The Bush administration would have used the same strategy to kill terrorist Osama bin Laden had those circumstances arisen years ago, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told the Associated Press in an interview yesterday.

Rumsfeld said President Obama made the right decision in sending Navy SEALs to raid the al Qaeda leader's compound in Pakistan earlier this month. But he declined to say how much credit the Obama administration deserves.

"The capabilities to do it were developed over time by previous administrations, and they benefit the country, and the intelligence had been gathered over a long period of time," Rumsfeld said. "And it came to fruition in the Obama administration, to the credit of the intelligence community . . . I don't have a doubt in my mind but that President Bush, if he had information as to the location of bin Laden, would have done exactly the same thing, and I thought the forces executed it brilliantly."

Meanwhile, Obama visited CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., to congratulate the country's intelligence workers for the years of effort that led to the discovery and killing of bin Laden. He previously met the helicopter pilots and Navy SEAL team involved in the raid.