Earlier in the week Reuters reported this.
The U.S. special forces team that hunted down Osama bin Laden was under orders to kill the al Qaeda mastermind, not capture him, a U.S. national security official told Reuters.
“This was a kill operation,” the official said, making clear there was no desire to try to capture bin Laden alive in Pakistan.
Leon Panetta, director of the CIA, is saying this.
Mr Panetta also told the network that the US Navy Seals made the final decision to kill bin Laden rather than the president.
He said: “The authority here was to kill bin Laden. 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.
There is no doubt in my military mind that the former report is true. It would have been a disaster of epic proportions to take bin Laden alive, hold him prisoner and deal with the trial of the millennium. I just cannot believe that the Administration would have given the military operators on the ground the ability to make a decision of such epic proportions.
It would have been a disaster to take him alive.