In a book on the raid that killed bin Laden, author Mark Bowden quotes Obama as saying he thought he could make a strong political argument for giving bin Laden the full rights of a criminal defendant, to show U.S. justice applies even to him. In the book, purchased by The Associated Press, Bowden says Obama said he expected the terror leader to go down fighting.
"The Finish" is due out Oct. 16.
Obama's remarks are the first time the president has discussed putting the terrorist on trial.
U.S. officials have said the raiders were ordered to capture bin Laden if he surrendered, or kill if he threatened them.