US President Barack Obama put off three times operations to kill world's most dreaded terrorist Osama bin Laden before finally going ahead with the mission at the insistence of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a new book has claimed.
Citing unnamed sources within the joint operations command, Rich Miniter, a former 'Wall Street Journal' and 'Washington Times' reporter, claims that three 'kill' missions were called off by Obama in January, February and March 2011.
Bin Laden was killed by US Navy SEALs inside his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011.
The president feared that the daring Navy SEALs operation to raid bin Laden's Pakistani hideout in Abbottabad "might go tragically wrong" and he would be blamed for it, the Mail Online reported claiming it had viewed excerpts of the book 'Leading from Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him'.
The book, which is slated for released today, claims that the White House's carefully-crafted narrative of Obama as a decisive leader who sanctioned the killing of the al-Qaeda supremo was a "myth" and challenges a key element of Obama's re-election bid - that his decision to kill Osama symbolises his resolute leadership.
At the start of his presidency, Miniter writes, Obama was "studiously undecided" about whether to kill the mastermind of 9/11. "He refused to weigh in or commit himself on even small matters related to a possible strike on bin Laden."
"Obama was often disengaged as the bin Laden operation took shape, he left critical decisions to the then-CIA Director Leon Panetta, then-Secretary of Defence Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton," the book says.