Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday that he advised President Obama to attack Osama bin Laden with a missile and not use Navy SEALs, citing fears that a failure to catch the al-Qaida chief could endanger the war in Afghanistan.
On CBS’s This Morning, Gates said he was concerned whether bin Laden was actually in the compound, and figured using a missile would be less risky.
“If this mission had failed, it could have put the war in Afghanistan at risk," he said. "And that was one of my principal concerns.”
Gates said concerns were raised over using a missile, primarily that it would not be known whether bin Laden had actually been killed. But he disagreed. “You’ll know,” he said, adding that, “it may take a few months and it's not as dramatic and you won't get the headline that you will on a SEAL raid.”
Gates said that the decision was a tough one because, “we didn't have one single piece of hard data that he was actually in that compound. Not one.”
Gates, who also served as Defense Secretary under George W. Bush, added: “ I've always thought it was a very courageous call.”