The White House declined to say on Thursday whether it would need to ask permission from Pakistan before striking at Osama bin Laden were he located in Pakistani territory.
"What I can tell you is that - without getting into any operational details - that when there is actionable information, that Osama bin Laden will be brought to justice," spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters.
Her comments came a day before US President George W Bush was to meet with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf at the White House, in the wake of contradictory comments on whether such permission was needed.
Asked whether Bush would consider it necessary, Perino noted the pending visit and added, "As we've said before, Pakistan is an important partner in the war on terror and a friend to the United States.
"We've had excellent cooperation in many areas, including counterterrorism. And the president has repeatedly said how much he appreciates Musharraf's commitment to pursuing Al-Qaeda and continuing to work with us in cooperation in the search for Osama bin Laden.
"Pakistan and the United States remain close allies, working not only on the war on terror together, but on many other areas," she said.
Bush said in an interview on Wednesday that he would not hesitate to track down and kill the Al-Qaeda chief behind the September 11, 2001 attacks and his followers, even if it meant hunting them down on Pakistani soil.