CIA Director Leon Panetta provided these new details during a briefing with congressional lawmakers. A senior U.S. official with knowledge of the briefing confirmed that bin Laden had 500 euros and numbers sewn into his clothes. The rudimentary getaway plan suggested bin Laden thought, in the event of military forces closing in, he might be tipped off in time to escape.
Several other details from the raid support the narrative that bin Laden felt a certain sense of security in his walled compound in northern Pakistan — there were no guards on site, and he was unarmed when the CIA-led Navy SEALs team dropped in Sunday to capture or kill him.
The circumstances surrounding his final minutes are still a bit blurry. A senior U.S. official said that while he was unarmed, he appeared to be reaching for a weapon before being fatally shot.
The White House says bin Laden resisted. Panetta, in an interview Tuesday with PBS, said U.S. forces had to engage in “firefights” as they made their way through the compound, and when they got to bin Laden, “there were some threatening moves that were made that clearly represented a clear threat to our guys. And that’s the reason they fired.”
“And obviously, under the rules of engagement, if he had in fact thrown up his hands, surrendered and didn’t appear to be representing any kind of threat, then they were to capture him. But they had full authority to kill him,” Panetta said.
The team encountered resistance “throughout the operation,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
Providing a thorough timeline of the operation, Carney said the raid started with one U.S. team working its way up from the first floor of the main building, where bin Laden’s family and one other family lived. Another U.S. team cleared a separate building on the compound where yet another family had been living alongside bin Laden.
The first team killed two Al Qaeda couriers and a woman who got caught in the crossfire on the first floor of the main building, Carney said. The team found bin Laden and his family on the upper two floors.
According to one source, 10 people who were likely family members were in the room with bin Laden, including several young children, as well as one of his wives. Some of the children ran out of the room during the fighting. There was also a toddler in the residence.
Carney, after tripping up on some of the finer details and acknowledging he was a bit “confused,” said bin Laden’s wife “rushed” somebody from the U.S. team but was shot in the leg. Carney said bin Laden also resisted and was killed after that. After the completion of the mission, the team gathered evidence and took the body away from the scene.
That data and evidence are now being analyzed by CIA staff at the agency’s Virginia headquarters. “The U.S. is moving quickly to exploit this information before the cockroaches scatter,” a senior defense official said.
A congressional source told Fox News on Wednesday that the material “could take some time” to evaluate and some of it will need to be translated from Arabic.
But the cache of information has been described as a significant find.
One former senior intelligence official said the data could be “invaluable as a history of the network” and, at the very least, “an encyclopedia of who’s who.”