'No Easy Day': six top revelations from book on the bin Laden mission

The Navy SEAL Team 6 operators hand-picked to raid Osama bin Laden’s compound in 2011 had some unwelcome surprises waiting for them as they hit the ground, according to Matt Bissonnette in his controversial book “No Easy Day.” The training that went into the mission included key help from female operators, practical jokes, and an audition of sorts for top US officials, who watched it before deciding whether the Special Operations Forces should go ahead with the raid.

6. A near crash-landing almost ended the mission before it began

As the SEAL team’s stealth helicopter hurtled toward the ground, Bissonnette recalls that a fellow special operator tried to move his legs from the open door, “but it was too crowded” inside, he writes. “There was nothing we could do but hope the helicopter didn’t roll and chop off his exposed leg.”

The helo crash-landed without injuring anyone on the team. But in the 15 minutes between the crash-landing and the special operators reaching bin Laden’s bedroom on the third floor of the compound, Bissonnette writes that he feared that bin Laden “had plenty of time to strap on a suicide vest or simply get his gun.” 

In the end, bin Laden was killed with a shot to his face as he peeked around a hallway corner. He fled to his bedroom, where he lay bleeding in a white sleeveless T-shirt, loose tan pants, and a tan tunic. Bissonnette and another special operator trained their lasers on bin Laden, who was “in his death throes,” he writes, “and fired several rounds” into his chest. “The bullets tore into him, slamming his body into the floor until he was motionless.”

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