(CNN) — Was the killing of Osama bin Laden legal under international law?
The administration says yes, absolutely. Experts are unsure.
Attorney General Eric Holder told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that the U.S. raid on bin Laden’s compound was lawful “as an act of national self-defense.”
Bin Laden “was the head of al Qaeda, an organization that had conducted the attacks of September the 11th,” Holder said. “It’s lawful to target an enemy commander in the field.”
The raid “was conducted in a manner fully consistent with the laws of war,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters. Carney declined to offer specifics, but said “there is simply no question that this operation was lawful. … (Bin Laden) had continued to plot attacks against the United States.”
Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama had all issued orders to kill or capture the al Qaeda leader.