Pentagon: bin Laden's body wasn't flown to US

March 11, 2012

WASHINGTON: Reports that Osama bin Laden's body was flown to the US - not buried at sea, as the official account said - have been denied by a senior US State Department official.

The Pentagon considers "false and fairly ridiculous" the information contained in a leaked email from the private intelligence firm Stratfor, the acting assistant secretary for public affairs, Mike Hammer, said in a press briefing.

The email was among the 5 million Stratfor documents obtained by WikiLeaks and disseminated late last month.

Some details of last May's raid were contradicted in the wake of the shooting, including the initial report bin Laden used his wife as a human shield - but this is the first time such an important factor has been called into question.

Washington insists the body was buried at sea after traditional Islamic procedures about 12 hours after he was killed in a US special forces raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2 last year.

One of the emails sent by Stratfor's vice-president of intelligence, Fred Burton, described bin Laden's body as "bound for Dover, DE (Delaware) on CIA plane", while a subsequent message said the remains went "onward to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Bethesda (Maryland)".

Mr Burton was formerly a special agent with the US Diplomatic Security Service.

WikiLeaks has begun to release 5 million Stratfor emails from between July 2004 and December last year to denounce the espionage operations for which the Texas intelligence firm was contracted by companies and governments.