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Navy SEAL book on bin Laden raid contradicts White House accounts (+video)

Osama bin Laden was not armed, and posed no threat when the Al Qaeda leader was fatally shot by Navy SEALs, says the first-hand account by a Navy SEAL on the raid. The book goes on sale Sept. 4.

By Kimberly DozierAssociated Press / August 29, 2012

"No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama Bin Laden," by Mark Owen with Kevin Maurer. The firsthand account of the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden contradicts previous accounts by administration officials.

AP Photo/Dutton, File

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Washington

A firsthand account of the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden contradicts previous accounts by administration officials, raising questions as to whether the terror mastermind presented a clear threat when SEALs first fired upon him.

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Bin Laden apparently was hit in the head when he looked out of his bedroom door into the top-floor hallway of his compound as SEALs rushed up a narrow stairwell in his direction, according to former Navy SEAL Mark Bissonnette, writing under the pseudonym Mark Owen in "No Easy Day." The book is to be published next week by Penguin Group (USA)'s Dutton imprint.

Bissonnette says he was directly behind a "point man" going up the stairs. "Less than five steps" from top of the stairs, he heard "suppressed" gunfire: "BOP. BOP." The point man had seen a "man peeking out of the door" on the right side of the hallway

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Bissonnette writes that bin Laden ducked back into his bedroom and the SEALs followed, only to find the terrorist crumpled on the floor in a pool of blood with a hole visible on the right side of his head and two women wailing over his body.

Bissonnette says the point man pulled the two women out of the way and shoved them into a corner and he and the other SEALs trained their guns' laser sites on bin Laden's still-twitching body, shooting him several times until he lay motionless.

In the account related by administration officials after the raid in Pakistan, the SEALs shot bin Laden only after he ducked back into the bedroom because they assumed he might be reaching for a weapon.

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor would not comment on the apparent contradiction late Tuesday.

"No Easy Day" was due out on Sept. 11, but Dutton announced the book would be available a week early on Sept. 4 because of a surge of orders due to advance publicity that drove the book to the top of the Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com best-seller lists.

The Pentagon on Wednesday said it has obtained a copy of the book and is reviewing it. The book was not cleared by U.S. defense officials in advance, raising the possibility that the author could face an investigation and possible criminal prosecution.
 
 "We have obtained a copy and are reviewing it," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told Reuters.

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