Osama Bin Laden was killed within 90
seconds of the US Navy Seals landing in his compound and not after a
protracted gun battle, according to the first account by the men who
carried out the raid.
The operation was so clinical that only 12
bullets were fired.
The Seals have spoken out because they were
angered at the version given by politicians, which they see as portraying
them as cold-blooded murderers on a kill mission. They were also shocked
that President Barack 0bama announced Bin Ladenís death on television the
same evening, rendering useless much of the intelligence they had
Chuck Pfarrer, a former commander of Seal Team 6, which
conducted the operation, has interviewed many of those who took part for a
book, Seal Target Geronimo, to be published in the US this
The Seals own accounts differ from the White House version,
which gave the impression that Bin Laden was killed at the end of the
operation rather than in its opening seconds. Pfarrer insists Bin Laden
would have been captured had he surrendered.
There isnít a
politician in the world who could resist trying to take credit for getting
Bin Laden but it devalued the intelligence and gave time for every other
Al-Qaeda leader to scurry to another bolthole, said Pfarrer. The men who
did this and their valorous act deserve better.
Itís a pretty
shabby way to treat these guys. The first hint of the mission came in
January last year when the teamís commanding officer was called to a
meeting at the headquarters of joint special operations command. The
meeting was held in a soundproof bunker three stories below ground with
his boss, Admiral William McRaven, and a CIA officer.
They told him
a walled compound in Pakistan had been under surveillance for a couple of
weeks. They were certain a high-value individual was inside and needed a
plan to present to the president. It had to be someone important. So is
this Bert or Ernie? he asked.
The Seals nicknames for Bin Laden and
his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri are a reference to two Muppets in Sesame
Street, one tall and thin and the other short and fat. We have a voice
print, said the CIA officer, and were 60% or 70% certain itís our guy.
McRaven added that a reconnaissance satellite had measured the targets
shadow. Over 6ft tall.
When McRaven added they would use Ghost Hawk
helicopters, the team leader had no doubt. These are the most classified,
sophisticated stealth helicopters ever developed, said Pfarrer. They
are kept in locked hangars and fly so quiet we call it whisper
Over the next couple of months a plan was hatched. A mock-up
of the compound was built at Tall Pines, an army facility in a national
forest somewhere in the eastern US.
Four reconnaissance satellites
were placed in orbit over the compound, sending back video and
communications intercepts. A tall figure seen walking up and down was
named the Pacer.
Obama gave the go-ahead and Seal Team 6, known as
the Jedi, was deployed to Afghanistan. The White House cancelled plans to
provide air cover using jet fighters, fearing this might endanger
relations with Pakistan.
Sending in the Ghost Hawks without air
cover was considered too risky so the Seals had to use older Stealth
Hawks. A Prowler electronic warfare aircraft from the carrier USS Carl
Vinson was used to jam Pakistanís radar and create decoy
Operation Neptuneís Spear was initially planned for April
30 but bad weather delayed it until May 1, a moonless night. The commandos
flew on two Stealth Hawks, codenamed Razor 1 and 2, followed by two
Chinooks five minutes behind, known as Command Bird and the gun platform.
On board, each Seal was clad in body amour and night vision goggles and
equipped with laser targets, radios and sawn-off M4 rifles. They were
expecting up to 30 people in the main house, including Bin Laden and three
of his wives, two sons, Khalid and Hamza, his courier, Abu Ahmed
al-Kuwaiti, four bodyguards and a number of children. At 56 minutes past
midnight the compound came into sight and the code Palm Beach signaled
three minutes to landing. Razor 1 hovered above the main house, a
three-story building where Bin Laden lived on the top floor. Twelve Seals
roped the 5ft-6ft down onto the roof and then jumped to a third-floor
patio, where they kicked in the windows and entered.
person the Seals encountered was a terrified woman, Bin Ladenís third
wife, Khaira, who ran into the hall. Blinded by a searing white strobe
light they shone at her, she stumbled back. A Seal grabbed her by the arm
and threw her to the floor. Bin Ladenís bedroom was along a short
hall. The door opened; he popped out and then slammed the door shut.
Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo, radioed one Seal, meaning eyes on
At the same time lights came on from the floor below and
Bin Ladenís son Khalid came running up the stairs towards the Seals. He
was shot dead.
Two Seals kicked in Bin Ladenís door. The room, they
later recalled, smelt like old clothing, like a guest bedroom in a
grandmotherís house. Inside was the Al-Qaeda leader and his youngest wife,
Amal, who was screaming as he pushed her in front of him. No, no, donít do
this! she shouted as her husband reached across the king-size bed for his
AK-47 assault rifle. The Seals reacted instantly, firing in the same
second. One round thudded into the mattress. The other, aimed at Bin
Ladenís head, grazed Amal in the calf. As his hand reached for the gun,
they each fired again: one shot hit his breastbone, the other his skull,
killing him instantly and blowing out the back of his
Meanwhile Razor 2 was heading for the guesthouse, a low,
shoebox-like building, where Bin Ladenís courier, Kuwaiti, and his brother
lived. As the helicopter neared, a door opened and two figures appeared,
one waving an AK-47. This was Kuwaiti. In the moonless night he could see
nothing and lifted his rifle, spraying bullets wildly.
He did not
see the Stealth Hawk. On board someone shouted, Bust him!, and a sniper
fired two shots. Kuwaiti was killed, as was the person behind him, who
turned out to be his wife. Also on board were a CIA agent, a
Pakistani-American who would act as interpreter, and a sniffer dog called
Karo, wearing dog body armor and goggles.
Within two minutes the
Seals from Razor 2 had cleared the guesthouse and removed the women and
They then ran to the main house and entered from the
ground floor, checking the rooms. One of Bin Ladenís bodyguards was
waiting with his AK-47. The Seals shot him twice and he toppled
Five minutes into the operation the command Chinook landed
outside the compound, disgorging the commanding officer and more men. They
blasted through the compound wall and rushed in.
The commander made
his way to the third floor, where Bin Ladenís body lay on the floor face
up. Photographs were taken, and the commander called on his satellite
phone to headquarters with the words: Geronimo Echo KIA Bin Laden enemy
killed in action.
This was the first time the White House knew he
was dead and it was probably 20 minutes into the raid, said Pfarrer. A
sample of Bin Ladenís DNA was taken and the body was bagged. They kept his
rifle. It is now mounted on the wall of their team room at their
headquarters in Virginia Beach, Virginia, alongside photographs of a dozen
colleagues killed in action in the past 20 years.
At this point
things started to go wrong. Razor 1 took off but the top secret green unit
that controls the electronics failed. The aircraft went into a spin
and crashed tail-first into the compoundÖ The Seals were alarmed, thinking
it had been shot down, and several rushed to the wreckage. The crew
climbed out, shaken but unharmed.
The commanding officer ordered
them to destroy Razor 2, to remove the green unit, and to smash the
avionics. They then laid explosive charges.
They loaded Bin Ladenís
body onto the Chinook along with the cache of intelligence in plastic bin
bags and headed toward the USS Carl Vinson. As they flew off they blew up
Razor 2. The whole operation had taken 38 minutes.
morning White House officials announced that the helicopter had crashed as
it arrived, forcing the Seals to abandon plans to enter from the roof. A
photograph of the situation room showed a shocked Hillary Clinton, the
secretary of state, with her hand to her mouth.
Why did they get it
so wrong? What they were watching was live video but it was shot from
20,000 feet by a drone circling overhead and relayed in real time to the
White House and Leon Panetta, the CIA director, in Langley.
Seals were not wearing helmet cameras, and those watching in Washington
had no idea what was happening inside the buildings.
understand our terminology, so when someone said the insertion helicopter
has crashed, they assumed it meant on entry, said Pfarrer.
infuriated the Seals, according to Pfarrer, was the description of the
raid as a kill mission. Iíve been a Seal for 30 years and I never heard
the words kill mission, he said.
Itís a Beltway [Washington
insiders] fantasy world. If it was a kill mission you donít need Seal Team
6; you need a box of grenades. Hooyah!
As Paul Harvey would say:
You now know the rest of the story!
In God we trust! If you can
read thisÖthank a teacher. If you are reading it in EnglishÖthank a
The important thing, the only important thing is the mission was a success -BL is stone cold dead ! GREAT JOB - to all who did their part in the well excecuted mission. Have not heard of it called a kill mission but good kill none the less.
I really hate to call anyone an idiot, but Ronny, you are one coming very close...the whole white house crowd
couldn't even keep the story straight...seems like it's easy to say "so what" when the real truth doesn't bolster
And we see through your blind hate. With out a doubt if the exact same mission happened and the exact same things were said but it was a Republican administration doing it you would be bragging and high fiving everybody all day long. That is a fact! You would not be whining about Bin L.'s death. The R's landed on an aircraft carrier with a huge banner declaring "Mission Accomplished" in the first year of a decade plus war. Where was your whining then? Followed by thousands of soldiers deaths and tens of thousands of soldiers disabled. We can see where you fake outrage comes from. (blind hate)
The USA is becoming a communist country. Both Democrats and Republicans are behind this "one world government".
Second amendment is for a reason. We were strong before the 1980s, now a joke. D. Burke PA
it also gives an example again of the downfall in having someone who is a politician first, commander in chief second, when it comes to the military. the potential inability to maximize the information retrived due to the need to spike the football for political reasons played out, just as it did in the prisoner exchange, that i don't have a problem with other then the white house couldn't help but try to make it a p r event. and as it turns out, a very undeserved p r event. the rose garden ceremony was just disgraceful given the circumstance. just moronic.
I think getting our soldier home was exactly the right thing to do. Pretending they shouldn't share that with the American people is silly talk. They did a good thing and their haters whine. Pretend they should keep real quiet. Now how dumb is that. Those buggers scream from mountain tops when they think they accomplish something. Remember the Republican in a fighter pilot jumpsuit having a pilot land him on the aircraft carrier. And in the background a huge banner "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED". All that over a decade before the war actually ended.And before thousands of American soldiers died and tens of thousands permanently injured. And some have the audacity to whine about the killing of Binladin and the return of our soldier.The Pres. gave the credit to our soldiers and the people who work in intelligence community. It was outstanding!
they did a good thing and should have been tastefully dealt with. who said bush handled his p r correctly glo lite. I just don't kiss the feet or rear end on the direction my political wind blows, unlike some on here, it blows in the direction of common sense. Given the circumstance, what they did was just grandstanding for hoped for political gain. if they wanted to do something for his parents, they should have flown them to meet their son in europe. Your wanting to go tit for tat on which current or past president did things to suit is silly, anyone with some sense and open mindedness can pretty easily determine both were foolish.
that was a great original post on this thread, as it is much more interesting to hear from the ones directly involved versus what gets confused and spun over time. it would be great if 0 dark 30 was made over by the seal team.