We could not say definitively that bin Laden was there, US President Barack Obama said on Sunday, and added Osama bin Laden likely had "some sort" of a support network inside Pakistan.
Obama's interview on CBS's "60 Minutes" program comes a week after bin Laden was killed by U.S. commandos in a garrison town a short drive from Islamabad, raising questions about whether Pakistan's government had known of the al Qaeda leader's whereabouts. "We think that there had to be some sort of support network for bin Laden inside of Pakistan. But we don't know who or what that support network was," Obama 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," he added.
Asked whether he did not warn the Pakistani government or the military, or even the Pakistani intelligence community, of the impending raid, because he did not trust them, Obama replied: "I didn't tell most people here in the White House. I didn't tell my own family. It was that important for us to maintain operational security. If I'm not revealing to some of my closest aides what we're doing, then I sure as heck am not going to be revealing it to folks who I don't know."
Obama said he agonized over the decision to go ahead with the mission for fear of the loss of American life and because it was inside sovereign Pakistan. "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 sent special forces in we've got problems," he said.
But he added: "The one thing I didn't lose sleep over was the possibility of taking bin Laden out. Justice was done. And I think that anyone who would question that the perpetrator of mass murder on American soil didn't deserve what he got needs to have their head examined."
Pakistan's government has "indicated they have a profound interest in finding out what kinds of support networks bin Laden might have had," Obama said. "But, it's going to take some time for us to be able to exploit the intelligence that we were able to gather on site." "Point number two was: as outstanding a job as our intelligence teams did and I cannot praise them enough they did an extraordinary job with just the slenderest of bits of information to piece this all together 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." "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."