Osama Bin Laden -- Dead? Renditioned? President Barack Obama’s administration has claimed before Congress that it has not issued a blanket order to kill rather than capture terrorists.  This would seem to be a logical decision since capturing a terrorist removes him as a threat and also promises through interrogation to reveal important insights into networks, structures and other personnel involved in the funding and control of terrorism.  On the other hand, killing a terrorist only removes him as a threat but offers no intelligence information. Why then was Osama bin Laden summarily shot rather than captured?  Surely, having spent most of his adult life as a terrorist, he would have been a treasure trove of information vital to all of the U.S. intelligence agencies. Or, was he not shot while being captured?  If not, why claim he was killed? Let us presume you are an intelligence official considering the pros and cons of a raid on Osama’s compound.  Let us presume for some time you have been using satellites, drones, and agents on the ground to monitor the exterior and with advanced technical equipment the interior of the compound.  By the time you decided to raid the compound, you would have determined there were no real defensive forces present, just Osama, his son, a couple couriers and some women.  You know that it will only require a minimal amount of force to overwhelm the occupants. What you must next decide, is what do you want to happen after you have secured the place? Certainly you can expect to find massive amounts of information on files and computers.  But, by far the biggest source of information is going to be Osama himself.  If isolated and interrogated long enough, he will talk.  The veracity of what he says can be verified by polygraphs and drugs. The downside of holding him in captivity is that other terrorists will know you have him, meaning they are going to continuously put pressure on you to release him.  There will be videotapes of captured Americans tortured and beheaded.  There will be bombing of embassies and any of a hundred other means they have of trying to sway U.S. public opinion. If you kill him during the raid, you preclude all of that, but you lose a huge source of information about other cells that have been set up, financial arrangements for supporting them, means of communication, and planned future acts of terrorism. Death or capture is almost totally your choice, because the force you send in will have overwhelming superiority, with everything from stun guns, flash grenades, highly incapacitating, and fully lethal weapons.  How they conduct the mission will be your choice. If you are in an intelligence gathering agency, presumably you would have to be thinking about options outside the box.  What if you led everyone to assume that you killed him in the heat of battle, buried him at sea so there is no body that you have to deal with, and then out of a supposed act of consideration to Muslim viewers you do not permit the release of death photos. Then, later to justify this act of deception to your own leaders you paraphrase Winston Churchill, claiming that the truth is so important that sometimes it must be protected by a bodyguard of lies. Is there anything to substantiate this deceptive possibility?  Nothing concrete, just a few ravelings at the edges.  Some have claimed he was buried at sea; he was buried according to Muslim custom; he was shot because he reached for a weapon; cowering behind his young wife he claimed “I am not he;” his young wife was shot in the leg because she tried to protect him. So, you are left with an unanswered question: Was he ‘renditioned’ to some area of confinement other than Guantanamo?  Or, was he killed, as claimed?