Sunday, October 19, 2014


There is little sympathy for the Pakistani who fingered Osama Bin Laden in return for a $US25 million bounty. He still sits rotting in a Pakistani jail with no hope of ever seeing day light, let alone his reward. 

Meanwhile the US Administration continues to slip billions in foreign aid into the voluminous pockets of recently elected President Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and their corrupt Administration. 

US Navy SEALs risked their lives intruding on Pakistan’s sovereign territory in the dead of night to take out the West’s most wanted man and within the shadow of a Pakistani military base. 

Needless to say the Navy SEALs were not entitled to overtime rates.

The streets of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan were once filled with rejoicing Muslims celebrating Osama’s 9/11 attack but there was nothing but a sullen silence and long faces once they discovered their hero, with half his face missing, had been dragged from his formerly protected hideout in Abbottabad, northern Pakistan.

Barack Obama has made no attempt to have the Pakistani “traitor” released from prison (apart from a few polite entreaties). 

He could be released to the US Embassy tomorrow if Obama threatened to withhold just one tranche of Pakistan’s foreign aid, but that won’t happen because the Pakistani “traitor”, who wouldn’t remain alive longer than an hour in his home State, could sue the US Administration for his $25 million. 

As far as Obama is concerned he’s much better off right where he is, paying Pakistan’s penalty for disclosing where Bin Laden was, and right where the Pakistani government knew he had been, living on government support with his wives and extended family for five years, while the US military continued a fruitless search.

The Navy seal who took out Bin Laden describes the raid in riveting detail:


Waiting in Jalalabad, the teams were getting feedback from Washington. Gates didn't want to do this, Hillary didn't want to do that.
The Shooter still thought, We'd train, spin up, then spin down. They'd eventually tank the op and just bomb it.

But then the word came to Vice Admiral William McRaven, head of Joint Special Operations Command. The mission was on, originally for April 30, the night of the White House Correspondents' dinner in Washington.

McRaven figured it would look bad if all sorts of officials got up and left the dinner in front of the press. So he came up with a cover story about the weather so we could launch on Sunday, May 1, instead.

There was one last briefing and an awesome speech from McRaven comparing the looming raid and its fighters to the movie Hoosiers.

Then they're gathered by a fire pit, suiting up. Just before he got on the chopper to leave for Abbottabad, the Shooter called his dad. I didn't know where he was, but I found out later he was in a Walmart parking lot. I said, "Hey, it's time to go to work," and I'm thinking, I'm calling for the last time. I thought there was a good chance of dying.

He knew something significant was up, though he didn't know what. The Shooter could hear him start to tear up. He told me later that he sat in his pickup in that parking lot for an hour and couldn't get out of the car.

The Red Team and members of the other squad hugged one another instead of the usual handshakes before they boarded their separate aircraft. The hangars had huge stadium lights pointing outward so no one from the outside could see what was going on.
I took one last piss on the bushes.

Ninety minutes in the chopper to get from Jalalabad to Abbottabad. The Shooter noted when the bird turned right, into Pakistani airspace.
I was sitting next to the commanding officer, and he's relaying everything to McRaven.

I was counting back and forth to a thousand to pass the time. It's a long flight, but we brought these collapsible camping chairs, so we're not uncomfortable. But it's getting old and you're ready to go and you don't want your legs falling asleep.

Every fifteen minutes they'd tell us we hadn't been painted [detected by Pakistani radar].

I remember banking to the south, which meant we were getting ready to hit. We had about another fifteen minutes. Instead of counting, for some reason I said to myself the George Bush 9/11 quote: "Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward, and freedom will be defended." I could just hear his voice, and that was neat. I started saying it again and again to myself. Then I started to get pumped up. I'm like: This is so on.

I was concerned for the two [MH-47 Chinook] big-boat choppers crossing the Pakistani border forty-five minutes after we did, both full of my guys from the other squadron, the backup and extraction group. 

The 47's have some awesome antiradar shit on them, too. But it's still a school bus flying into a sovereign nation. If the Pakistanis don't like it, they can send a jet in to shoot them down.

Flying in, we were all just sort of in our own world. My biggest concern was having to piss really bad and then having to get off in a fight needing to pee. We actually had these things made for us, like a combination collapsible dog bowl and diaper. I still have mine; I never used it. I used one of my water bottles instead. 

I forgot until later that when I shot bin Laden in the face, I had a bottle of piss in my pocket.

I would have pissed my pants rather than trying to fight with a full bladder.

Above the compound, the Shooter could hear only his helo pilot in the flight noise. "Dash 1 going around" meant the other chopper was circling back around. I thought they'd taken fire and were just moving. I didn't realise they crashed right then. But our pilot did. He put our five perimeter guys out, went up, and went right back down outside the compound, so we knew something was wrong. We weren't sure what the fuck it was.

We opened the doors, and I looked out.
The area looked different than where we trained because we're in Pakistan now. There are the lights, the city. There's a golf course. And we're....this is some serious Navy SEAL shit we're going to do. 

This is so badass. My foot hit the ground and I was still running [the Bush quote] in my head. I don't care if I die right now. This is so awesome. There was concern, but no fear.

I was carrying a big-ass sledgehammer to blow through a wall if we had to. There was a gate on the northeast corner and we went right to that. We put a breaching charge on it, clacked it, and the door peeled like a tin can. But it was a fake gate with a wall behind it. That was good, because we knew that someone was defending themselves. There's something good here.

We walked down the main long wall to get to the driveway to breach the door there. We were about to blow that next door on the north end when one of the guys from the bird that crashed came around the other side and opened it.

So we were moving down the driveway and I looked to the left. The compound was exactly the same. The mock-up had been dead-on. To actually be there and see the house with the three stories, the blacked-out windows, high walls, and barbed wire — and I'm actually in that security driveway with the carport, just like the satellite photos. I was like, This is really cool I'm here.

While we were in the carport, I heard gunfire from two different places nearby. In one flurry, a SEAL shot Abrar al-Kuwaiti, the brother of bin Laden's courier, and his wife, Bushra. 

One of our guys involved told me, "Jesus, these women are jumping in front of these guys. They're trying to martyr themselves. Another sign that this is a serious place. Even if bin Laden isn't here, someone important is."

We crossed to the south side of the main building. There the Shooter ran into another team member, who told him, "Hey, man, I just shot a woman." He was worried. I told him not to be. "We should be thinking about the mission, not about going to jail."


When we entered the main building, there was a hallway with rooms off to the side. Dead ahead is the door to go upstairs. There were women screaming downstairs. They saw the others get shot, so they were upset. I saw a girl, about five, crying in the corner, first room on the right as we were going in. I went, picked her up, and brought her to another woman in the room on the left so she didn't have to be just with us. She seemed too out of it to be scared. There had to be fifteen people downstairs, all sleeping together in that one room. Two dead bodies were also in there.

Normally, the SEALs have a support or communications guy who watches the women and children. But this was a pared-down mission intended strictly for an assault, without that extra help. We didn't really have anyone that could stay back.

So we're looking down the hallway at the door to the stairwell. I figured this was the only door to get upstairs, which means the people upstairs can't get down. If there had been another way up, we would have found it by then.

We were at a standstill on the ground floor, waiting for the breacher to do his work.

We'd always assumed we'd be surrounded at some point. You see the videos of him walking around and he's got all those jihadis. But they weren't prepared. They got all complacent. The guys that could shoot shot, but we were on top of them so fast.

Right then, I heard one of the guys talking about something, blah, blah, blah, the helo crashed. I asked, What helo crashed? He said it was in the yard. And I said, Bullshit! We're never getting out of here now. We have to kill this guy. I thought we'd have to steal cars and drive to Islamabad. Because the other option was to stick around and wait for the Pakistani military to show up. 

Hopefully, we don't shoot it out with them. We're going to end up in prison here, with someone negotiating for us, and that's just bad. That's when I got concerned.

I've thought about death before, when I've been pinned down for an hour getting shot at. And I wondered what it was going to feel like taking one of those in the face. How long was it going to hurt? But I didn't think about that here.

One of the snipers who'd seen the disabled helo approached just before they went into the main building. He said, "Hey, dude, they've got an awesome mock-up of our helo in their yard." I said, "No, dude. They shot one of ours down." He said, "Okay, that makes more sense than the shit I was saying."

The breacher had to blast the door twice for it to open. We started rolling up.

Team members didn't need much communication, or any orders, once they were on line. We're reading each other every second. We've gotten so good at war, we didn't need anything more.

I was about five guys back on the stairway when I saw the point man holding up. He'd seen Khalid, bin Laden's [twenty-three-year-old] son. I heard him whisper, "Khalid... come here..." in Arabic, then in Pashto. He used his name. That confused Khalid. He's probably thinking, "I just heard shitty Arabic and shitty Pashto. Who the fuck is this?" He leaned out, armed with an AK, and he got blasted by the point man. 

That call-out was one of the best combat moves I've ever seen. Khalid had on a white T-shirt and, like, white pajama pants. He was the last line of security.

I remember thinking then: I wish we could live through this night, because this is amazing. I was still expecting all kinds of funky shit like escape slides or safe rooms.

The point man moved past doors on the second floor and the four or five guys in front of me started to peel off to clear those rooms, which is always how the flow works. We're just clearing as we go, watching our backs.

They step over and past Khalid, who's dead on the stairs.

The point man, at that time, saw a guy on the third floor, peeking around a curtain in front of the hallway. Bin Laden was the only adult male left to find. The point man took a shot, maybe two, and the man upstairs disappeared back into a room. I didn't see that because I was looking back.

I don't think he hit him. He thinks he might have.

So there's the point man on the stairs, waiting for someone to move into the number-two position. Originally I was five or six man, but the train flowed off to clear the second floor. So I roll up behind him. He told me later, "I knew I had some ass," meaning somebody to back him up. I turn around and look. There's nobody else coming up.

On the third floor, there were two chicks yelling at us and the point man was yelling at them and he said to me, "Hey, we need to get moving. These bitches is getting truculent." I remember saying to myself, Truculent? Really? Love that word.

I kept looking behind us, and there was still no one else there.
By then we realized we weren't getting more guys. We had to move, because bin Laden is now going to be grabbing some weapon because he's getting shot at. 

I had my hand on the point man's shoulder and squeezed, a signal to go. 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.

There was bin Laden standing there. He had his hands on a woman's shoulders, pushing her ahead, not exactly toward me but by me, in the direction of the hallway commotion. It was his youngest wife, Amal.

The SEALs had nightscopes, but it was coal-black for bin Laden and the other residents. He can hear but he can't see.

He looked confused. And way taller than I was expecting. He had a cap on and didn't appear to be hit. I can't tell you 100 percent, but he was standing and moving. He was holding her in front of him. Maybe as a shield, I don't know.

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.

I thought in that first instant how skinny he was, how tall and how short his beard was, all at once. He was wearing one of those white hats, but he had, like, an almost shaved head. Like a crew cut. I remember all that registering. 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.

I'm just looking at him from right here [he moves his hand out from his face about ten inches]. 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 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 clack himself off [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 on to 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.

And I remember as I watched him breathe out the last part of air, I thought: Is this the best thing I've ever done, or the worst thing I've ever done? This is real and that's him. Holy shit.

Everybody wanted him dead, but nobody wanted to say, Hey, you're going to kill this guy. It was just sort of understood that's what we wanted to do.

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 American public doesn't want to know what that looks like.

Amal turned back, and she was screaming, first at bin Laden and then at me. She came at me like she wanted to fight me, or that she wanted to die instead of him. So I put her on the bed, bound with zip ties. 

Then I realized that bin Laden's youngest son, who is about two or three, was standing there on the other side of the bed. I didn't want to hurt him, because I'm not a savage. There was a lot of screaming, he was crying, just in shock. I didn't like that he was scared. He's a kid, and had nothing to do with this. I picked him up and put him next to his mother. I put some water on his face.

The point man came in and zip-tied the other two women he'd grabbed. The third-floor action and killing took maybe fifteen seconds.


Within another fifteen seconds, other team members started coming in the room. Here, the Shooter demurs about whether subsequent SEALs also fired into bin Laden's body. He's not feeding raw meat to what is an increasingly strict government focus on the etiquette of these missions. But I would have done it if I'd come in the room later. I knew I was going to shoot him if I saw him, regardless.

I even joked about that with the guys before we were there. "I don't give a shit if you kill him — if I come in the room, I'm shooting his ass. I don't care if he's deader than fried chicken."

In the compound, I thought about getting my camera, and I knew we needed to take pictures and ID him. We had a saying, "You kill him, you clean him." But I was just in a little bit of a zone. I had to actually ask one of my friends who came into the room, "Hey, what do we do now?" He said, "Now we go find the computers." And I remember saying, "Yes! I'm back! Got it!" Because I was almost stunned.

Then I just wanted to go get out of the house. We all had a DNA test kit, but I knew another team would be in there to do all that. So I went down to the second floor where the offices were, the media center. 

We started breaking apart the computer hard drives, cracking the towers. We were looking for thumb drives and disks, throwing them into our net bags.

In each computer room, there was a bed. Under the beds were these huge duffel bags, and I'm pulling them out, looking for whatever. At first I thought they were filled with vacuum-sealed rib-eye steaks. I thought, They're in this for the long haul. They've got all this food. 

Then, wait a minute. This is raw opium. These drugs are everywhere. It was pretty funny to see that. Altogether, he helped clean three rooms on the second floor.

The Shooter did not see bin Laden's body again until he and the point man helped two others carry it, already bagged, down the building's hallways and out into the courtyard by the front gate. I saw a sniper buddy of mine down there and I told him, "That's our guy. Hold on to him." Others took the corpse to the surviving Black Hawk.
With one helo down, the Shooter was relieved to hear the sound of the 47 Chinook transports arriving. His exfil (extraction) flight out was on one of the 47's, which had almost been blown out of the sky by the SEALs' own explosive charges, set to destroy the downed Black Hawk.

One backup SEAL Team 6 member on the flight asked who'd killed UBL. I said I fucking killed him. He's from New York and says, "No shit. On behalf of my family, thank you." And I thought: Wow, I've got a Navy SEAL telling me thanks?

"You probably thought you'd never hear this," someone piped through the intercom system over an hour into the return flight, "but welcome back to Afghanistan."

Back at the Jalalabad base, we pulled bin Laden out of the bag to show McRaven and the CIA. That's when McRaven had a tall SEAL lie down next to bin Laden to assess his height, along with other, slightly more scientific identity tests.

With the body laid out and under inspection, you could see more gunshot wounds to bin Laden's chest and legs.

While they were still checking the body, I brought the agency woman over. I still had all my stuff on. We looked down and I asked, "Is that your guy?" She was crying. That's when I took my magazine out of my gun and gave it to her as a souvenir. Twenty-seven bullets left in it. "I hope you have room in your backpack for this." That was the last time I saw her.

From there, the team accompanied the body to nearby Bagram Airfield. During the next few hours, the thought that hit me was, "This is awesome. This is great. We lived. This is perfect. We just did it all."

The moment truly struck at Bagram when I'm eating a breakfast sandwich, standing near bin Laden's body, looking at a big-screen TV with the president announcing the raid. I'm sitting there watching him, looking at the body, looking at the president, eating a sausage-egg-cheese-and-extra-bacon sandwich thinking, "How the fuck did I get here? This is too much."

I still didn't know if it would be good or bad. The good was having done something great for my country, for the guys, for the people of New York. It was closure. An honor to be there.

I never expected people to be screaming "U.S.A.!" with Geraldo outside the White House.

The bad part was security. He was their prophet, basically. Now we killed him and I have to worry about this forever. Al Qaeda, especially these days, is 99 percent talk. But that 1 percent of the time they do shit, it's bad. They're capable of horrific things.

We listened to the Al Qaeda phone calls where one guy is saying, "We gotta find out who ratted on bin Laden." The other guy says, "I heard he did it to himself. He was locked up in that house with three wives." Funny terrorists.

At Bagram, the point man asked, "Hey, was he hit when you went into the room? I thought I shot him in the head and his cap flew off." I said I didn't know, but he was still walking and he had his hat on. The point man was like "Okay. No big deal."

By then we had showered and were having some refreshments. We weren't comparing dicks. I've been in a lot of battles with this guy. He's a fucking amazing warrior, the most honorable, truthful dude I know. I trust him with my life.

"Where was everybody else?" the point man asked. I told him we just ran thin.

Guys went left and right on the second floor and it was just us. Everything happened really fast. Everybody did their jobs. Any team member would have done exactly what I did.

At Jalalabad, as we got off the plane there was an air crew there, guys who fix helicopters. They hugged me and knew I'd killed him. I don't know how the hell word spread that fast.

McRaven himself came over to me, very emotional. He grabbed me across the back of my neck like a proud father and gave me a hug. He knew what had happened, too.

Not long after, a senior government official had an unofficial phone call with the mentor. "Your boy was the one," the mentor says he was told. 

The Shooter was alternately shocked and pleased to know that word got back to the States before I did. "Who killed bin Laden?" was the first question, and then the name just flies.

And it was the Shooter who, when an Obama administration official asked for details during the president's private visit with the bin Laden team at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, said "We all did it."

The SEAL standing next to the Shooter would say later, "Man, I was dying to tell him it was you."


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