What happened in the Bin Ladin takedown?
So, what exactly happened in the compound in Abottobad? We've got two theories competing this week.
The claims are from Chuck Pfarrer, a former SEAL team commander, in a book called SEAL Target Geronimo. He has spoken to several of the men who carried out the operation at Bin Laden's mansion hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2.
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!'
One thing that differs substantially from the story up to this date is whether the breach of the house came from the roof, or whether the SEALS fought their way up from the bottom. It always seemed to me that the top-down approach would have been the one favored by the SEALs, but clearly I wasn't there.
Another discrepancy that is easily debunked is whether the bird that crashed did so on infil or exfiltration. In Pfarrer's story it is on exfil. The White House is pushing back on the story in total:
The Pentagon is dismissing an account of the Osama bin Laden raid contained in a new book by a former Navy SEAL. The Pentagon said it could not confirm the participation of SEALs in Pfarrer’s reporting, but according to CNN, U.S. Special Operations Command has asked the troops whether they had been interviewed by the author.
All claimed they had not, CNN reported. Advance reviews of the book say it contradicts the Pentagon version of the story on numerous points, and depicts SEALs dropping onto the roof of the compound where Bin Laden lived in Pakistan, entering the Al-Qaida leader's bedroom and killing him within 90 seconds of the start of the operation. “Those facts are incorrect,” Press Secretary George Little said at the Pentagon on Monday.
Little was CIA spokesman when then-CIA Director Leon Panetta oversaw the raid. Little said he hadn’t read the book, but what he has heard reported is wrong.
“One helicopter had a hard landing, and the other helicopter landed outside the compound on the ground,” Little said. “It took more than 90 seconds to break through the walls of the compound, and it took several minutes to find and to kill bin Laden.”
Another MAJOR issue of contention is the so called "Kill Orders" that the team had on Osama, something that Pfarrer disputed:
The SEALS have decided to speak out after being enraged by the image that was being painted of them as cold-blooded murderers on a 'kill mission'.
Pfarrer said: 'I’ve been a SEAL for 30 years and I never heard the words ''kill mission''.
Over at Blackfive, Navy SEAL Froggy has spoen out on this issue several times, including back in May when he said:
Let me assure you right now that there is no such thing as a “Kill only “ mission. If that SEAL operator came through the door to find UBL with his hands up, compliant, and unarmed (including no evidence of a suicide vest) he would have taken a muzzle strike to the face, but not any rounds. He would have swallowed some teeth, been flex cuffed, and dragged roughly out to a marshalling area and then onto the helo. To start out with the story that UBL had used his wife as a shield while shooting at the assaulters and to devolve that into to a woman was wounded and UBL was unarmed and shot in the face is quite a large spectrum of “truth”. Add to that the false notion of the “Kill only” mission, and now you have the entire SEAL community being thrown under the bus as wonton killers of women and unarmed civilians.
If Pfarrer was trying to get some publicity for his book, it seems to have worked, I know I will be reading it. Either way, I expect this one to take a while to sort out. Of course, eventually someone that was on the mission will come out and tell us which mission really happened, the top-bottom breach, or the fight up the stairs. I, for one, am eager to find out which it was.