Bin Laden’s death: Did the White House alter the story?

In a book about the raid on bin Laden’s Pakistan hideout, a former Navy SEAL refutes the official White House version of how bin Laden died.

Remember the official White House version of how Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden? said Cynthia Fagen in the New York Post. It was not entirely true. So says Matt Bissonnette, a former Navy SEAL and author of No Easy Day, a firsthand account of the raid on bin Laden’s Pakistan hideout. After quickly forcing their way into the al Qaida leader’s compound, Bissonnette says, he and other members of SEAL Team Six saw bin Laden’s head poke out from a third-floor bedroom. The lead commando fired at him twice. The SEALs then entered the bedroom, and saw that bin Laden had been hit. The terrorist leader was in his death throes, convulsing on the floor, blood and brains spilling out of his skull. Bissonnette and another SEAL finished him off with several shots to the chest. Bissonnette’s book differs from the White House version in several key ways, said Marcus Baram in Americans were told that bin Laden was standing when the SEALs entered his bedroom, with one of his wives shielding him—leading SEALs to fear that he was going for a weapon. But bin Laden never posed any threat to the SEALs who blew him away. Bin Laden “hadn’t even prepared a defense,” Bissonnette writes. “He had no intention of fighting.”

Bissonnette’s book is already on the way to best-sellerdom, said Mark Thompson in, but the price for his disclosures may be steep. The Pentagon’s top lawyer last week wrote to “Mark Owen”—the pseudonym used by the author—warning that he could be prosecuted for violating the nondisclosure agreements he signed when joining and leaving the SEALs. What’s worse, said Eli Lake in, is that Bissonnette broke SEAL Team Six’s “Mafia-like code” of silence. Ex-special-operations members are required to submit their memoirs to the Pentagon before publication, so that they can be scrubbed of classified information. The author skipped that step, and so might have unwittingly released details that could endanger SEALs and their families. “Most of us are just stunned right now,” said former Army Special Forces officer Roger Carstens.

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