The Telegraph has the story:
Leon Panetta, director of the CIA, revealed there was a 25 minute blackout during which the live feed from cameras mounted on the helmets of the US special forces was cut off.
A photograph released by the White House appeared to show the President and his aides in the situation room watching the action as it unfolded. In fact they had little knowledge of what was happening in the compound.
Mr Panetta said: “Once those teams went into the compound I can tell you that there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes where we really didn’t know just exactly what was going on. And there were some very tense moments as we were waiting for information.
“We had some observation of the approach there, but we did not have direct flow of information as to the actual conduct of the operation itself as they were going through the compound.”
Panetta also admitted that the Navy Seals, not the president, made the decision to kill bin Laden:
He said: “The authority here was to kill bin Laden. And obviously, under the rules of engagement, if he had in fact thrown up his hands, surrendered and didn’t appear to be representing any kind of threat, then they were to capture him. But they had full authority to kill him.
“To be frank, I don’t think he had a lot of time to say anything. It was a firefight going up that compound. And by the time they got to the third floor and found bin Laden, I think it – this was all split-second action on the part of the Seals.”
The President only knew the mission was successful after the Navy Seals commander heard the word “Geronimo” on the radio, a code word from commandos reporting that they had killed bin Laden.
The absence of footage of the raid has led to conflicting reports about what happened in the compound. According to Pakistani authorities one of bin Laden’s daughter’s, who was present during the raid, claimed that her father was captured alive before he was killed.