We were disappointed to learn that retired Navy SEAL “Mark Owen” has been identified as Matt Bissonnette, as it means he probably won’t wear an amusing disguise during TV interviews promoting his firsthand account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. However, he’s making up for it with the “tell-all” aspect of the book, contradicting the Obama administration’s account of the raid and the handling of bin Laden’s body. There’s even a bonus dig at Joe Biden.
According to the Associated Press, which has obtained a copy of No Easy Day, Bissonnette writes that while on the stairs headed to bin Laden’s room, a SEAL fired two shots at a “man peeking out of the door.” Bin Laden ducked back in the room, and inside the SEALs found him lying on the ground with a gunshot to the head. Bissonnette says they then fired at bin Laden until his body stopped twitching.
The administration said the SEALs only fired after bin Laden ducked and went back into the room, because they thought he might be grabbing a weapon. Bissonnette writes that there were two weapons stored near the doorway, but they hadn’t been touched.
While apparently there’s nothing in the book to satisfy conspiracy theorists who don’t believe that bin Laden was given a Muslim burial at sea, it seems the treatment of his body may have been less than dignified. Bisonnette says that during the helicopter ride out of the compound, one of his fellow SEALs was using bin Laden as a chair.
The White House wouldn’t comment on the differences in the two accounts, but there’s one part of the story that doesn’t need to be confirmed. At the SEALs’ congratulatory meeting with Joe Biden, the vice-president told “lame jokes” they didn’t understand like “someone’s drunken uncle at Christmas dinner.” If Biden wasn’t making corny jokes, the SEALs should have been worried that he’d been kidnapped and replaced with an imposter.