Category Archive '“SEAL Target Geronimo: The Inside Story of the Mission to Kill Osama bin Laden”'

07 Nov 2011

New Book on Osama’s Death Contradicts White House Account

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A new book, SEAL Target Geronimo: The Inside Story of the Mission to Kill Osama bin Laden, by Chuck Pfarrer based on interviews with Navy SEALS who participated in the strike that eliminated Osama bin Ladin apparently offers a number of details contradicting the White House version of events.

The Week:

The US Navy Seals who killed Osama Bin Laden – codenamed ‘Bert’ – are angry over inaccuracies in the official account of the al-Qaeda mastermind’s death, a new book featuring interviews with the men claims.

A former commander of Seal Team 6, which carried out the killing, Chuck Pfarrer, interviewed many of the men who took part for his new account, Seal Target Geronimo, reports The Sunday Times.

One of the biggest revelations is the claim that the White House blew valuable intelligence gathered during the mission by announcing Bin Laden’s death too soon, giving “time for every other Al-Qaeda leader to scurry to another bolthole” according to Pfarrer.

The Seals are also angry that the White House described the operation as a ‘kill mission’. First, says Pfarrer, Bin Laden was killed within 90 seconds of US Navy landing in his compound – though the version of events given to the press suggested his death came towards the end of the 38-minute mission.

He was killed not after a protracted gun battle – but in a clinical operation where just 12 shots were fired.

Second, the Seals were fully prepared to take him alive. “I’ve been a Seal for 30 years and I never heard the words ‘kill mission'”, Pfarrer said. “It’s a [Washington insider’s] fantasy word.

“If it was a kill mission you don’t need Seal Team 6; you need a box of hand grenades,” he added, explaining they were forced to shoot Bin Laden as he reached for his AK-47.


Daily Mail:

[T]he President was not nearly that engaged – and was actually playing golf until 20 minutes before the operation began in earnest. …

Mr Pfarrer says the President’s role was largely inflated and suggests he stayed out on the golf course for so long so he could distance himself in case it went wrong. Mr Pfarrer writes: ‘If this had completely gone south, he was in a position to disavow.’

He says the White House photographs did not show the moment that Bin Laden was killed, but the moment a helicopter went down, which happened after the shooting. …

The book also gives a dramatic new insight into what happened during the 1am raid, during which only 12 bullets were fired.

Within 90 seconds of their helicopter landing, the SEALs saw Bin Laden slam his bedroom door shut. Two SEALs burst in and saw Bin Laden and one of his four wives, Amal, who shouted: ‘It’s not him!’

Contrary to White House statements that he was unarmed, Bin Laden had a gun next to him. As he shoved his wife at the SEALs, four shots were fired.

The first round whistled past Bin Laden’s face. The second grazed his wife’s calf. Mr Pfarrer claims: ‘Two 5.56mm Predator bullets slammed into him. One struck him next to his breastbone, blowing apart his aorta. The last went through his skull.’

He also reveals that Bin Laden was known as Bert to the Seals, and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri was Ernie – a reference to the Sesame Street puppets.

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