May 8, 2012

The Pentagon pushed back Tuesday on assertions that Leon Panetta, while CIA director, drafted a memo before the raid on Usama bin Laden’s compound that was “highly lawyered” to safeguard President Obama from public backlash if the operation failed.

Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby and three top Panetta aides told Fox News that’s not true. That was after former Attorney General Michael Mukasey claimed earlier that a memo had given cover to Obama.

The memo in question is apparently the April 2011 hand-written memo from Panetta to Naval Special Operations Cmdr. Adm. Bill McRaven — the letter was first obtained by Time magazine, and later confirmed by Fox News. It instructed McRaven to execute the raid on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, only according to the “risk profile” presented to Obama and to relay additional risk-related information to the president before proceeding.

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