Washington: The US considered slaying terror mastermind Osama bin Laden with a just developed minute missile "magic bullet" among the options to breach his hideout deep inside Pakistan, a new book has revealed.
The magic missile with a length and breadth of a strong man's forearm was recently developed by Raytheon GPS and was fitted to be fired from a tiny drone.
The option of using the magic missile on the elusive Al Qaeda chief was mooted by President Barack Obama's favourite General James Cartwright, the then Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The use of the new technology was considered days before Mr Obama ordered the raid on bin Laden's Abbottabad hideout in Pakistan, as his National Security Team considered a commando-style operation.
Gen Cartwright told the team that the missile could strike an individual or a single vehicle without damaging anything nearby, wrote Mark Bowden in his book 'The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden' which hit the stores on Tuesday.
"Called simply an STM (small tactical munition), it weighed just thirteen pounds, carried a five-pound warhead, and was fired from under the wing of a drone that itself was no larger than a model air plane, small enough to escape the notice of any country's air defences.
"It was a 'fire-and-forget' missile, which meant you could not guide it once it was released. It would find and explode on the precise coordinates it had been given," the book said.
Since bin Laden, according to intelligence, "tended to walk in the same place every day, Mr Cartwright believed the missile would kill him, and likely him alone. It placed no American forces at risk, the book said.
The book also claimed that if captured alive, the Obama administration had made preparations for a criminal trial of the Al Qaeda leader.
Story first published:
October 16, 2012 14:17 IST