Monday, September 10, 2012

CBS "60 Minutes" interviews Navy Seal who write book about the end of Osama bin Laden

CBS 60 Minutes aired (Sept. 9) a 43-minute interview with former Navy Seal “Mark Owen”, author of the book “No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden”, from Dutton (on order for me).  CBS titled the episode "Killing Bin Laden". 

“Mark Owen” is the pseudonym, and CBS, although it knows his real name and others do, has decided not to air his real name.  Owen was heavily made up for the interview (a four hour session), to protect his identity from possible “long memories”.  His forearms showed tattoos on the undersides.  He was somewhat stocky in build.

Owen says his team was chosen  (for “Operation Neptune Spear”) somewhat because of timing and coincidence.  They trained in March, had some leave in April and then flew over to Afghanistan in late April.
Own also says that “assassination” was not necessarily the aim of the team. They would have captured Osama bin Laden alive had that been possible.

There was a female CIA analyst on the plane who had worked for five years tailing Bin Laden.  Although Owen’s remarks about her comments on the plane (at about nine minutes into the video) are ambiguous, it sounds like she was very sure that Bin Laden, “The Pacer” in the Abbottabad (Pakistan) compound had been correctly identified and located. She is mentioned again at the end of the video.

I feel that, in another universe and with the proper clearances and background, I could have done the job of the analyst (not of the Seals).

Owen reports that all the women in the compound were hostile, and securing the building after Bin Laden was shot was dangerous.  The other details, such as the downed chopper, are already somewhat familiar.

The team had to verify the body as Bin Laden’s before the president could make his announcement.  The shooting actually happened at about 1:18 AM local time Monday May 2, 2011 (still May 1 in the US).
After the public announcement, the team was flown to a secret meeting with President Obama in the same C130 cargo plane that had been used in the failed mission in Iran in April 1980, when Jimmy Carter was president.

The last part of the broadcast did cover the Pentagon’s objections to the book’s being published without clearance.  Owen says he revealed no classified information and that his account is totally non-partisan. 

The link to the video (which can be viewed in four parts) is here.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the "60 Minutes" interview was the personal appearance of the author.

Update: Sept. 16

The media has announced the real name of the author as Matt Bissonnette, for example,. in this story by the Washington Times, to the effect that aides leaked the details before the book, here

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