Gates says he wanted missile strike on bin Laden lair, praises Obama decision

Gates said in an interview with host Charlie Rose on “CBS This Morning” Wednesday that he preferred using a missile attack to take out bin Laden's compound, which he described as “the least risky way to take him out.”

“What I think people don't realize, and what made the decision tough for the president, was we didn't have one single piece of hard data that he was actually in that compound, not one,” Gates said. “The whole thing was a circumstantial case built by analysts at the CIA.”

Gates said he was primarily concerned with backlash from Pakistan, particularly if it turned out bin Laden was not at the compound.

“If this mission had failed, it could've put the war in Iraq, in Afghanistan, at risk,” Gates said. “And that was one of my principle concerns.”

The decision to kill bin Laden turned into a campaign issue earlier this month after the Obama campaign released a video implying that presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney would not have made the same decision.

For more on Gates's comments, click here.