A Navy SEAL’s firsthand account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden is raising questions about the al Qaeda leader’s death. Former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette, writing under the pen name Mark Owen, talks about the leader’s death in his new book No Easy Day.
The book is set to be published next week by Penguin Group’s Dutton imprint, and talks about hos bin Laden was actually shot in the head when he looked out of his bedroom door as SEALs rushed up a narrow stairwell in his direction, reports Yahoo! News.
Bissonnette’s account does not say who fired the fatal shots, but says that they came after a man was seen peeking out of a door on the right side of the hallway. The man reportedly ducked back into his bedroom and the SEALs followed.
Upon entering the room, however, they found the man crumpled on the floor in a pool of blood with a hole visible on the right side of his head. When they wiped the blood from his face, they confirmed that the man was Osama bin Laden.
The official account given by administration officials claimed that the SEALs only shot bin Laden after he ducked back into the bedroom, because they believed he was reaching for a weapon. Bissonnette claims, however, that the shots came before he ducked back into the room.
National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor refused to comment on the contradiction, but said in an email Wednesday that:
“As President Obama said on the night that justice was brought to Osama bin Laden, ‘We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country.'”
Mercury News notes that No Easy Day was originally set to hit stores on September 11, but Dutton announced the book’s early release on September 4, because of a surge of advanced orders from publicity that made the book top the Amazon.com and Barnes Noble.com best-seller lists.
The SEAL’s book is sure to renew questions about whether the raid’s objective was to capture or simply kill Osama bin Laden. Bissonnette writes in the new book that an administration lawyer told them they were not on an assassination mission. Instead, Bissonnette claims that the lawyer told them if bin Laden was “naked with his hands up,” then they were not supposed to engage him. If the al Qaeda leader was not posing a threat, then they should detain him.