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Entries in Osama Bin Laden (86)

Thursday
Jan032013

Senate Intel Committee Probes Bin Laden Movie Torture Scenes

COLUMBIA PICTURES(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate Intelligence Committee has launched a new probe to determine how much the CIA may have influenced the portrayal of torture scenes shown in Zero Dark Thirty, the Hollywood dramatization of the decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden.

The probe, confirmed to ABC News by a spokesperson for the committee's chairman, will attempt to answer two questions: Did the CIA give filmmakers "inappropriate" access to secret material, and was the CIA responsible for the perceived suggestion that harsh interrogation techniques aided the hunt for America's most wanted man?

In a press release Thursday, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office said Feinstein, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D.-Mich., and former presidential candidate John McCain, R.-Ariz., –- the latter two are ex officio members of the Intelligence Committee – sent two letters to acting CIA Director Michael Morell in December asking just what the CIA might have told the filmmakers about the effectiveness of enhanced interrogation.

The first letter, dated Dec. 19, focused on the possibility that the CIA "misled" the filmmakers into showing torture as an effective tactic.

"As you know, the film depicts CIA officers repeatedly torturing detainees. The film then credits CIA detainees subjected to coercive interrogation techniques as providing critical lead information on the courier that led to the [bin Laden] compound," the letter says. "The CIA cannot be held accountable for how the Agency and its activities are portrayed in film, but we are nonetheless concerned, given the CIA's cooperation with the filmmakers and the narrative's consistency with past public misstatements by former senior CIA officials, that the filmmakers could have been misled by information they were provided by the CIA."

Two days after the letter was sent, Morell posted a statement on the CIA website explaining that the movie was "not a realistic portrayal of the facts" but said some information did come from detainees subjected to enhanced interrogation.

"...[T]he film creates the strong impression that the enhanced interrogation techniques that were part of our former detention and interrogation program were key to finding Bin Laden. That impression is false," Morell said. "As we have said before, the truth is that multiple streams of intelligence led CIA analysts to conclude that Bin Laden was hiding in Abbottabad. Some came from detainees subjected to enhanced techniques, but there were many other sources as well. And, importantly, whether enhanced interrogation techniques were the only timely and effective way to obtain information from those detainees, as the film suggests, is a matter of debate that cannot and never will be definitively resolved."

The trio of Feinstein, Levin and McCain wrote the second letter on New Year's Eve in apparent frustration with that statement and asked Morell to provide information on what exactly the CIA learned from detainees who underwent harsh interrogation – and if it was learned before, during or after the detainees' ordeals.

A CIA spokesperson told ABC News Thursday the agency had received the letters and "take[s] very seriously our responsibility to keep our oversight committees informed and value[s] our relationship with Congress."

Directed by Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow and hailed by critics since its limited release last month, Zero Dark Thirty has also become a lightning rod for the ongoing debate over the role torture may have played in the ultimately successful hunt for bin Laden. The movie features multiple scenes in which American interrogators oversee or take part in harsh techniques including simulated drowning, violent beating, and force feeding of alleged al Qaeda operatives or associates.

In his book The Finish, Black Hawk Down author Mark Bowden wrote that enhanced interrogation appeared to play a significant role in corroborating the identity of an al Qaeda courier who years later led U.S. officials to bin Laden. At least two detainees who underwent enhanced interrogation – one of them the former high-level al Qaeda operative Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded a reported 183 times – acknowledged the existence and the nom de guerre of the courier but failed to provide any more complete or accurate information about him, Bowden wrote.

In their letters, the senators said that based on the material they had been given by the CIA, no detainee reported the courier's full name or specific whereabouts and that the agency actually learned the vital information that led to bin Laden "through means unrelated to the CIA detention and interrogation program."

As to whether Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal were ever given inappropriate access to information, Boal told ABC News' Nightline in an exclusive interview in November that he never received classified documents.

"I certainly did a lot of homework, but I never asked for classified material," Boal said. "To my knowledge I never received any."

Judicial Watch, a conservative government watchdog group, is involved in ongoing litigation with the goverment over exactly what information was shared with the filmmakers. The group previously obtained documents that its president said "provide more backing to the serious charge that the Obama administration played fast and loose with national security information to help Hollywood filmmakers."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct102012

Satellite Images Appear to Show US Bin Laden Op Training Ground

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A civilian satellite captured what appear to be clear, overhead images of the North Carolina mock-up of Osama bin Laden’s compound used by SEAL Team Six to train for the top secret mission to take out the al Qaeda leader.

The images, posted on several satellite imaging websites as well on the map function for the search engine Bing, show what looks like a brand new, mostly open-air building complex in the rural town in North Carolina that is strikingly similar to the layout of Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

One satellite imaging website, TerraServer, provides DigitalGlobe images from different dates, apparently showing that the building was constructed sometime after Jan. 14, 2011, as reported at the anti-secrecy website Cryptome.org Tuesday. While one image reportedly taken from Feb. 15 shows several vehicles at the complex as well as what appears to be a construction crane, another from just two months later, April 30, shows no vehicles at all and the complex apparently abandoned.

[See Images of the Training Compound HERE]

The next day, President Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed in a daring raid by American troops.

The final available satellite image of the compound, from November 2011, shows it has been completely leveled.

The book No Easy Day, which was written by a former Navy SEAL on the mission under the pseudonym Mark Owen, revealed that the elite team repeatedly practiced overtaking bin Laden’s home at a look-a-like complex in North Carolina.

“Nestled in a remote part of the base, the practice compound was built to scale using plywood, chain-link fence, and shipping containers,” Owen writes. “The level of detail on the mock-up was impressive. The construction crews at the base had planted trees, dug a ditch around the compound, and even put in mounded dirt to simulate the potato fields that surround the compound in Pakistan … The construction crew didn’t ask why and never said no.”

The CIA, which led the intelligence side of the bin Laden mission, declined to comment and the Department of Defense did not immediately respond to requests for comment for this report.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct032012

President Obama Tells "Vanity Fair" He Was Prepared to Have Bin Laden Tried in Federal Court

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- If Osama bin Laden had surrendered to the Navy SEALs, President Obama was prepared to put the al Qaeda leader on trial in a federal court, the president told journalist Mark Bowden in a November story in Vanity Fair based on an adaptation from Bowden’s pending book The Finish.

“We worked through the legal and political issues that would have been involved, and Congress and the desire to send him to Guantánamo, and to not try him, and Article III,” the president told Bowden. “I mean, we had worked through a whole bunch of those scenarios. But, frankly, my belief was, if we had captured him, that I would be in a pretty strong position, politically, here, to argue that displaying due process and rule of law would be our best weapon against al Qaeda, in preventing him from appearing as a martyr.”

The information comes along with some new details about the planning for the raid, including that Michael Morell, the head of the C.I.A.’s bin Laden team -- who had been part of the wrong CIA analysis concluding that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction -- thought that it was a more uncertain proposition that bin Laden was in the Abbotabad compound.

“I’m telling you, the case for W.M.D. wasn’t just stronger -- it was much stronger,” Morell said.

Bowden also reveals another option for killing “The Pacer” -- the tall man who walked inside the compound, suspected to be bin Laden -- that was taken quite seriously. Suggested by Joint Chiefs Vice-Chairman General James “Hoss” Cartwright, the plan was to “wait for the tall man in the prayer cap to go for his daily walk and take a shot at him with a small missile fired from a drone. It would require great precision, but the drones had delivered that in the past.” Unlike the air option involving dropping bombs, this one would leave “no dead wives and children, no collateral damage at all,” Bowden writes. “But it was strictly a one-shot deal. If the drone missed, The Pacer and his entourage would vanish.”

Defense Secretary Bob Gates supported this plan, but was convinced he was wrong, Bowden writes, by Pentagon deputies Michael Vickers and Michele Flournoy, who’d been impressed by Admiral Bill McRaven, commander of Joint Special Operations Command, and did not share Cartwright’s faith in the drone.

Ultimately, Gates changed his mind, meaning that -- per Bowden -- every one of the president’s top advisers backed the plan for the SEAL assault except for Cartwright and National Counterterrorism Center director Michael Leiter, who favored the drone strike, and Vice President Joe Biden, who didn’t think the intelligence was hard enough to act yet.

And ultimately it doesn’t sound as though anyone went into that mission seriously thinking he would be captured and not killed.

You can read a preview of Bowden’s story HERE.

ABC News' June 2011 story on the president’s decision to give the “go” order can be read HERE.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep112012

Leon Panetta Blasts Ex-SEAL Who Wrote Bin Laden Raid Book

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta became the highest-ranking U.S. official to speak out against the former Navy SEAL who wrote a firsthand account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, saying the commando broke his promise to America and could have given away secrets that "tipped off" the enemy.

"There's no question that the American people have a right to know about this operation. That's why the President spoke to the American people when that operation happened," Panetta said Tuesday on CBS' This Morning.  "But people who are part of that operation, who commit themselves to the promise that they will not reveal sensitive operations and not publish anything without bringing it through the Pentagon so we can ensure that it doesn't reveal sensitive information -- when they fail to do that, we have got to make sure that they stand by the promise they made to this country."

"I cannot, as Secretary, send a signal to SEALs who conduct these operations [that] you can conduct those operations and then go out and write a book about it or sell your story to The New York Times.  How the hell can we run sensitive operations here that go after enemies if people are allowed to do that?" he said.

The book No Easy Day is a first-person memoir written by a former SEAL Team Six member under the pseudonym Mark Owen that includes a detailed account of the May 2011 operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan, to get bin Laden.  According to the book, Owen was the second man in the room after bin Laden was shot and put a few bullets in the terror leader himself before taking the unreleased pictures of the dead al Qaeda leader.

The book follows Owen's rise through the Navy's ranks to elite SEAL Team Six and describes the various levels of training, walks through some on-the-ground operational tactics employed by the SEAL commandos and gives a minute-by-minute account of the bin Laden raid.  Owen left the service in April, less than a year after the mission, according to military records provided to ABC News.

Beyond writing under a pseudonym, Owen said he changed the names of other people involved in the operation, including a CIA analyst, to protect their identities and took pains not to reveal sensitive information. The book's publisher, Dutton, also said the memoir was vetted by a former special operations attorney to make sure Owen wasn't betraying any classified information.

But officials from the Pentagon to the CIA to the White House said they were not provided a copy of the book to review before publication.  In late August, the Pentagon wrote a letter to Owen in which it said it was considering legal action against him for breaking non-disclosure agreements, sparking a brief back-and-forth between the Pentagon and lawyers for Owen, who said he had not violated the agreements.

While Panetta declined to say whether or not he thought Owen should be prosecuted, he said the government has to "take steps to make clear that we're not going to accept this kind of behavior."  Panetta said that leaking such information could "jeopardize other operations and the lives of others that are involved in those operations."

"I think when somebody talks about the particulars of how those operations are conducted, what that does is tell our enemies essentially how we operate and what we do to go after them.  And when you do that, you tip them off," he said.

No Easy Day was originally intended to be released Tuesday, on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, but the sale date was moved up after the book's existence leaked, causing a tidal wave of controversy and demand for the first-ever inside look at the historic raid.

Owen said he plans to give a majority of the proceeds from the book to charities that support the families of fallen SEALs, but at least one major SEAL charity, The Navy SEAL Foundation, already announced it would not be accepting donations from the book sales, citing Owen's possible legal troubles.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep102012

SEAL: Why We Shot Bin Laden on Sight

AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — As top American officials and a Navy SEAL who was on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden grapple over whether the al Qaeda leader "resisted" before he was shot, the SEAL said in a recent interview that in the heat of battle, the men on the ground weren't going to take any chances with their target.

In a firsthand account of the May 2011 raid, written under the pseudonym Mark Owen, the Navy SEAL Team Six member who was right behind the "point man," who first shot Osama bin Laden, said that before they took off for bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the commandos were told that it was not a kill-only mission.

"A lawyer from either the Department of Defense or the White House made it clear that this wasn't an assassination," Owen writes in his book, No Easy Day. "'If he is naked with his hands up, you're not going to engage him,' he told us. 'I am not going to tell you how to do your job. What we're saying is if he does not pose a threat, you will detain him.'"

But later in the book, Owen writes that bin Laden was shot the second he poked his head out of a door frame, apparently before he had a chance to resist or present a visible threat. At the time, Owen said he didn't know who his teammate's bullets had hit, if anyone.

"We were less than five steps from getting to the top [of the stairs] when I heard suppressed shots," Owen writes. "BOP. BOP. The point man had seen a man peeking out of the door on the right side of the hallway about ten feet in front of him. I couldn't tell from my position if the rounds hit the target or not. The man disappeared into the dark room."

It wasn't until other members of the team entered the room that they realized the man had been hit in the head and then, after shooting him in the chest a few more times until he stopped twitching, they realized it was bin Laden, the book says. America's most wanted man was unarmed and though there was a rifle and a handgun in a room nearby, neither had a bullet loaded in the chamber.

"He hadn't even prepared a defense. He had no intention of fighting," Owen writes.

In a recent interview with CBS News' 60 Minutes, Owen explained why the shot was taken apparently before the man presented a direct, visible threat. He said the team had already been in a short firefight in another part of the house, an AK-47 assault rifle had been found right next to one of bin Laden's sons who had just been killed and, due to a delay in getting the team inside the compound, bin Laden had already had plenty of time to arm himself or strap on a suicide vest.

"All those boxes had been checked [so] that if a guy sticks his head around the corner, he could very easily have a gun," Owen said. "You don't wait [for him to] get that AK or get that grenade thrown down the hall or that suicide vest. So in that split second, that's when [the point man] engaged."

As for why Owen and another SEAL opened fire on bin Laden as he lay on the ground, Owen said they could not see bin Laden's hands and were concerned he could still be hiding a grenade.

Owen's book has sparked controversy both for the discrepancies between his story and the "official" version as told by the White House in which bin Laden "resisted," as well as his decision to write and publish the book without first allowing government officials to vet it for classified information.

Owen and his publisher, Dutton, maintain that the book was vetted by a former special operations attorney and discloses no sensitive information, but last week the Pentagon said it disagreed and was considering legal action against Owen.

Late Friday, CNN reported Adm. William McRaven, the head of U.S. special operations, had gone back to the other Navy SEALs involved in the operation -- including the "point man" -- to check Owen's story and found that the author was not accurate in his retelling. According to CNN, Pentagon officials said that bin Laden was standing in his room and, as CNN put it, "showed no signs of surrendering" when he was shot.

A Pentagon spokesperson told ABC News the Department of Defense is not confirming or denying Owen's account, saying "his account is his own."

Owen's book, which went on sale last week, was originally intended to hit bookshelves Tuesday on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks for which bin Laden was responsible. The sale date was moved up after the book's existence leaked, causing a tidal wave of controversy and demand for the first-ever inside look at the historic raid.

Owen said he plans to give a majority of the proceeds from the book to charities that support the families of fallen SEALs, but at least one major SEAL charity, The Navy SEAL Foundation, already announced it would not be accepting donations from the book sales, citing Owen's possible legal troubles.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep042012

Co-Author: 'Bad Blood' Didn't Cause Ex-SEAL to Pen Bin Laden Book

AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A group of former special operations servicemen claims that the ex-Navy SEAL who penned his firsthand account of the raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden did so in part because he thought the Navy had mistreated him shortly before his departure from the teams -- an allegation the book's co-author denies.

The first-person account of the raid, called No Easy Day and written under the pseudonym Mark Owen, arrives on bookshelves on Tuesday -- a full week before its original intended release on the anniversary of Sept. 11.  The book's publisher, Dutton, claimed that the date was moved up both due to high demand in light of several high-profile news stories about the book and to quell controversy over whether the book revealed any classified information.  From the White House to the Pentagon and the CIA, no government officials had been given a chance to read the book for possible security breaches before its publication.

Owen was a decorated and long-serving SEAL who left the Navy in April, according to military records provided by the service.  A spokesperson for Dutton previously told ABC News that Owen left simply "because it was time."

But a new e-book written by former Navy SEAL Brandon Webb with co-authors who had been members of the special operations community in other branches claims that Owen left the Navy on bad terms after he felt he was mistreated by the service.  Webb, founder of the special operations website SOFREP.com, told ABC News that he and his co-authors spoke to several active members of the special operations community for the e-book.

"Sources... say that [Owen] was treated very poorly upon his departure..." says the e-book, called No Easy Op and released Monday on Amazon.com.  The e-book claims Owen was asked to leave his SEAL Team Six group after he "openly shared with his teammates that he was considering getting out of the Navy to pursue other interests."

"How was he repaid for his honesty and fourteen years of service?  He was ostracized from his unit with no notice and handed a plane ticket back to Virginia from a training operation," the e-book says.  After his departure, the book says there was some "bad blood' between Owen and his former team that may have helped him decide to pen the book.

Dutton declined to comment on the claims, except to point to remarks made by the book's co-author, journalist Kevin Maurer, to the New York Times.

"After spending several very intense months working with Mark Owen on this book, I know that he wrote this book solely to share a story about the incredible men and women defending America all over the world," Maurer said.  "Any suggestion otherwise is as ill-informed as it is inaccurate."

The Navy directed questions concerning the "bad blood" allegations to the Department of Defense.  There, a spokesperson said the way in which Owen left the service is "irrelevant" to them.

"The Department is not interested in characterizing his departure," Lt. Col. Todd Brasseale said.  "We remain greatly appreciative of [Owen's] efforts while he was a SEAL, but he has been and remains in breach of his non-disclosure agreement... His demeanor when he left the service is irrelevant."

Over the weekend, Pentagon officials sent a letter to Owen in which they warned they were considering legal action against him for unauthorized disclosures in the book.  An attorney for Owen, Robert Luskin, responded to the letter, saying his client had not violated any non-disclosure agreement.

Owen's book No Easy Day provides a detailed first-person account of the bin Laden raid and at times contradicts the "official" version.

Owen said he was just behind the team's "point man" who unknowingly was the first to shoot the terror leader.

"We were less than five steps from getting to the top when I heard suppressed shots.  BOP.  BOP," Owen writes.  "I couldn't tell from my position if the rounds hit the target or not.  The man disappeared into the room."

It wasn't until several SEAL Team Six members entered the room that Owen learned some of the first shots hit their mark and that bin Laden was the man bleeding and twitching on the ground with an apparent shot to the head.  Still, Owen and another SEAL pointed their laser sights at his chest and "fired several rounds."

"The bullets tore into him, slamming his body into the floor until he was motionless," Owen writes.

Unlike the White House characterization that bin Laden had "resisted" before he was killed, Owen's account describes a scene in which the terror leader never appeared to have the chance.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug302012

Pentagon Threatens Ex-SEAL over Osama bin Laden Raid Book

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Pentagon has determined the former Navy SEAL who has authored a book about his role in the Osama bin Laden raid is in "material breach" of non-disclosure agreements and warned him it is considering legal action against him as a result.

It added that it is considering legal action against all those "acting in concert" with the SEAL on his book, No Easy Day, which is scheduled to be released Tuesday.

A letter by Pentagon general counsel Jeh Johnson informed the former SEAL that he had violated non-disclosure agreements against releasing classified information.

"In the judgment of the Department of Defense, you are in material breach and violation of the non-disclosure agreements you signed," wrote Johnson. "Further public dissemination of your book will aggravate your breach and violation of your agreements."

Johnson said the department is considering pursuing "all remedies legally available to us."

The letter was addressed to the author's pseudonym, "Mark Owen," because the Pentagon will not publicly reveal the SEAL's real name.

The letter noted that, in January 2007, "Owen" signed two non-disclosure agreements with the Navy, and though he is no longer in the military, "you have a continuing obligation to 'never divulge' classified information."

Furthermore, the letter added, "this commitment remains in force even after you left the active duty Navy."

Johnson noted that in signing the agreements the SEAL "acknowledged your awareness that disclosure of classified information constitutes a violation of federal criminal law. It also meant he would submit any manuscript to the Pentagon for a security review, as well as obtain permission."

Interest in the unreleased book has led to a surge in pre-orders and the book's publisher, Dutton, has boosted the number of books to be published.

Though the former SEAL said he will donate a majority of the book's profits to charities that help the families of fallen SEALs, the letter suggested that all of the book's royalties belong to the U.S. government.

In signing his non-disclosure agreements, the former SEAL acknowledged he "assigned to the U.S. government ... 'all royalties, remunerations, and emoluments that have resulted, will result or may result from a disclosure, publication or revelation of classified information not consistent with the terms of this agreement,'" the letter added.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug282012

Navy SEAL’s Bin Laden Book Now Coming Next Week

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The book that details a former Navy SEAL’s first-person account of the mission to kill Osama bin Laden will be released ahead of schedule, the book’s publisher said Tuesday, following widespread controversy over possible national security breaches.

The book, titled No Easy Day, was set to appear on bookshelves next month on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, but will now make its public debut a week early on Sept. 4 so the book can go ahead and “speak for itself,” according to a statement from publisher Dutton, a division of the Penguin Group.

After news of the book’s existence was reported by The New York Times last week, Dutton and the book’s author, who goes by the pseudonym Mark Owen, found themselves at the center of a raging controversy over whether the book leaked information about the top-secret mission. Officials from the White House to the Department of Defense to the CIA said they were unaware of the book and had not reviewed it for possible leaks at the time of the first media reports.

A Department of Defense spokesperson said Monday the department had received a copy of the manuscript and had begun reviewing it for potential security issues.

On Tuesday the former SEAL Team Six member who wrote the book said through Dutton that he’s “proud” to have written his account for the public.

“My hope is that it gives my fellow Americans a glimpse into how much of an honor it is to serve our country,” Owen said. “It is written with respect for my fellow service members while adhering to my strict desire not to disclose confidential or sensitive information that would compromise national security in any way.”

A Dutton spokesperson said last week that the book had been vetted by a former special operations attorney for “tactical, technical, and procedural information as well as information that could be considered classified by compilation and [the attorney] found it to be without risk to national security.”

The book’s publication comes as the special operations community, especially the SEALs, have risen to the forefront of a discussion over the controversial leaking of classified information. Following the May 2011 raid that killed bin Laden, the Obama administration came under harsh criticism from Republican lawmakers for allegedly leaking too much about the mission for political gain.

Most recently, a small group of former special operations and intelligence officials -- many with Republican ties -- published an online video called “Dishonorable Disclosures” in which they say the president was trying to take credit for bin Laden’s death from the SEALs on the ground. That video was later reportedly criticized by others in the military as “unprofessional” and “shameful.”

Brandon Webb, a former Navy SEAL and writer, told ABC News last week that Owen may be compromising one of America’s most elite and secretive commando groups, even if he used a pseudonym and changed the names of the other team members.

“Operational security is at play here regardless of whether or not any classified information has been disclosed in this memoir,” he said, noting that even innocuous details could be enough to put other team members at risk. “This is not a good day for SEAL Team Six. An individual has compromised their ethos and mantra that the deed is more important than the glory.”

Webb said his own memoir, The Red Circle, was also not vetted by the Department of Defense but said it did not disclose any classified information, and that any potentially sensitive details about events described in the book, which occurred approximately 10 years ago, were changed.

Another former SEAL, who is still active in the intelligence community, said everyone needs to wait and see what’s actually in the new book before passing judgment.

“It seems pretty quick, but at the same time, I don’ t know what he says in the book,” said the ex-SEAL, who requested not to be named for his own security. “This guy dedicated a majority of his life to the service of his country and he was on a historic mission. It’s his story to tell… It really comes down to what type of information he’s disclosing.”

Dutton said Owen plans to donate a majority of the proceeds from his book to charities that help the families of fallen Navy SEALs.

A White House-sanctioned Hollywood movie about the bin Laden raid is scheduled to be released in December.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug222012

Navy SEAL Releasing Book on Osama Bin Laden Raid

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(NEW YORK) -- An ex-U.S. Navy SEAL who was on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and who was present at the time of the terror leader’s death has written a firsthand account of the operation to be published next month on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, according to a statement from the book’s publisher.

The book, titled No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden, was written by a former SEAL team leader who the publisher said was “one of the first men through the door on the third floor of the terrorist leader’s hideout.”

“While written in the first person, my experiences are universal,” the author, who writes under the pseudonym Mark Owen, says in the book. “It is time to set the record straight about one of the most important missions in U.S. military history. No Easy Day is the story of ‘the guys,’ the human toll we pay, and the sacrifices we make to do this dirty job.”

The book, first reported by The New York Times, will be published by Dutton, a division of the Penguin Group. Dutton said Owen plans to donate a majority of the proceeds to charities that help the families of fallen Navy SEALs. The names of the other SEALs on the raid have been changed in the book for their protection.

Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda and the man behind the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks that claimed nearly 3,000 American lives, was killed in early May 2011 in a raid by America’s famed SEAL Team Six. During the operation, one of two Blackhawk helicopters that brought the elite troops to their target crashed into a wall of bin Laden’s compound, but the SEALs were able to complete the mission without sustaining any American casualties.

The author of the book retired from the SEALs within months of the raid, the Times said, but will still appear in disguise for television interviews to promote the book.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug212012

Kill Bin Laden? Game Lets People Re-Live the Experience

AFP/Getty Images(NEW HOPE, Minn.) -- Osama bin Laden has been dead for more than a year, but dozens of people are shelling out big bucks to kill him again in a real-life, role-play game in Minnesota.

Sealed Mindset Firearms Studio, which teaches firearms and personal safety in New Hope, Minn., is offering a special, limited-time exercise in which people can enact a SEAL-type mission and kill a fake bin Laden.

Billed as a “Navy SEAL Adventure,” the session simulates an actual SEAL operation.  A description on the company’s website says the two-hour operation begins with a briefing in which participants will learn their target is named “Geronimo.”

Geronimo was the code name for the operation that killed bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011.

Participants in Sealed Mindset’s exercise are told they will plan with their platoon of eight people, learn to safely shoot the Navy SEAL’s “go-to weapon, a custom AR-15,” conduct a pre-mission live test fire at a shooting range and execute the mission, according to the website.

Each Geronimo SEAL adventure session costs $325 per person.  They started on July 12 and will run two or three times per week through Sept. 30.

Sealed Mindset is run by Larry Yatch, a former Navy SEAL, and his wife, Anne.  Anne Yatch on Monday said her husband was unavailable to comment.

More than 137 people had signed up for the exercise, according to a Minnesota Public Radio story four days ago.  The man who plays bin Laden told MPR that he wears rubber padding under his robe to protect him from paintball rounds.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio