In February, Esquire magazine published a lengthy profile of "The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden." The story did not identify the killer by his real name, referring to him only as "the Shooter."
The Shooter told Esquire he encountered al Qaeda's leader face-to-face in the top-floor bedroom of the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he'd been hiding for more than five years.
The Shooter said the al Qaeda leader was standing up and had a gun "within reach" and it was only then that the Shooter fired two shots into bin Laden's forehead, killing him. That account was in conflict with the narrative from another raid participant in a wildly successful book, "No Easy Day."
Now, another member of the secretive SEAL Team 6, which executed the bin Laden raid, tells CNN the story of the Shooter as presented in Esquire is false. According to this serving SEAL Team 6 operator, the story is "complete B-S."
Watch more: Peter Bergen examines the differing accounts on "The Lead with Jake Tapper"
SEAL Team 6 operators are now in "serious lockdown" when it comes to "talking to anybody" about the bin Laden raid and say they have been frustrated to see what they consider to be the inaccurate story in Esquire receive considerable play without a response. Phil Bronstein, who wrote the 15,000-word piece about the Shooter for Esquire, was booked on CNN, Fox and many other TV networks after his story came out.
Twenty-three SEALs and their interpreter launched the assault on the bin Laden compound just after midnight on the morning of May 2, 2011. They shot and killed bin Laden's two bodyguards, one of bin Laden's sons and the wife of one of the bodyguards, and wounded two other women.
The first three SEALs to make it to the top floor of the compound were "the point man," "the Shooter" profiled by Esquire, and Matt Bissonette, the SEAL who wrote "No Easy Day" under the pseudonym Mark Owen.
What actually happened the night of the raid, according to the SEAL Team 6 operator who I interviewed, is that the "point man" ran up the stairs to the top floor and shot bin Laden in the head when he saw what looked like bin Laden poking his head out of his bedroom door. The shot gravely wounded al Qaeda's leader.
Having taken down bin Laden, the point man proceeded to rush two women he found in the bedroom, gathering them in his arms to absorb the explosion in case they were wearing suicide vests, something that was a real concern of those who planned the raid.
'Nightmare' at home for SEAL who shot Osama bin Laden
Two more SEALs then entered bin Laden's bedroom and, seeing that the al Qaeda leader was lying mortally wounded on the floor, finished him off with shots to the chest.
This account of bin Laden's demise is considerably less heroic than the Shooter's version in Esquire, in which he says he shot bin Laden while he was standing up and only after he saw that the al Qaeda leader had a gun within reach.
The SEAL Team 6 operator who spoke to me says there is no way the Shooter could have seen a gun in bin Laden's reach because the two guns that were found in the bedroom after the shooting were only discovered after a thorough search and were sitting on a high shelf above the frame of the door that opened to the room.
The SEAL operator also points out there was a discussion before the raid in which the assault team was told "don't shoot the guy (bin Laden) in the face unless you have to" because the CIA would need to analyze good pictures of bin Laden's face for its facial recognition experts to work effectively. Yet the Shooter in the Esquire story says he shot bin Laden on purpose twice in the forehead.
A U.S. official familiar with the details of the raid said the SEAL Team 6 operator's version is in line with what happened. That account "has it right in my view," the official said.
Watch computer animation of the different accounts
The SEAL Team 6 operator also tells CNN that the Shooter was "thrown off" the Red Squadron, the core of the SEAL Team 6 group that carried out the bin Laden raid, because he was bragging about his role in the raid in bars around Virginia Beach, Virginia, where SEAL Team 6 is based. In the Esquire article, the Shooter complains he is receiving no pension, since he left the military four years before the minimum 20 years required to be eligible.
CNN spoke with Bronstein, the Esquire writer, who says he passed on CNN's written questions about the Shooter's role in the raid to his story's main character. The Shooter has not responded to those questions, and Bronstein declined to be interviewed on-the-record for this story.
more here: http://www.disclose.tv/news/Seal_Team_6_member_Bin_Laden_story_is_pure_BS/92285