On Tuesday, Mr. Biden suggested that he had not opposed the raid, saying he told the president in a one-on-one conversation “that I thought he should go but to follow his own instincts.” That seemed to conflict with the public memories of others who were involved in the decision and who suggested that Mr. Biden was against the raid.
Mr. Panetta, who was the director of the C.I.A. at the time and strongly supported the raid, wrote in his memoir, “Worthy Fights,” that Mr. Biden “argued that we still did not have enough confidence that bin Laden was in the compound, and he came out firmly in favor of waiting for more information.”
Robert M. Gates
Mr. Gates, then the defense secretary, wrote in his book, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” that he and Mr. Biden were the “two primary skeptics, although everyone was asking tough questions. Biden’s primary concern was the political consequences of failure.”
In his book, “The Great War of Our Time,” Mr. Morell, then a deputy to Mr. Panetta, characterized Mr. Biden as “unconvinced about the intelligence and concerned about what a failed mission would do” to the United States’ relationship with Pakistan.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
In her memoir as secretary of state, “Hard Choices,” released last year, Mrs. Clinton described Mr. Biden as being among the skeptics of a raid, although she touched on his role only lightly. But on the public-speaking circuit before the book’s release, Mrs. Clinton described herself as steadfastly in Mr. Panetta’s corner in support of the raid.
Yet there were several meetings leading up to the surprise attack in Pakistan, and some people appeared to give weight to different factors at different points. Mr. Panetta, for instance, wrote in his book that Mrs. Clinton “acknowledged that more time might give us better intelligence, a sentiment others advanced as well, but she concluded that this was a rare opportunity and believed we should seize it.”