If Mr. bin Laden was found, US officials assumed that Navy SEALs would kill him.
This was a debate at the time, whether Mr. Obama and other top national security officials preferred bin Laden dead, to avoid political wrangling, international attention, and potential terrorist targeting during his detainment and military tribunal.
US officials did not believe he would give himself up without a fight. “Assuming we found bin Laden, we were prepared to take him prisoner, but we anticipated resistance and were prepared to capture him only if he conspicuously surrendered,” Panetta writes.
“This was a military raid, not an arrest.”