Several news outlets have finally got their hands on a copy of the new book about the raid on Osama bin Laden's Pakistan compound, and the details emerging contradict many of the earlier reports about what happened inside the house on the night the al Qaeda leader was killed. No Easy Day is set to be released September 11, but The Huffington Post's Marcus Baram picked up a preview copy in a used bookstore, which is a common way to find pre-released books. The Associated Press bought a copy as well.
The book, written by ex-Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette (under the pseudonym Mark Owen), is a first-person account of the raid on the Abbottabad compound where bin Laden had been in hiding for years. According Bissonnette's version of events, there was no extended firefight between SEAL Team 6 members and bodyguards and bin Laden himself never got the chance to confront or even see the soldiers before they killed him. Instead, he was shot in the hallway outside of his bedroom, then "disappeared into the dark room." By the time the soldiers entered, he was already dying of wounds to the head. Bissonnette says he and another team member then shot him several more times in the chest to ensure he was dead.
The book also says that while there were two guns found in bin Laden's room, neither was loaded and he never had a chance to defend himself. Bissonnette even calls him a "pussy" for not being prepared to defend or kill himself. Even though bin Laden was killed without resisting, the SEAL were instructed beforehand that it was not an assassination mission and that bin Laden should have been brought back alive, if possible.
Bissonnette is also critical of President Obama in his story, saying that no one on the team was a fan of the president and that they believed he and other leaders would inflate their own roles in the story. Even before the raid began, the SEALs joked about how they would help Obama get re-elected and also speculated about who would play them in the Hollywood movie. Despite their personal feelings about Obama, however, the SEALs did agree that he made the right call, saying "Although we applauded the decision-making in this case, there was no doubt in anybody’s mind that he would take all the political credit for this too.”
They also complained that after a White House meeting with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden ("he reminded me of someone’s drunken uncle at Christmas dinner") the President invited them to return some other time for a beer, but that call never came.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.