US Official: "This Was a Kill Mission"

A senior US official, hoping to offer clarity on the nature of Operation Neptune Spear, tells ABC News that “this was a kill mission.”

Yesterday White House press secretary James Carney said that “on orders of the President, a small U.S. team assaulted a secure compound in an affluent suburb of Islamabad to capture or kill Osama bin Laden.”

The senior US official says there was no expectation that bin Laden would be taken alive.

As CIA director Leon Panetta explained to PBS yesterday, “the authority here was to kill bin Laden. And obviously under the rules of engagement, if he in fact had thrown up his hands and surrendered and didn’t appear to represent any kind of threat then they were to capture him. But they had full authority to kill him.”

And they did. He was unarmed, but he resisted capture, his wife rushed a Navy SEAL, and there was no way the SEALs could have known in that split second whether bin Laden or the room was booby-trapped in any way.

Last night on Nightline we took a look at the latest details on the raid.

-Jake Tapper

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