There were “the Shooter” and “the Point Man.” Now a third member of SEAL Team 6 offers another account of the raid on Osama bin Laden that led to his death in 2011.
The report from CNN appears to contradict Esquire’s widely circulated story, “The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden,” by Phil Bronstein.The unnamed source from CNN calls the Esquire account “complete B-S.”
The SEAL team member in the Esquire profile, who was described simply as the Shooter, claimed that he entered the compound and found bin Laden with a gun in reach and shot him.
“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. He was dead. I watched him take his last breaths,” the Shooter told Esquire.
That account conflicts with the first-person narrative from the bestselling book “No Easy Day,” written by Matt Bissonette under the alias Mark Owen.
According to a third account from the anonymous Navy SEAL Team 6 member who talked to CNN, the Point Man rushed up the stairs and shot bin Laden in the head, gravely wounding him.
CNN adds, “Having taken down bin Laden, the point man proceeded to rush two women he found in bin Laden’s bedroom, gathering them in his arms to absorb the explosion in case they were wearing suicide vests, something that was a real concern of those who planned the raid.”
Two more SEALs then found bin Laden wounded on the floor, and shot him in the chest. CNN’s source said there was no way the Shooter could have seen a gun in reach of bin Laden — since a gun was only discovered in the the suspected terrorist leader’s room after a thorough search.
This account appears to square with the one in “No Easy Day,” which asserts the Point Man took the first shots. Bissonette writes in his book that he was one of the members to shoot bin Laden as he lay on the floor.
Bronstein, when contacted by CNN, said he had passed along the questions around the raid to his source but had not heard back.
But according to CNN’s Peter Bergen, there’s no “I” in this SEAL team: He writes that in the briefing to President Obama post-raid, the members explained, “If you took one person out of the puzzle, we wouldn’t have the competence to do the job we did; everybody’s vital. It’s not about the guy who pulled the trigger to kill bin Laden, it’s about what we all did together.”