WASHINGTON – "This was absolutely not a kill-only mission. It was made very clear to us throughout our training for this that...'this is not an assassination. You will capture him alive, if feasible'," those were the orders given to SEAL Team 6, the US Navy SEAL
team behind the assassination of Osama bin Laden
according to one of the commandos who was there.
In honor of the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attack,
"Mark Owen" the man behind the book 'No Easy Day,'
about the events surrounding the assassination of Osama bin Laden on May 2011 in Pakistan, gave an interview to CBS's 60 Minutes in which he shared the secrets behind the classified mission.
The SEAL said that after they shot and injured bin Laden they continued to shoot him "a handful of times" adding: "You couldn't see his arms. Couldn't see his hands. So, he could've had a hand grenade or something underneath his chest."
The CBS report
Last week the FOX network exposed Owen's real identity - Matt Bisonet,from Alaska, but Bisonet continued to use his pen name for the interview and asked CBS to change his appearance because "the enemy has a long memory."
In the interview "Owen" said that the team had just returned from Afghanistan in April 2011 when they were told to report to North Carolina for an exercise. There they started training for the mission using a model of the house where bin Laden was staying.
"Between when we got the mission and when we left for Afghanistan we probably, you know, probably get 100 times" to rehearse for the mission.
Bisonet was the second man to go up the stairs towards the third floor in the compound where the arch-terrorist was said to be hiding out.
The SEAL stressed that the op was nothing like what you see in movies: "You know, it's not like the movies. Movies make it out to be, you know, loud and crazy and everybody's yelling.
"It's…this is what we do. We're really good at it. And so it's quiet and calm, like we've done it a million times before. We have a saying, you know, 'Don't run to your death.' So nice and slow and we head up the stairs."
No Easy Day - the tell all book
While various media outlets reported that the al-Qaeda chief was armed and had no intention of surrendering quietly, Bisonet said that bin-Laden took his final breaths when the commandos came into the room.
Bisonet was quite scornful of bin Laden: "I think in the end, he taught a lot of people to do - you know, martyr themselves and he masterminded the 9/11 attacks. But in the end, he wasn't even willing to roger up himself with a gun and put up a fight. So I think that speaks for itself."
When asked if President Obama asked which one of them had shot Osama bin Laden, 'Owen' said: "Yeah. He asked who was the one. And we told him we wouldn't tell."
He explained that "Pulling a trigger's easy. You know, a couple pounds of pressure on your trigger finger, and I've done it millions of times, and it's not that hard. You know, so it's not about who that one person was. It's about the team, or the helicopter pilots, or the intel folks that teed this whole thing up. Who cares who the one person is? Doesn't matter."
The SEAL's version of events contradicts the one given by the White House and Pentagon according to which bin Laden was first shot when the SEALs were inside his bedroom.
A model of the compund (Photo: AFP)
One of Bisonet's friends had to collect bin Laden's DNA samples "We wanted to collect DNA samples. We wanted to take photographs of him. And then we wanted duplicate copies of that.
"So obviously we're taking the body out. But if a helicopter got shot down on the way out and it had the body, we wanted the other helicopter to have DNA and photos so they'd have some sort of evidence that said, 'Hey, we do have him and here it is.'"
"I figured these were the - probably some of the most important photos I'd ever take in my life. So you know, make sure I do it right, get good angles, and all this other stuff.
"So one of my buddies had a Camelbak with some water in it. Got some, you know, spread some water on him, took a sheet off the bed, kind of wiped the blood off and then took photos."
Bisonet describes the photos as "gruesome" and says that when they got back to Afghanistan they loaded the body onto a pickup truck and brought it to a hangar where Vice Admiral McRaven, head of Joint Special Operations Command was waiting. They unzipped the bag.
Standing nearby was that CIA analyst who had spent years on bin Laden's trail. "She started crying. And it was a pretty significant event in her life, I'm sure," Bisonet noted.
It was six hours later that US President Barack Obama
announced to the world that Osama bin Laden was dead.