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'Only Panetta urged Obama to give go-ahead for Bin Laden Abbottabad raid'

Washington, Sat, 28 Jan 2012 ANI

Washington, Jan 28(ANI): US Defence Secretary and former CIA chief Leon Panetta was the only member of the inner circle who had urged President Obama to give a go-ahead to the Navy Seals raid on former Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden's compound, Vice President Joe Biden has claimed.


Biden admitted that he had tried to stop Obama from giving a green signal to the mission because he felt that the administration should first ascertain whether Bin Laden was actually hiding in the compound.


"He went around the table with all the senior people. ... Every single person in that room hedged their bet except Leon Panetta. Leon said, 'go.' Everyone else said 49, 51 (percent in favor)," Fox News quoted Biden, as saying.


Biden recalled the scene to substantiate his claim has a "backbone like a ramrod."


He added that Obama told his national security adviser the next day, "Go."


"He knew what was at stake. Not just the lives of those brave warriors, but literally the presidency, and he pulled the trigger. This guy doesn't lead from behind-he just leads," Biden added.


His statement come after former defense secretary Robert Gates had publicly declared that he had reservations about the intelligence pertaining to the bin Laden compound.


It is not yet unclear what every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and key Cabinet members had advised Obama on the raid.


A defense official said the then chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen "certainly recognized the risk, but he did not hesitate in offering his advice that we should go."


Another official said many officials were worried about losing their jobs should the mission failed.


He added that Panetta approved the raid because he had met with his intelligence team and most analysts had predicted that bin Laden was indeed in that compound. (ANI)


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