U.S. officials believe that the woman killed during Sunday’s raid in Pakistan was one of Osama Bin Laden’s wives and probably died while being used as a human shield by the al-Qaida leader as U.S. forces closed in.
“She served as a shield, this is my understanding,” John Brennan, a top counterterrorism adviser to President Obama, told reporters at a briefing Monday afternoon. “When there was an opportunity to get to Bin Laden, she was positioned in a way that she was used as a shield. My understanding was she was one of Bin Laden’s wives.”
Two other women were also reportedly injured during the raid. In his remarks Sunday night, the president did not mention the the women, saying only that the U.S. forces “took care to avoid civilian casualties.”
Brennan also said that the U.S. team that killed Bin Laden Sunday would have taken him in alive if given the chance. “If we had the opportunity to take him alive, we would have done that,” he said.
Those comments are slightly at odds with an earlier report that quotes a national security official calling the operation a "kill mission."
Over on main Slate we’re overflowing with original insight and analysis on Bin Laden's death and what it means for the U.S. both at home and abroad.
-Fred Kaplan explains what it means for al-Qaida and for U.S. relations with Afghanistan and Pakistan.
-Christopher Hitchens takes a look at what Bin Laden’s legacy will be.
-Brian Palmer explains why the US buried him at sea.
-John Dickerson tells you how Obama’s focused, hand-on pursuit of the al-Qaida leader paid off.
And for all you visual learners, we’ve got a slideshow of people celebrating the news.