Washington, Feb 14: US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta today said the daring operation to kill Osama bin Laden at his Abbottabad safe house in Pakistan was very risky as the al-Qaeda chief's presence there was not 100 per cent confirmed.
As Director of the CIA, Panetta played a leading role in the finding and killing of bin Laden. Subsequently he was made the Defense Secretary by President Barack Obama.
“What I saw... was a very professional intelligence operation that was able to determine the location of the compound in Abbottabad,” Panetta told reporters in his final press conference as the Defense Secretary.
If confirmed by the Senate, he would be replaced by Chuck Hagel, the former Nebraska Senator.
“I think despite all of the work that was done on the intelligence side... we were putting the bits and pieces together, we never had a hundred per cent confidence that it was bin Laden who was located there. So from the very beginning, it was always very risky because we didn't know that in fact it was bin Laden,” he said.
“We continued to look at the intelligence. It seemed to all point to it being bin Laden, but very frankly, we did not have a hundred percent,” he said.