Book: Obama Hoped to Put Bin Laden on Trial With Full Rights of a Criminal Defendant

Image source: Atlantic Monthly Press

WASHINGTON (The Blaze/AP) — A new book says President Barack Obama hoped to put Osama bin Laden on trial if he had surrendered during a U.S. raid.

In a book on the raid that killed bin Laden, author Mark Bowden quotes Obama as saying he thought he could make a strong political argument for giving bin Laden the full rights of a criminal defendant, to show U.S. justice applies even to him. In the book, purchased by The Associated Press, Bowden says Obama said he expected the terror leader to go down fighting.

“We worked through the legal and political issues that would have been involved, and Congress and the desire to send him to Guantánamo, and to not try him, and Article III,” Obama said, according to an adaptation of the book published in Vanity Fair. “I mean, we had worked through a whole bunch of those scenarios. But, frankly, my belief was if we had captured him, that I would be in a pretty strong position, politically, here, to argue that displaying due process and rule of law would be our best weapon against al-Qaeda, in preventing him from appearing as a martyr.”

“The Finish” is due out Oct. 16.

Obama’s remarks are the first time the president has discussed putting the terrorist on trial.

U.S. officials have said the raiders were ordered to capture bin Laden if he surrendered, or kill if he threatened them.

This post has been updated.