White House: Bin Laden Had No Gun or Human Shield

Jay Carney clarifies details from first account
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2011 3:19 PM CDT

(Newser) – The White House clarified details today of the raid on Osama bin Laden, with spokesman Jay Carney saying that bin Laden was not armed and did not use his wife as a human shield. He chalked up the discrepancies to the government's "great haste" in getting information out. Here's the section of the prepared statement—read it in full at USA Today—dealing with the assault on bin Laden's room:

  • "There was concern that bin Laden would oppose the capture operation, and indeed he did resist. In the room with bin Laden, a woman, bin Laden's wife, rushed the US assaulter and was shot in the leg but not killed. Bin Laden was then shot and killed; he was not armed." (Carney didn't clarify how bin Laden resisted but said resistance does not require a gun.)
  • He also said the White House is still weighing whether to release a "gruesome" photo proving bin Laden is dead.

At Slate, Jack Shafer rounds up discrepancies in various wire accounts—on everything from the number of helicopters involved to how Obama's national security team monitored the raid—and warns it will take some time to get the full story in place. "As we know from the coverage of other major breaking-news events—the Mumbai massacre, the death of Pat Tillman, Hurricane Katrina, the rescue of Jessica Lynch, to cite just a few examples—the earliest coverage of a big story is rarely reliable."

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