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. Jefftexas

    I love that he wrote a book that tells about this whole thing. Obama has been letting out too much info and most of it false info, now we get the real story.

    September 10, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      And you know it's false how?

      September 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jefftexas

    fingers tapping, perhaps you failed to read articles when the book was going to be released, all profits from the sale of the book are going to families of men who lost thier lives in Afgahnastan

    September 10, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • mm

      BULL!

      September 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      That is what the author said as you stated. I throughly enjoyed the 60 minutes interview. He was believable, told his observation as a participant in a believable manner and betrayed no one. Good for him and I hope the other news sources who leaked his name are hunted down and dealt with. This seal is no Pvt Manning. He made me feel as though I was on the mission with him. The mission is over, Bin Laden killed nothing top secret about that. Good on him.

      September 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • cutedog2

      According to Huff. Post. some profits were going to be donated (an undisclosed percentage and the SEAL Foundation said "No Thanks" to his contribution to their organization.

      September 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      You're from Texas. We know better than to believe you. How was that again, "fool me once....."

      September 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ROMNEY2012

    Obama luckily was able to get Bin Laden but not after Bush set the table and found him. Democrats hide the fact that they wanted Osama to forever be a boogeyman to make the republican's look bad. Too bad you can't outsmart the SEALS. They will expose Obama for all the lies he spews. You can't blame Bush when you take credit for his good works.

    September 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      If you are trying to give Bush some credit you are an idiot. The information used to find and kill Osama was collected after Obama took office.

      September 10, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      not only that but it wasn't collected by the Seals, so why are you even talking about outsmarting Seals? The Seals should leave the political speech alone. It just makes them look ignorant. Much like your post above.

      September 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • How do Joe and Jonathan

      breath with their noses that far in Obama's rear?

      September 10, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • demrules

      Bush was the one who kept going after weapons of mass destruction instead of Bin Laden. Bush is no hero! That's why he's been under radar since he left office. He screwed this country just as Romney is trying to do. As for this guy who wrote this book- there was a time in our U.S. history when guys like him were imprisoned for treason and hanged. These guys a renegades and are not fit to be called American Soldiers. By the way...your comment reveals nothing more than an inept character and lake of American patriotism!

      September 10, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • no

      hahaha... if you think invading the wrong country (Iraq), diverting valuable manpower and resources away from the real war on terror is "setting the table", then yes... Bush deserves all the credit

      hahahahahahahaha

      The only war Republicans ever won was Desert Storm... basically a turkey shoot in the Arabian desert.

      The Dems are to the Repubs like what the US is to Europe... saving their sorry butts whenever there's a problem.

      September 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred in Jersey

      Oh boy. You can't be this dumb. Please say you're joking.

      September 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • gregory21

      I think romney had you sent to iran and brain washed.

      September 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • shawn

      wow...that is just a sad sad comment. Go drink some more GOP BS Juice.

      September 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Politics aside, the CIA has been working on Bin Laden's courier for longer than Obama has been president so no the info collected wasn't after Obama became president. Yes, some of it was but it is dishonest to say Obama or Bush was responsible for this. That is a fact.

      September 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      I wonder will you stand at the shore with Romney waving byebye to everything American. You are a fine example of why the GOP barred the Palins, Limbaughs and Tea Party Types from the RNC. I have not decided which candidate yet but the RNC left me thinking "wolves in sheeps clothing" as did the DNC make me wonder "more of the same"

      September 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • susan

      SERIOUSLY ROMNEY2012? AND YOU SAID THIS WITH A STRAIGHT FACE?

      September 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Where were you on the night Americans sang patriotic songs, waved Ole Glory and chanted Obama got Osama...Obama got Osama... Obama got Osama? Hehe!

      Obama/Biden 2012! Hehe!

      September 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. weezer

    Hey Soldier, whatareya gonna do after wasting Osama bin Laden? "I'm going to Taco Bell"

    Priceless. Taco Bell should use this in their next ad campaign. Hafta clear it with Disney first, though.

    September 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Navy Cop

      I gotta tell ya... I sypmathize. The most dangerous taco-bell run you'd ever make in your life was the one we made through Kirkuk to get to the base there. It was the only base nearby that had a taco-bell trailer (among others) and it was the closest taste to home and normalcy that we could get. (Our 'base' was an hour away and isolated) Guys would come back from the convoy with gear bags of lukewarm burrito supremes for the people at the base that couldn't go on the convoy. Believe me... I sympathize!

      September 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. obama is Out Of Touch with reality

    you didnt build that, it was obama who built it, just ask him, obama the godless leader of the godless party is greatest, haha and if you believe that then you are mindless and godless also.

    September 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Do you

      French kiss your mom with that mouth Jthan?

      September 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred in Jersey

      Wow! Ignorance is bliss. Does separation of church and state mean anything to you?

      September 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Correction: Do You – It is Freedom Kissing. They don;t know what French kissing is. How sad when the closest thing to a soldier thing of the USA is pseudo Mexican food.

      September 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Navy Cop

    While I think it's pretty risky and borderline irresponsible for him to go public and write his story, I find it even more so, if not reprehensible, that CNN would further put his life at risk by publishing his name. There's a reason he wrote under a psuedonym, and a reason he was disguised during his interview. CNN just completely undid all of that. As Mr. Bowen said in his interview, "The enemy has a long memory."

    September 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Viktor

      CNN was among the last to report his name. It had already been released by FOX and a few other online news cites. They reported only AFTER it was common knowledge. So .... either you are intentionally or neglegently miss representing the facts. Either way, your statement is false.

      September 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • KnowFacts

      CNN isn't the one who originally made his name public, Fox News is. And I guarantee you the enemy knew of his name as soon as, if not before, Fox News ran it.

      September 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • MoreCowbell

      Fox News revealed his name first.

      September 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • funny

      Navycop.

      Served the Navy for almost 30 years. What exactly is a Navy cop. Civillian NCIS? (I know a few, they're not what you see on TV). A career long MA? Still not impressed. Some Boatswains mate who spent his career TAD?

      In other words a Navy Cop isn't actually a real law enforcement professional. Keep polishing that bright work though.

      September 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. PiratesAhoyMatie

    I would have preferred if Osama had been given a fair, public trial. I would have liked to hear what he had to say in his defense.

    September 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Navy Cop

      Just read any one of his communique's about how killing every American is the job of every devout muslim... you get a feel for what his "defense" would have been in court. Glad he's rotting.

      September 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      I would have liked to hear the whole story. I'm sure it would differ from the one we've heard

      September 10, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Navy Cop

      Jonathan – Because EVERYONE in jail admitted to being guilty right? Trust me, I've been face to face and had conversations with detainees who've sworn to kill more Americans the moment they are released. We've even picked up repeat offenders that 'huggers' like you have made us release. They were not treated inhumanely. If anything, we often were taken FROM so that THEY could have. Trust me, we ran out of gatorade before THEY did. We lost our A/C before THEY did.

      September 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • doubledees

      OBL would have lied thru his teeth.

      September 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • cutedog2

      He did get a fair trial. He claimed responsibility for 9?11 and received the death penalty.

      September 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Neo

    This is pure propaganda. Bin Laden has been dead since 2001.

    September 10, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • ghostclown

      Agreed.

      September 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • mm

      What color is the sky in your world?!

      September 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Viktor

    It is the right of the victor to tell history how it happened. There are always two sides to every story. What we know for certain is that he was an enemy and he is no longer. What happens moving forward is yet to be determined.

    September 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      which 2 sides of the story have we heard? All the stories we've heard are from the same side. Have you talked to Bin Laden's family? I don't think any of us know the other side of the story

      September 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Viktor

      Thats the point of my statement. So .. I don't understand what you are saying. I am saying that we can't hear Hitler's side of WWII nor can we hear Bin Laden's. The point is that who ever is the victor decides how history remembers an issue. So .. yes, your stated the obvious and basically repeated what I said. Congrats, next time copy and paste it saves you energy and time.

      September 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      Sorry, one of the guys above was saying that the SEAL had to tell his story because Obama's version was a bunch of lie. I thought you were posting in that vein.

      September 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. THX1953

    I think that anyone that continually uses this former SEALs real name is a Classless Act.

    That is as far as I had to read before dismissing this POS article.

    September 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      He started the string of classless acts by writing this book. There was no higher cause here or some great truth or injustice that needed to be exposed. The motive was money, and because of that he is fair game.

      September 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • gregory21

      He brought it on himself. Don't feel sorry for him.

      September 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Writing this book was not a classless act. Nothing he said in it wasn't already known. He just clarified some of the details according to his point of view. His motive was money? Based on what? The fact that has been reported multiple times that he isn't receiving a dime of the profits. That it is all going to charity and legal fees. So glad you know someone elses motivation without ever talking to or meeting them. So easy to throw around baseless allegations to make yourself feel better.

      September 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      Actually it was reported that he planned on donating a majority of the profits to a charity, but the Navy Seal foundation said they didn't want it. Show me where it was reported that he was going to donate every bit of money made from the book, and I will rescind my comment.

      September 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mm

    Thbis guy has no honor. Just another self-serving brat.

    September 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. barfly

    humans making money from war stories, that's so new ?!?!

    knuckle scraping upright primates complaining abou itt, now that's original

    September 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sam

    definately a nice fairy tale...

    September 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. doubledees

    Some say hes been dead for years. Others say hes alive and well and still in hiding. But theres no proof he was killed that day, just heresay. A dignified buriel at sea? Come on – the victims in the airplanes & towers werent given a dignified buriel......his body should have been brought back to USA and pictures taken, if anything just to prove his demise.

    September 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chris

    "Obama luckily was able to get Bin Laden but not after Bush set the table and found him."

    Obama luckily was able to stop the economy from tanking into the abyss after Bush set the table and left him with a train wreck.

    See the blame-game goes both ways.

    September 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
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