Story Changes: Osama Was ‘Unarmed,’ Officials Now Admit

Questions Grow Over Why Troops Didn't Capture Him Alive

A number of the details surrounding the Obama Administration’s initial account of the Sunday slaying of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan have been revised by officials today. The most noteworthy of these is the claim that bin Laden was killed in an intense firefight, and that officials really hoped to take him alive.

Despite emphasizing this in their initial account, officials are now confirming that there was no firefight in the room in which bin Laden was killed, and that the al-Qaeda founder was entirely unarmed when he was shot in the head by Navy SEALs.

Officials had previously insisted the SEALs were instructed to attempt to take him alive if he “didn’t pose a threat.” Though officials claim he was resisting at the time of his killing, one wonders how much of a threat the aging, sickly terror leader could have posed to a team of soldiers when he was unarmed.

Other changes to the story include the “used his wife as a human shield” claim, which was first revised to a claim that he used some other, random woman as a human shield and eventually dropped in favor of the claim that the random, unarmed woman attacked the troops upon entering the room. It remains to be seen if other major changes will be forthcoming.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.