National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor late Tuesday would not comment on the apparent contradiction between the administration’s account and the book’s version.
Bissonnette writes that during a pre-raid briefing, an administration lawyer told them that they were not on an assassination mission. According to Bissonnette, the lawyer said if bin Laden did not pose a threat, they should detain him.
“If they didn’t feel like there was a threat, they would have captured him,” co-author Kevin Maurer told the AP on Wednesday. “But from when they first hit the ground, all the way until they got to the third deck, they had encountered armed men, which made the use of force essential,” said Maurer, a former AP reporter.
Bissonnette writes that none of the SEALs were fans of President Barack Obama and knew that his administration would take credit for ordering the raid. One of the SEALs said after the mission that they had just gotten Obama re-elected by carrying out the raid. But he says they respected him as commander in chief and for giving the operation the go-ahead.
In an interview scheduled to air Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Bissonnette said the book was “not political whatsoever” and not timed to influence the upcoming national elections. He said it was to commemorate the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and credit those whose work made the mission to get bin Laden a success.
“My worry from the beginning is, you know, it’s a political season. This book is not political whatsoever. It doesn’t bad-mouth either party, and we specifically chose Sept. 11 to keep it out of the politics. If these _ crazies on either side of the aisle want to make it political, then shame on them.”
CBS said Bissonnette was disguised and his voice altered for the interview. The network used only his pseudonym and not his name.
A former deputy judge advocate general for the Air Force defended the decision to shoot the man the SEALs saw in the hallway.
“In a confined space like that where it is clear that there are hostiles, the SEALs need to take reasonable steps to ensure their safety and accomplish the mission,” said the former JAG, ret. Maj. Gen. Charlie Dunlap, who now teaches at Duke University law school.
The Pentagon and the CIA, which commanded the mission, are examining the manuscript for possible disclosure of classified information, and could take legal action against Bissonnette.
In a statement provided to the AP, the SEAL author says he did “not disclose confidential or sensitive information that would compromise national security in any way.”
The book does include information not previously reported about specific CIA officers’ involvement in the raid.
Bissonnette’s real name was first revealed by Fox News and confirmed to the AP.
Jihadists on al-Qaida websites have posted purported photos of the author, calling for his murder.