A second Navy SEAL who reportedly fired the shots that killed Osama bin Laden is challenging an earlier version of events that said the al Qaeda leader was killed by a commando outside bin Laden’s room.
The new account of the May 2, 2011, raid by a member of the ultra-secret SEAL Team Six was disclosed Monday in a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting and Esquire magazine.
The commando, identified in the account only as “Shooter,” described in detail how he and another SEAL entered a room on the third floor of the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. There they saw a tall man believed to be bin Laden standing in the dark using his wife as a shield.
“I’m just looking at him from right here [he moves his hand out from his face about 10 inches],” the SEAL says in the magazine story.
“He’s got a gun on a shelf right there, the short AK he’s famous for. And he’s moving forward. I don’t know if she’s got a [suicide bomb] vest and she’s being pushed to martyr them both. He’s got a gun within reach. He’s a threat. I need to get a head shot so he won’t have a chance to [blow himself up].
“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.”
Shooter, however, left some room for doubt and recalled in a debriefing after the raid that another SEAL, who was in charge of security for the squad on a third-floor landing, also claimed to have shot bin Laden first.
“I don’t think he hit him. He thinks he might have,” Shooter said.
That account was first disclosed in the book “No Easy Day” by a member of the SEAL raid who used the pseudonym Mark Owen.
“We were less than five steps from getting to the top when I heard suppressed shots. BOP. BOP,” Mr. Owen wrote.
“The point man had seen a man peeking out of the door on the right side of a narrow hallway about ten feet in front of him. The man disappeared into the dark room.”
After the commandos reached the room, they found bin Laden fatally wounded, lying at the foot of his bed as two women were crying over him.
Two more shots were fired finishing him off, Mr. Owen wrote.
“We have no information to offer you to corroborate these new assertions,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. James Gregory said. “Neither the article … nor the book are official accounts.”View Entire Story
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Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
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