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. 0704American

    This guy is a disgrace and should be stripped of his U.S. citizenship and sent to live the rest of his life in Afganistan.

    September 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Michael

    All I have to say to most of you, "If you have never done it, don't preach about how you perceive it is!" We, the military members and veterans give/gave our lives for your freedoms daily without any real gain other than surviving for the next conflict. So before you bash my brethren; sign up and fulfill your own military obligation(s). Then you can complain when the mission is complete all you want!"

    September 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chemical Castration®

      Props to everyone involved in this mission, including the flyboys who got them there and the support people who kept them fed. I hear some weenie civilians complaining about secrecy, but no servicemen. He did what he did and he said as much as he could say.

      September 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Archie Bunker III

    The reason why the seals did recognize Osama was because it wasnt him.Osama was killed in tora bora several years earlier.Thats why they couldnt produce his body from this operation.No body no proof it was him.

    September 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chemical Castration®

      ".Osama was killed in tora bora several years " Sure, Grampa, and you helped Dubya shoot him. Then you caught the world's biggest fish and went to taco bell.

      September 10, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. cWhatsNew

    The ordinary morning when I got into my car, turned on the radio, and heard that Bin Laden was dead, marks the time that the world is NEVER THE SAME to me, just as the time in 2001 when someone screamed to me "turn on the TV, turn on the TV, it's the World War III. we are attacked!!!"

    September 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Peters

    They killed the boogieman. So, whooptie-dooh.

    September 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      America killed the enemy. That is what happens in war. Well done CIA, Navy SEAL's and all the other men and women who contributed to the death of the enemy.

      September 10, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beau Ties

      The world is full of boogiemen. This one just happened to be just a bit more famous.

      September 10, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CG

    You flew into a foreign country under cover of darkness illegally with guns.

    You broke into someone's home armed with guns.

    You shot people in their home.

    You killed someone unarmed you specifically were there to assassinate.

    You, and everyone connected to this operation, should be tried for murder, in a world court, or the court of that country.

    Regardless if you are ever tried, you are guilty of home invasion, trespass, assassination, and murder, as well as breaking several other laws.

    To everyone but extreme nutcase nationalists, you are ahame to Americans, and have made a mockery of the justice system and the country. If you, under orders of the government, can go into people's homes at night and assassinate anyone you want without repercussions, there is no reason any of us should respect any other laws in the country.

    When the US government assassinates without moral conscious, no accusation it levies upon others, in world politics, or in the lowest local court room, carries any moral foundation whatsoever, because the government and its court system is guilty of outright and gross moral turpitude, and does not even follow its own highest laws.

    September 10, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • tomn8r

      dude, you are what is wrong with the world. i hope one day you will figure it out – but i doubt it.

      September 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tanker

      Osama Bin Laden gave 3,000 New Yorkers, what, due process?

      You have failed your reality check.

      September 10, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheDoug

      Tomorrow is the 11th anniversary of 9/11. And I couldn't careless that you don't like it that Americans killed Osama Bin Laden. Tomorrow I'll be celebrating that a bunch of terrorists signed their own death warrant on 9/11/2001, and that the order was carried out by real men.

      September 10, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • eldridge simpson

      we're talking about a man that is responsible for the deaths of over 3000 people not someone who ran a stop sign. killing him anyway you can is a priority.

      September 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chitral Cheetah

      You come to my country and kill my people and I will come into your third world hovel whichever corner in the world it may be and take you out. When you commit that terrorist act, you are a marked man at that very instant. You have no rights and the country that harbors you has no sovereignty as far as we are concerned.

      September 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dennis

      And OBL didn't do the same D@MN thing? REALLY? OBL was responsible for the murder of thousands of HUMAN BEINGS not just Americans. So yeah this guy as well as everybody else on that SEAL team IS a hero. The President was the only world leader that had the balls to order and this and the team had the balls to carry it out. Think about it this way OBL lived as close as he did to the Pakistani "West Point" for as long as he did and they want to BS and say they had no idea? Yeah whatever.

      September 10, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • rosie

      Hey CG, put down the peace pipe, you ain't no feather anyway.

      September 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • KEL

      you should HANG from a TREE

      September 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • KEL

      CG...should HANG as far as the men that did their jobs, thank you you did one hell of a job..

      September 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • MC

      Get psychiatric help, you sad little half-wit.

      September 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

      Some people just have it coming. When he authorized 9/11 he signed up for it. He knew his day would come.

      Many thanks to Mr Bissonette and Seal team 6.

      September 10, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Dude, you need to be slapped in the face. Really, really hard.

      September 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buzz

      Got a problem with that?

      September 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      You want to talk about violation of law and civil rights?

      Go to Pakistan and stand in the middle of just about any street. Yell this out loud: "I love America and I'm a Christian! I believe in civil rights!!"

      We'll see what rights you have. You have the right to be beaten and kidnapped. You have the right to have your head cut off. You have the right to have it video taped. You have the right to die a horrible death.

      Wake up you dimwit.

      September 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      I agree with CG to an extent. Did killing OBL bring back the people who died on 9/11?

      I don't think a country should compromise its principles for a bit of revenge, however in this case I think there was almost world wide support for getting OBL.

      I will say, I wish they would have made the effort to capture him. It sounds like no effort was made to keep him alive.

      September 10, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      Most of you sound like nut cases. How about a rational response to CG that takes the principles and politics into consideration.

      If George W Bush was deemed a terrorist by a coalition of middle east goverments, and an Iraqi special forces team stormed his home in the middle of the night and executed him – what would your emotional and rational response be to that act? Imagine you had family that was killed in Iraq after we invaded.

      Telling CG that he/she should hang from a tree just tells me that you're uncivilized and incapable of looking at international issues in a nuanced way

      September 10, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      Jonathan,

      Should we have put Bin Laden in time out? I know sat down and reasoned with him?

      Asked him to turn himself in?

      September 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • SPW

      An Osama sympathizer, you see something new every day.

      September 10, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      too bad you were not in that dump of a house.

      September 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tombstone

      Troll, get stuffed. Then die.

      September 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      Wahhh waaahhh waaaaaahhh. You're next buddy. Obama will see to that personally.

      September 10, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr.george

      You mess with united states and its allies you will pay, and china you are next.

      September 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • It is what it is

      CG, the face of war has changed. The old days where there were clear battle lines, good guys on one side and bad guys on the other, going at each other for all they were worth, are pretty much over. The US military, and militaries all over the world have had to retool and rethink their strategies to deal with an enemy that is slippery, uses hit and run tactics, and thinks nothing of taking out innocents as part of their own strategy. Osama was the mastermind behind 9/11. He continued to guide al Quaeda in the years that followed, hitting embassies and gathering places as often as possible, and attempting to bring down more aircraft. Like any general, he had to be taken out. In war people die without due process. Osama killed and was killed in return. End of story. To turn this into a legal discussion about due process is rediculous. That said, you are correct in your statements about the struggle continuing. Osama might be gone, but others will take his place, al Quaeda will move to other, safer countries, and continue operations. And we will continue to hunt them. It is a conflict that has been going on in one form or another for almost 2000 years and there is no end in sight.

      September 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • IWANTTOKNOW

      OSAMA COMITTED A WAR CRIME!!!!!! he does not fall under normal judicial standards! Get it an act of war!! and to the country who was harboring him , they were contacted and told if we find him in your country we will act on it, much before the raid ever took place. so get your facts straight or your head straight

      September 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      I agree. If anything we America have reached an all time low. We are no different from the terrorist that tried to stop our foreign invasion.

      September 10, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • GetOffYourHighHorse

      CG – If only you were on one of the highjacked planes, we wouldn't have to put up with your idiotic rant.

      September 10, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr.george Smells

      Mr.george, what does China have to do with this and why are they next?

      September 10, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • CG Smells

      CG lets turn your argument around here.

      Terrorists flew into our country in broad day light, crashed into our buildings, killed people at their place of work while they were unarmed. The people respons

      Regardless if they are ever tried, the people responsible are guilty of hijacking, trespassing, assassination, and murder, as well as breaking several other laws.

      To everyone but extreme nutcase morons, terrorists are a shame to whatever country they comfrom, and have made a mockery of the justice system and the world. If you, under orders of the government, can go into planes during daylight and crash them into buildings and murder them without repercussions, there is no reason any of us should respect any other laws in the country.

      When the terrorist organization assassinates without moral conscious, no accusation it levies upon others, in world politics, or in the lowest local court room, carries any moral foundation whatsoever, because the terrorist organization and its court system are guilty of outright and gross moral turpitude, and does not even follow its own highest laws.

      September 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • sfeadmin

      I concur!

      September 10, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      This guy is just another Muslim or Muslim sympathizer. Muslims are the biggest threat this country has seen since the cold war except its much worse. They are using religion to take our nation from us. How clever. Why didn't H itler think of that!?

      September 10, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. rosie

    Oh I can't wait to read this and see what happens in the end!!!

    What? Oh now you ruined the ending. Darn it.

    September 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. gee

    Better if this guy was never born.

    September 10, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dave

    I'm torn on this. On the one hand I feel like, more power to him. No way his pay reflects what he really does so he should make some money off of this. On the other hand it just feels icky and I don't think any SF guys should be talking about any of their missions let alone writing books about them. I wonder how the other SEALs that were with him feel about him.

    September 10, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      What did he say that wasn't already reported by the Government he is fight for?

      September 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • CG Smells

      I would prefer a firsthand account go into the history books

      September 10, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. "psst,... Hey, Khalid, it's DAVE"

    I got the stuff...

    September 10, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • GetOffYourHighHorse

      Dave's not here man.

      September 10, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • surfdog

      funny, one of my favorite Cheech and Chong skits ever

      September 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Theadversary

    I'm reading the book now. It is a great read and I highl recommend it.

    September 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • CG Smells

      Yeah I saw his TV interview..... He seems to have a way with words.......

      September 10, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. wurman

    USMC 1960-63 & civilian contractor Operation Enduring Freedom 2005 & 2006 says, "The 3 most under-rated things in the world are a clear, clean glass of water, a solid night's sleep, and a good healthy dump in the krapper." It is so simple to really feel fully alive back in the World where normal is actually "normal." If that taco rings your bell, have one on me.

    September 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MASTANKHAN

    so the truth comes out-conveniently there is a black out in the area-they are there for 40 minutes about a mile from a military colleger--THE GARRISON CITY-there is gun fire and massive fire from helicopter down. Yet no fie department shows up-no police shows up-and strangeley--no millitary troops show up from the so called nearby garrison a mile away.

    The blackhawk is a stealth version so it is silent and not showing on the radar-but then the CH47 comes in-a big and loud helicopter and still the pakistanis did not do any thing-nothing showed up on the radar-nobody from the military said this does not sound like a pakistani helicopter-this sounds like an american helicopeter-.

    All lies from President Obama about pakistan not supporting this action-total lies-. Osama was traced because pakistanis informed the americans-pakistanis gave safe passage to american choppers-the pakisani Air Marshall is on recoprd stating that we shut down the radars at night towards the afghanistan borders because there is no threat coming from that side.

    If it was not for the pakistani-Osama would still be hiding after the americans let him escape from afghanistan in the first place and also let him get away a few other times.

    Obama sand bagged pakistan and failed-.

    September 10, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • GetOffYourHighHorse

      tell that to doctor Shakil Afridi. The reason the pakistani troops didn't arrive is because they were all asleep, feeling safe that they have hidden OBL for 10 years.

      September 10, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. VaBeach to JaxFL

    So where is the 22 minute video from “Ben Smith” and the “former special forces officers” blasting this Ex-Navy Seal for the same reasons they came out against the President? Yeah, that is exactly what I thought they have nothing to say now. They were nothing more than a part of the GOP looking to defame our Great President. If I’m wrong then another video should be on the blasting this book but don’t hold your breath…

    September 10, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. S.O.P.

    What about the "Staff of Power" ?!? If you've actually read the book you'll find this post hysterical! haha

    September 10, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      I think "Mark Owen" stuck it up the governments rear end.

      September 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • S.O.P.

      HA! Absolutely!!

      September 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
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