Sources: Bin Laden Acted 'Cowardly,' Confused in Final Moments
Sources involved in the operation that took down Usama bin Laden told Fox News the terrorist leader acted "scared" and "completely confused" in his final moments, "shoving his wife" at the Navy SEAL who ultimately shot him.
The information helps clarify the conflicting details about what exactly happened toward the end of the 40-minute raid on bin Laden's northern Pakistan compound. Sources who were part of the mission said bin Laden acted in a "cowardly manner" when confronted. Fox News has also learned that while bin Laden was unarmed, he was standing near the door within reach of two weapons -- an AK-47 and a Makarov handgun that are now in U.S. custody. The handgun is a 9mm semi-automatic Russian pistol, standard issue in the Russian military until 1991.
A senior U.S. official also told Fox News that only one of the five people killed in the raid was carrying a weapon and firing. The detail seemed at first to diverge from White House accounts claiming the Navy SEALs encountered resistance throughout the raid and were engaged in a firefight during much of the 40-minute operation. However, the scene was described as chaotic, with U.S. forces encountering barricades and women in the compound screaming and attacking the men.
Another U.S. official said there were "at least a half-dozen weapons" found at the compound. The first person the SEALs encountered at the guest house "immediately opened fire" before being killed, the official said. As the SEALs moved through the compound, bin Laden's son Khaled rushed down from the third floor to the second floor and confronted the SEALs, who killed him.
The U.S. team, in their training, had anticipated that bin Laden had a suicide vest and that the house was rigged. The official bristled at the notion that the compound was somehow an easy target with reports that only one person was armed.
"He was the one guy shot who had a gun in his hand and was firing when he was shot -- other weapons were at the scene," the official said. "When the SEALs reached the third floor, after resistance and physical barricades, Usama bin Laden did not immediately surrender. When someone like UBL who has said he wants to kill as many Americans as possible, doesn't 150 percent surrender, you have to assess as a threat."
Another source familiar with the operation said the first shot fired at bin Laden, when he poked his head out of his bedroom, missed. That detail was first revealed by Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., based on information he got during a classified briefing to members of Congress. Afterward, two different SEALs fired on bin Laden, one hitting his chest and one hitting his forehead.
President Obama, after spending the day in New York City to mark bin Laden's death and meet with the families of Sept. 11 victims, plans to meet Friday with "some" if not all of the SEAL team members who carried out the daring raid. A senior U.S. defense official told Fox News he will meet with members of the team at Fort Campbell, Ky., along with those who flew them to the scene in helicopters.
Fox News' Jennifer Griffin, Justin Fishel and Catherine Herridge contributed to this report.