Dec. 24, 1998 file photo of al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
(USA TODAY) -- President Obama says the government would have tried 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden in federal court had he survived the May 2011 raid on his compound in Pakistan.
"We worked through the legal and political issues that would have been involved, and Congress and the desire to send him to Guantanamo, and to not try him," Obama told author Mark Bowden, whose book on the bin Laden raid hits stores later this month.
"I mean, we had worked through a whole bunch of those scenarios," Obama said.
"But, frankly, my belief was if we had captured him, that I would be in a pretty strong position, politically, here, to argue that displaying due process and rule of law would be our best weapon against al-Qaeda, in preventing him from appearing as a martyr," Obama said.
Bowden, the author of Black Hawk Down, is calling his new book The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden. Its publication date is Oct. 16.
Excerpts from the book are in the forthcoming edition of Vanity Fair magazine.
We'll never know what might have happened. But we do know that the administration's plan to try a top bin Laden associate, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, met intense opposition and never happened.