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United Nations

U.N. Official Questions Legality of Bin Laden's Killing

Navi Pillay AP.jpg

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay (AP)

He was the FBI's "Most Wanted" terrorist for killing thousands of innocent Americans, but just days after U.S. Navy SEALs stormed Usama bin Laden's Pakistan compound and killed the Al Qaeda leader, a U.N. official wants to make sure the operation was carried out legally.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called Thursday for a “full disclosure of the accurate facts” on Usama bin Laden’s killing.

“The United Nations condemns terrorism but it also has basic rules of how counter-terrorism activity has to be carried out,” Pillay told reporters in Oslo. “It has to be in compliance with international law.”

Pillay’s comments come just one day after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder assured the Senate Judiciary Committee that the raid on bin Laden’s northern Pakistan compound was a “lawful” operation and “an act of national self-defense.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney reiterated Holder’s comments, saying there was “no question” about the legality of the mission.

The White House has released conflicting details about the 40-minute raid. On Monday, the White House said bin Laden was armed when he was shot dead, but Carney corrected that statement one day later, saying the Al Qaeda chief was unarmed before being gunned down. Fox News learned Thursday that bin Laden was within reach of two weapons during the attack – an AK-47 and a Makarov handgun.

The changing story has raised doubts over assurances that the team of U.S. Navy SEALs was prepared to take bin Laden alive.

"If he had surrendered, I think -- attempted to surrender -- I think we should, obviously, have accepted that," Holder told the Senate committee.

"But there was no indication that he wanted to do that. And, therefore, his killing was appropriate," Holder added.