Bin Laden shooter dispute
The Shooter told Esquire that the night bin Laden was killed he had encountered al Qaeda’s leader face-to-face in the top-floor bedroom of the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where bin Laden had been hiding for more than five years.
The Shooter explained that when he found bin Laden in his bedroom the al Qaeda leader was standing up and had a gun “within reach” and it was only then that the Shooter fired the two shots into bin Laden’s forehead that killed him. That account was in conflict with the account from another raid participant in a wildly successful book “No Easy Day.”
Now, another member of the secretive SEAL Team 6, which executed the bin Laden raid, tells CNN the story of the Shooter as presented in Esquire is false. According to this serving SEAL Team 6 operator, the story is “complete B-S.”
SEAL Team 6 operators are now in “serious lockdown” when it comes to “talking to anybody” about the bin Laden raid and say they have been frustrated to see what they consider to be the inaccurate story in Esquire receive considerable play without a response. Phil Bronstein, who wrote the 15,000-word piece about the Shooter for Esquire, was booked on CNN, Fox and many other TV networks after his story came out.
Twenty-three SEALs and their interpreter assaulted the bin Laden compound just after midnight on the morning of May 2, 2011. They shot and killed bin Laden’s two bodyguards, one of bin Laden’s sons and the wife of one of the bodyguards and they also wounded two other women.
The first three SEALs to make it to the top floor of bin Laden’s compound where he was believed to be living were “the point man,” “the Shooter” profiled by Esquire, and Matt Bissonette, the SEAL who wrote “No Easy Day” under the pseudonym Mark Owen.
What actually happened the night of the raid, according to the SEAL Team 6 operator who I interviewed, is that the “point man” ran up the stairs to the top floor and shot bin Laden in the head when he saw what looked like bin Laden poking his head out his bedroom door. The shot gravely wounded al Qaeda’s leader.
Having taken down bin Laden, the point man proceeded to rush two women he found in bin Laden’s bedroom, gathering them in his arms to absorb the explosion in case they were wearing suicide vests, something that was a real concern of those who planned the raid.
Two more SEALs then entered bin Laden’s bedroom and, seeing that al Qaeda’s leader was lying mortally wounded on the floor, finished him off with shots to the chest.
This account of bin Laden’s demise is considerably less heroic than how the Shooter is presented in Esquire, in which he says he shot bin Laden while he was standing up and only after he saw that al Qaeda’s leader had a gun within reach.
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