Leon Panetta, Director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has said that although the U.S. considered including other countries in the plan to launch an assault on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad the CIA ruled out participating with Pakistan at the outset because “it was decided that any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardise the mission.”

Mr. Panetta said in a media interview that if the U.S. agency had shared such critical intelligence with Pakistan, “they might [have alerted] the targets.” Running a high-altitude bombing raid from B-2 bombers or launching a “direct shot” with cruise missiles were considered as an alternative, he said.

Those options were, however, ruled out due to the possibility of “too much collateral,” Mr. Panetta said to Time magazine. He pointed out, though, that the direct-shot option “[had still been] on the table [till] as late as last Thursday as the CIA and the White House grappled with how much risk to take in the mission.”

He said that he had worried about the potential consequences of involving Pakistan in the covert operation, saying: “What if you go down and you are in a fire-fight and the Pakistanis show up and start firing?”

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