May 11th, 2011
02:18 PM ET
Washington (CNN) - The White House pushed back Wednesday against allegations by family members of Osama bin Laden, who said the raid by Navy SEALs, in which the terrorist leader was killed, “blatantly violated” international law.
“We feel very strongly that the successful mission against a mass murderer of Americans and people across the world, was entirely justified,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday when pressed on the matter at the daily press briefing.
In a statement provided to the New York Times on Tuesday, Omar bin Laden, and other children of Osama bin Laden, said the lack of a body, or photographic or video evidence of his death, led them to question whether their father had been killed in the May 2, operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
The statement went on to say that despite his disagreement with US policy toward his father, Omar disagreed with Osama Bin Laden’s use of violence against innocent civilians.
In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Attorney General Eric Holder said the raid on Bin Laden’s compound was lawful “as an act of national self-defense.” As the head of Al Qaeda, Bin Laden headed “an organization that had conducted the attacks of September the 11th,” Holder said. “It’s lawful to target an enemy commander in the field.”
In an interview with PBS a day after the operation, CIA Director Leon Panetta said the “authority” during the raid was to kill Bin Laden. “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 would capture him. But they had full authority to kill him,” Panetta said.
When asked by a reporter on Tuesday what he thought of the statement questioning the legality of Bin Laden’s death, Vice President Biden sarcastically asked, “You’re kidding?”