Osama Bin Laden: Stories of Navy Seals’ First Hand Accounts!

The first person, first hand account is always stirring when it narrates what happened during a tense, adrenaline charged, high octane, and “high stakes” hunt. Especially so, when that hunt takes down the world’s “most dreaded terrorist”- Osama Bin Laden. An account that comes on the back of a helicopter ride -rather two helicopters, which sneak across the Af-Pak border to Abottabad flying in well guarded Pakistani air space safely and stealthily for at least half an hour before reaching the compound where OBL was supposedly hiding. No wonder then that the stirring account of the navy seal, who broke “his silence for the first time” to narrate how he shot dead Osama was picked up widely in Indian media.
The account that appeared in Esquire Magazine in a story done by Phil Bronstein, the former editor of The San Francisco Chronicle and now the executive chairman of the Centre for Investigative Reporting, kicked up a controversy in USA for a totally different reason. Navy seal, who broke his silence is identified simply as “the shooter”, and Bronstein reports: ^^“The Shooter will discover soon enough that when he leaves after sixteen years in the Navy, his body filled with scar tissue, arthritis, tendonitis, eye damage, and blown disks, here is what he gets from his employer and a grateful nationNothing. No pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family.^^. That surely rankled the establishment. ^^Ms. Megan McCloskey, who has covered veterans affairs for Stars and Stripes, tweeted earlier that Esquire’s claims were “blatant falsehoods” and that its response was “a total smear campaign” — the magazine “insinuated I simply couldn’t read all those words.“^^. How US treats its combat veterans or combat pawns is for them to sort out, but this small digression is to show how the eyes are taken of the main story, that is claimed to be the “first ever” revelation of the “first person account of the kill”.
  • The two of us went up. On the third floor, he tackled the two women in the hallway right outside the first door on the right, moving them past it just enough. He thought he was going to absorb the blast of suicide vests; he was going to kill himself so I could get the shot. It was the most heroic thing I’ve ever seen. I rolled past him into the room, just inside the doorway.
  • And way taller than I was expecting….I thought in that first instant how skinny he was, how tall and how short his beard was, all at once…. I was amazed how tall he was, taller than all of us, and it didn’t seem like he would be, because all those guys were always smaller than you think.
  • He had a cap on and didn’t appear to be hit….He was wearing one of those white hats, but he had, like, an almost shaved head. Like a crew cut.
  • For me, it was a snapshot of a target ID, definitely him. Even in our kill houses where we train, there are targets with his face on them. This was repetition and muscle memory. That’s him, boom, done.
  • In that second, I shot him, two times in the forehead. Bap! Bap! The second time as he’s going down. He crumpled onto the floor in front of his bed and I hit him again, Bap! same place. That time I used my EOTech red-dot holo sight. He was dead. Not moving. His tongue was out. I watched him take his last breaths, just a reflex breath….His forehead was gruesome. It was split open in the shape of a V. I could see his brains spilling out over his face.
The shooter tells that in their “kill houses” they trained with “dummy OBL” targets so repeatedly that when real OBL appeared it would be like seeing a “snapshot of a target ID“. So much so that killing OBL became “repetition  and muscle memory“- almost like second nature, something they won’t even have to consciously think about.  The trainers of Navy Seals would have most definitely gone to great lengths to produce as life like resemblance in the “dummy OBL” as was possible with the best available US technology. That should have meant a dummy indistinguishable from the real stuff. Why does the shooter then speak again and again of “how tall”, “way taller”, “taller than”, OBL was? In the account he further says, that OBL was confused: “He can hear but he can’t see.“. Why? Because it is “coal-black for bin Laden and the other residents“. But the shooter is well placed because he is fitted with “nightscopes”. But seeing with nightscopes is not the same thing as seeing in daylight or artificial light. Yet he could see that OBL had “an almost shaved head. Like a crew cut“. He can make out the “shaved head, like a crew cut” even though he says OBL was wearing “one of those white hats, which he describes earlier as, “He had a cap on“. Wouldn’t a navy seal be expected to know the difference between a “cap” and a “hat”? Most importantly, how the hell could he make out the shaved head or the crew cut beneath the cap or the hat? The stark oddities don’t end here.

Way back in September 2012, CBS News carried a “SEAL’s first-hand account of bin Laden killing“. CBS News identified him with a pseudonym, Mark Owen, and he appeared in video clips with his face and voice disguised.
  • Yep. I’m kinda trying to look around him. Hear him take a couple shots. Kind of see a head– somebody disappear back into the room.
  • Inside the room, I could see a body laying on the ground. Over him was two females, real close to the door. They looked up and saw the point man. He steps into the room, literally rushes the two women, grabs one under each arm, and pushes them back against the far wall. So if they did have a suicide vest on, and they did blow themselves up, that they wouldn’t– that wouldn’t affect the rest of the guys.

Both “the shooter” and “Mark Owen” are following a navy seal, who is called the “Point man”. The “Point man” of both the men is heroic because he is kind of shielding other navy seals from OBL’s women just in case they were to blow up their suicide vests. But while the “Point man” of “the shooter” “tackles OBL’s women outside the door”; “Point man” of “Mark Owen” “grabs them inside the room as they kneel over prostrate OBL”. The “story” doesn’t end here. Mark Owen continues his account from where he found him prostrate on the ground presumably hit by the first shots from the “point man”. Owen is being interviewed by Scott Pelley on CBS news.
  • Myself and the next assaulter in, we both engaged him several more times and then rolled off and then continued clearing the room.
  • Fired….He’s still moving?…A little bit. But you couldn’t see his arms. Couldn’t see his hands. So, he could’ve had something. Could’ve had a hand grenade or something underneath his chest.
  • Did you recognize OBL?…Nope. You know, everybody thinks it was, like, you know it’s him. No. To us, at that time, it could have been anybody. Maybe this was another brother. Maybe this is a bodyguard. Maybe, it doesn’t matter. The point is to just continue clearing.

“The shooter” takes the credit alone for splitting open OBL’s forehead in “V” shape, whereas “Mark Owen” with the “next assaulter” engage OBL several times. But on one account both “the shooter” and “Mark Owen” are in complete agreement. Each of them were instrumental in directly killing OBL. Period. Now, how does one reconcile the two stories? One is told by CBS news over 5 months ago and for the first time then. The other is told by Esquire Magazine just few days back and again for the first time. The first time in both the stories is about the “first hand account”. There are not too many plausible explanations.
  1. Only one of the stories is “true”. It is anybody’s pick as to which one to believe.
  2. Both the stories are true. “The shooter” killed Osama Bin Laden the way he described. And “Mark Owen” killed Osama Bin Laden the way he described. Obviously then, there were two “Osama Bin Laden”s.
  3. Or, finally, both the stories are a hoax.
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