September 10th, 2012
11:07 AM ET

I didn't recognize bin Laden, SEAL who wrote 'No Easy Day' says

The new book "No Easy Day" by former U.S. Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette, who wrote under the name Mark Owen, gained widespread attention because of his firsthand account of how he and other members of SEAL Team Six killed Osama bin Laden.

On Sunday night, Bissonnette shared more of the intimate details of the mission in an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes."

Bissonnette wore heavy makeup and his voice was disguised as he described what he said was not just a "kill-only" mission, but a chance to capture the mastermind of the September 11 attacks alive, if possible.

FIRST ON CNN: Pentagon double checked actions of SEALs during bin Laden raid

"We weren't sent in to murder him. This was, 'Hey, kill or capture,'" he told interviewer Scott Pelley.  Bissonnette said that in the weeks leading up to the mission, the SEALs trained on a full-size model of the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where they would eventually kill bin Laden. It was rare, Bissonnette said, to get 100 chances to train on a mock-up like that for three weeks.

Bissonnette said that while it was the most important mission he would ever be a part of, much of what the team members did was routine, until the moment they could finally exhale, knowing they had killed their biggest target.

Below are some of the most interesting exchanges between Bissonnette and Pelley, according to CBS transcripts, about the preparation for the mission, the raid itself and his reaction to it all when it was finally over.

On how they cleared the house as they hunted for bin Laden after taking early fire:

Matt Bissonnette: Guys start making their way up the stairs. And it's quiet. It's pitch black in the house. No lights. All night vision. Get to the second floor. Intel had said, "Hey, we think that Khalid, his son, lives on the second floor."

Scott Pelley: This is Osama bin Laden's son?

Bissonnette: Yeah. The guy in front of me who is point man, he sees the head pop out and disappear really quick around the corner. He's like, "OK, you know, what - who is it? What do you think?" "Yeah, I don't know." He literally whispers, not amped up, not yelling, not anything. He whispers, "Hey, Khalid. Khalid." He whispers Khalid's name. Doesn't know if it's Khalid or not. Khalid literally looks back around the edge of the hall. And he shoots him. What was Khalid thinking at that time? Look around the corner. Curiosity killed the cat. I guess Khalid too.

Pelley: Somebody started shooting at you from inside the house? And the bullets were coming through the door?

Bissonnette: Yep. Immediately, my buddy who was standing up started returning fire. I could - yeah, I kind of rolled away from the door, blindly returned fire back through. You couldn't see what was on the other side. And then it went quiet. Thankfully, the SEAL that was there with me, that initially returned fire with me spoke Arabic. So he immediately started calling out to the people inside. Started hearing the metal latch on the inside of the door. Are they gonna come out with a suicide vest? Are they gonna throw a hand grenade out? Are they gonna, you know, spray their AK? Door opens up, a female holding a kid, couple kids right behind her.

Pelley: You got your finger on your trigger and you're looking at a woman with her children?

Bissonnette: Yeah, yeah. Split second. I mean, we had just received fire. My buddy's speaking Arabic. And he's asking her, you know, "Hey, where's your husband? What's going on?" She - and - and she replies back to him, "He's dead. You shot him."

On how they killed bin Laden,  but weren't sure it was him:

Pelley: Khalid is dead on this landing. The point man is stepping past Khalid. And now, you're No. 2 in the stack. You're right behind the point man?

Bissonnette: Yep. I'm kinda trying to look around him. Hear him take a couple shots. Kind of see a head - somebody disappear back into the room.

Pelley: The point man had seen someone stick his head out a door and shot him just the way he'd shot Khalid.

Bissonnette:  Yup.

Pelley: What did you do then?

Bissonnette:  Inside the room, I could see a body laying on the ground. Over him was two females, real close to the door. They looked up and saw the point man. He steps into the room, literally rushes the two women, grabs one under each arm, and pushes them back against the far wall. So if they did have a suicide vest on, and they did blow themselves up, that they wouldn't - that wouldn't affect the rest of the guys.

Pelley: But it would have killed him?

Bissonnette: Yeah.

Pelley: You stepped into the room and saw the man lying on the floor? What did you do?

Navy Seals: A battle for the conscience

Bissonnette: Myself and the next assaulter in, we both engaged him several more times and then rolled off and then continued clearing the room.

Pelley:  When you say you engaged him, what do you mean?

Bissonnette: Fired.

Pelley: You shot him?

Bissonnette: Yeah.

Pelley: He's still moving?

Bissonnette: A little bit. But you couldn't see his arms. Couldn't see his hands. So, he could've had something. Could've had a hand grenade or something underneath his chest.

Pelley: So, after Osama bin Laden is wounded, he's still moving. You shot him twice?

Bissonnette: A handful of times.

Pelley: A handful of times, and the SEAL in the stack behind you also shot Osama bin Laden. And at that point, his body was still?

Bissonnette:: Yes.

Pelley: Did you recognize him?

Bissonnette: Nope. You know, everybody thinks it was, like, you know it's him. No. To us, at that time, it could have been anybody. Maybe this was another brother. Maybe this is a bodyguard. Maybe, it doesn't matter. The point is to just continue clearing.

On how they initially confirmed they had just killed bin Laden:

Bissonnette: So he moved out to where the women and kids were, grabs one of the younger kids. Says, "Hey, who is that inside?" She says, "Osama." "Osama who?" "Osama bin Laden."

Pelley: The child?

Bissonnette: The child.

Pelley:  Identified him?

Bissonnette: Yep. Grabbed one of the females, again asked her, "Hey, who is that?" She said, "Osama bin Laden."

Pelley: Does a cheer go up among the SEALs? You start shaking hands? Patting each other on the back?

Bissonnette: Not - nothing. It's all business. We're on the clock here. So, we call up the commanding officer. He comes upstairs. Looks at the body. We give him what we have so far of - hey, here's what he looks like, take a look. He's tall. Woman and kid confirm it. He took one look. He said, "OK, I think that's him."

On what Bissonnette made of bin Laden not making a final stand:

Bissonnette: And some people would argue that, you know, why did that point man take those shots? Well, immediately, the first door we went to, my team was engaged by enemy fire through the door. So automatically, we know we're going into an enemy compound, shots being fired back at us immediately. AK found next to Khalid on the stairs. All those boxes have been checked that if a guy sticks his head around the corner, he very easily could have a gun. You don't wait to get that AK or the grenade thrown down the hall or the suicide vest. So in the split second, that's when he engaged.

Pelley: He did have a gun. But he didn't use it. And I wonder what you make of that?

Bissonnette: 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.

On how he saw the news announced to the world - and then modestly celebrated

Bissonnette: Yeah, we watched it live. It was - they had some TVs set up in the hangar that we were at. And, literally still in your camouflage uniform, our gear kind of set to the side, and we heard it was coming on. We went and gathered around and watched the address.

Pelley:  What did you think?

Bissonnette: Now the world knows that we've got him.

Pelley:  When you landed back in the United States, what did you think of all the media coverage?

Bissonnette: It was all surreal because, you know, this had all been so hush-hush leading up to it. We went and did it. And now it was the biggest news story ever. We got on a bus. They drove us back to work. I didn't even go in. They told us we had a couple days off. And I grabbed my keys, went and got in my truck and, you know, I put it in the book. But, you know, I hit Taco Bell on the way home, hit the drive-through, a couple tacos. And, you know, ate it in my car right there and then drove home.

Pelley:  You were part of the team that killed Osama bin Laden and the first thing you do when you get back to the United States is go to Taco Bell?

Bissonnette: Two tacos and a bean burrito. It's routine.

Read more about the book, the debate over it being published and the bin Laden raid:

SEAL's Osama bin Laden book sheds light on Ambien use in military

Pentagon: SEAL's book has classified info, didn't follow protocol

Former SEAL worried about new book

Excerpts from SEAL's book about Osama bin Laden killing

soundoff (634 Responses)
  1. Kbalz

    Taco Bell needs to endorse this guy, Mr. America. The commercial would be sweet – wasting a bunch of terrorist with his rifle then chowing a chalupa on their dead bodies!!!

    September 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. pccoder

    I have nothing but respect for this SEAL. He isn't afraid to speak the ugly truth. Our military serves one purpose, to murder in the name of our freedom. I don't believe it's unnucessary, but to try to keep it all hush hush, too hard for us feeble minded children to understand is absurd. Bravo, tell the story. Allow us to judge whether we can handle the harsh reality.

    September 11, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tyler

    Thats right lets drag this crap out. You know I would almost bet that people have put Bin laden behind them. It's only stories like this that keep a dead man alive and kicking.

    September 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. cafields

    He didn't Recognize Osama Bin Laden, because it Wasn't Osama Bin Laden.

    Steel Structures Don't Just Collapse, The Only Time That Steel Structures Have Ever Supposedly Collapsed Was On 9/11/2001. http://bit.ly/OnTZKU AE911Truth Dot Org
    ThePatriotArmy – Info Wars – Prison Planet – 911 Was An Inside Job

    September 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • yep

      this is true

      September 11, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tigrr

      see youtube - CIA Asset Susan Lindauer Can Now Speak 10 years after 9-11.
      Thermite nukes used, melted the steel... everyone in NYC contaminated.

      Two weeks before 9/11 Silvertein leased both builidgs, collected on the insurance (judge was bush appointee), and he now controls the site. Previously architects deemed the WTC – the buildings that should never have been built – due to massive asbestos and cost to do any renovations. So they bombed them and covered it up as an attack.

      More on Veterans Today site, by Duff.

      September 11, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Taskmaster

      I agree. I started doubting as soon as they claimed that the body had been dumped in the sea. Now they are doing everything they can to discredit the man and his book.Obama will never admit that Bin Ladin is living ,hidden somewhere supported by American tax dollars.

      September 11, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      My President got OBL and your so-called president appointed by the Supreme Court didn't! Deal with it!

      September 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      ENVY AND JEALOUSY...YOU CANT FOOL ME...ENVY AND JEALOUSY...YOU CAN'T FOOL ME. Hehe!

      September 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • cleareye1

      Time to grow up. We are still moving ahead and you got left behind.

      September 11, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • independentlyowned

      It's funny how it's always the people who have no faith in the US government are the ones who think that they're somehow capable of pulling off these elaborate conspiracies....

      September 11, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      Unfortunately, we have guys in the military who don't seem to care about keeping their commitments, NOR how
      their blabbermouths affect the health and well being of their comrades.
      This guy is obviously one of the small minority of traitors.
      Too bad the media thinks it is fine for them to join in on revealing our methods to
      our enemies.

      September 11, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • JIm

      LOL! Yeah, right, genius! Say, how's that schizophrenia wokin' out for ya?

      September 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary1972

      Move on instead of stuck in conspiracy theories.

      September 11, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bipartisan

    The fact remains that we are all only pawns in the biggest conspiracy of all time. Let the hands play their roles and pieces fall where they may.

    September 11, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tigrr

    This is what the military should be dealing with than this book...
    The Bush WH did 9-11...
    see youtube - CIA Asset Susan Lindauer Can Now Speak 10 years after 9-11.
    All of Congress and CIA knew. Did nothing. Still doing nothing, but posing for pictures in NYC today.
    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

    September 11, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • cleareye1

      There was not a single person in the Bush administration able to concoct such a scheme, and Bush himself would have screwed it up if they did.

      September 11, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • panda napkin symphony

      Cleareye your getting closer. Do you assume Bush (or Obama, or any previous or future president) doesnt work for someone else? Someone with an agenda bigger than the one congress pretends to address?

      September 11, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mike p

    The diet of a navy seal. : 2 tacos, 1 bean burrito. Epic... ūüėÄ

    September 11, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Big T

    I have nothing but respect for those who serve and have served the country. I like the fact that he has the balls to tell the story even when the truth hurts others that told a different story. It's all ways refreshing to watch the liars squirm and make threats. Bravo Zulu

    September 11, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tommy Boy

      With all due respect sir, he signed away his rights to have balls when he agreed to the confidentiality waiver. Loose lips sink ships. I was just an insignificant cook in the United States Navy but even I knew enough to keep my mouth shut about where we went and what we did when we got there. Oh, and please lose the military-speak bravo zulu. It only makes you sound silly unless it is called for in the field.

      USN (ret)

      September 11, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • BobZemko

      The guy violated his oath and deserves to be prosecuted.

      September 11, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lone

      Your four year tour as a navy cook never put you in a position to know anything important. You drank the kool-aid and got out. Whether someone believes it was OBL or not, that this book is propaganda or not, there are things that are more important than rank and file doctrine. Anyone with any experience will tell you the same.

      September 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • gordon cagnolatti

      Big T, will you admit that some of this stuff is too sensitive to discuss in public ? ? ?

      September 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tommy Boy

      Yes sir, Lone, I was just a cook. I am perplexed as to how you can determine I was in for a four year hitch. What I am stating is that I may know a bit more than peeling potatoes. I do know that Mr. Bissennette should keep his mouth shut for his safety as well as his peers. I may have been just a cook in the Navy, sir, but I may also know a bit more than you regarding what is behind that trident.

      September 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tommy Boy

    Upon reading these posts, I can tell immediately if the person writing has as much as one day of military experience. Most on here do not. Those of us that do have done more, and seen enough to make you others wet yourselves. To all of you who post from the comfort and security of your computer desk, I say put up or shut up.

    USN (retired)

    September 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • cleareye1

      It's always the silent ones that were the real warriors. Flag waving braggarts are usually limited to only that.

      September 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lone

      You can't tell anything of value in these posts. The military employs pretty much everyone to one degree or another, from the very brightest to borderline criminals. For every 'silent warrior' there are ten that had their preconceptions shattered by the mixed bag they threw in with (from the White House and down). Again, you are not going to know that when your head is down, focused on the chow line in a ship for X months out of the year.

      September 11, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fernando

      Thank you for the sacrifice you have made so that those of us who have not served may continue to exercise our freedom to express ourselves no matter how insignificant our contributions to freedom and country may have been.
      The forfeitures of your sanity and ability to reason has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated by this proud American.

      September 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rotax

    Taco Bell should be sure to give this guy a free lunch for the rest of his life.

    September 11, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Osama Bin Laden Killer Special

      Two tacos and a bean burrito. Does Taco Bell have the balls to offer it.

      September 11, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. AR

    well taco bell got the endorsement of a lifetime lmao ūüėÄ
    i was wondering how long it would be that this material would be released. amazing stuff.

    September 11, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • AR

      i'm actually curious if this is triggering memories about the person who gave them to him.... every taco bell employee working the drive-thru is now pondering if they served one of the most epic people in the world.

      September 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. James

    that is why they had to do the DNA analysis, for those who understand science

    September 11, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sberger

    Arrest this traitor. He is a disgrace to all veterans.

    September 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jholland27

    All the others that have been captured (Gadaffi, Sadam, etc) there were pictures – where are the pictures here ? All this man was responsible for and no pictures – not one to confirm it and a quick "burial at sea" to ensure no one could try to disprove it. Only the most obtuse among us would believe this fairly tale.

    September 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      republican senators were shown the pictures and all confirm the validity. not to mention DNA was done. ut I'll tell you what one day you will find a special place where the magical birth certificate of Obama will be waiting, along with Bin Laden's DNA results and pictures, and all my missing socks. but you probably wont believe it either....

      September 11, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Luk

    Of course they dident reconise BinLadden. The REAL Bin died in 2002. This whole operation was to boost Obama's failing ratings....but itself was a big FAIL.
    The TRUTH comes out.
    Thank You Mark Owen( Matt), for exposing the lies of the Administration. You are a true American HERO in my book!!

    September 11, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maddy Gascar

      Gee, if that were true, you'd think Bushy boi would have let that news out...but then, that would have messed up his chances to get us into two STUPID WARS!

      September 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
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