White House was Prepared to Take bin Laden Alive

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House counterterrorism adviser says U.S. forces who killed Osama bin Laden would have taken him alive if they had the opportunity.

John Brennan said the White House thought bin Laden would resist but that there was a "remote" possibility he could be captured alive. Brennan told reporters that the contingency was prepared for.

Brennan said that it only would have happened if bin Laden didn't pose any threat to the Americans sent to take him out. Since he fought back, he was killed.

A U.S. official says bin Laden went down firing at the Navy SEALs who stormed his compound. The official familiar with the operation says bin Laden was hit by a barrage of carefully aimed return fire.

The official says two dozen SEALs in night-vision goggles dropped into the high-walled compound in Pakistan by sliding down ropes from Chinook helicopters. U.S. officials say bin Laden was killed near the end of the 40-minute raid.

The SEALs retrieved bin Laden's body and turned the remaining detainees over to Pakistani authorities.

The White House says it has made no decision on whether to release photographic proof that Osama bin Laden is dead.

John Brennan, President Barack Obama's counterterrorism adviser, says the administration will do everything it can to make sure no one can deny U.S. claims that the al-Qaida leader was killed during a firefight with U.S. forces in Pakistan.

But Brennan says still to be determined is whether to release a photo of bin Laden's dead body. Brennan says one concern is whether doing so could potentially jeopardize similar operations and intelligence sources in the future.

President Barack Obama says the world is better and safer because of the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Speaking at the White House, Obama said bin Laden's death show that the United States has kept its commitment to seeing that justice is done.

Obama also praised the people gathered spontaneously at the White House and in New York to celebrate bin Laden's death, saying that embodied the true spirit and patriotism of America.

A team of elite American forces killed bin Laden during a raid at the compound in Pakistan where the elusive terror mastermind had been hiding.

Obama spoke during a White House ceremony to award the Medal of Honor posthumously to two veterans of the Korean War.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead the U.S. to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and the compound outside the Pakistani capital where he was killed by American special forces.

Speaking to reporters at the State Department on Monday, Clinton thanked Pakistan for its cooperation and said the country "has contributed greatly to our efforts to dismantle al-Qaida." She said that "in fact, cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound in which he was hiding."

Clinton's comments came amid questions over whether Pakistani intelligence and military officials knew of bin Laden's whereabouts so close to Islamabad and whether they had shared the information with the U.S.

Pakistan's foreign office is hailing Osama bin Laden's death, but some in the country are reacting angrily.

There has been no sign of a major backlash, but at least one Islamist political party did stage a protest in the southwestern city of Quetta. More than 100 party members shouted, "Down with America! Down with Obama!"

And the Pakistani Taliban are vowing to retaliate. A spokesman tells The Associated Press that the group will launch attacks in both Pakistan and the U.S. to "avenge the martyrdom of Osama bin Laden."

Still, the foreign office notes that al-Qaida "had declared war on Pakistan," killing thousands of Pakistani civilians and security officers.

Pakistan's intelligence agency has cooperated with the CIA in joint raids against al-Qaida suspects in Pakistan on several occasions. But U.S. and Pakistani officials have indicated this mission was too important to let anyone know more than a few minutes in advance.

The U.S. closed its embassy in Islamabad today, as well as consulates in Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar, over worries about possible unrest.

Muslim clerics are saying that Osama bin Laden's burial at sea was a violation of Islamic tradition.

The Pentagon says bin Laden's body was placed into the waters of the North Arabian Sea after adhering to traditional Islamic procedures - including washing the corpse - aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.

And a U.S. official said the decision was made after concluding it would have been hard to find a country that would accept the remains. There also was speculation about worry that a grave site could have become a rallying point for militants.

But many clerics are saying it shows a disregard for the Muslim practice of placing the body in a grave with the head pointed toward Mecca.

A radical Lebanese cleric called it a "strategic mistake" that was bound to stoke rage. He says Americans were hoping to "humiliate" Muslims by disposing of bin Laden's remains that way.

Some Islamic scholars say burials at sea can only be allowed in special cases where the death occurred aboard a ship.

Rudy Giuliani says Osama bin Laden's death "removes a leader of diabolical proportions."

Giuliani was mayor of New York City when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center.

The former mayor said in a statement Monday that bin Laden's death in Pakistan offers some measure of satisfaction for all those who lost loved ones on 9/11.

He praised President Barack Obama and the U.S. military and intelligence team that carried out the mission.