Al Arabiya went forward with a fairly surprising claim that one of Osama bin Laden’s daughters, age 12, saw her father captured by Navy SEAL commandos before being killed. Multiple news outlets have reported that the daughter saw bin Laden shot, but only Al Arabiya went this far, to say bin Laden was captured before being killed. All of the sources on this appear to be Pakistani intelligence, an important caveat. This is the same Pakistani intelligence covering its tracks on whether or not they knew bin Laden’s whereabouts by saying “the whole world failed, not just us.”
Maybe it depends upon the word “capture.” Does that mean put into handcuffs? Under the physical control of the commandos? Does it just mean they broke into the room where bin Laden was sleeping and said “Freeze”? Whatever the case, it’s an inflammatory statement. And the CIA was quick to deny it.
The CIA categorically denies two stories coming out of Pakistan, sourced to bin Laden family members:
1) that Osama bin Laden was captured at the scene and then killed minutes afterward; this from his daughter.
2) that a second bin Laden son, Mohammed, was thrown on the chopper as it departed Abbottabad.
“We categorically deny both of those,” said a CIA spokesman.
Given what we know about the rules of engagement, and the fears that bin Laden would be wired with a bomb or some other hidden weapon, I would find capture hard to believe. Nobody in the US government makes it sound like there was any plan for capture whatsoever. Furthermore, a “capture then kill” scenario would have international law implications, and unnecessary ones, if the kill mission was authorized under the AUMF.
Meanwhile, we’ve learned that bin Laden had 500 Euros and two telephone numbers sewn into his clothing, making him prepared to leave the compound quickly if need be. But any heads-up from friendly sources about an imminent US raid never came.
UPDATE: Justin Elliott has more on this. Needless to say the entire narrative has to be called into question at this point. This isn’t the fog of war, it’s the pea soup of war.