks involved geopolitically in making the decision."

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