Nicholas Schmidle at The New Yorker put together a new detailed account of the Abbottabad raid on the Bin Laden compound that’s worth reading.From background, to politics, to the principal figures involved in the actual raid, this may be the most factual account to date.
- Seal Team 6 members carried silenced Sig Sauer P226 pistols, short-barreled, silenced M4s, and HK MP 7s
- Team 6 had been inside Pakistan up to 12 times before
- The code name for Bin Laden before the operation was “Crankshaft”
- U.S. officials didn’t think the Pakistanis could keep the information secret for “more than a nanosecond”
- The helicopter crashed when it “settled with power”
- President Obama never asked who shot Bin Laden
Inside details, like how the U.S. checked with the Saudis to see if they wanted Bin Laden’s body, are also particularly interesting.
“All along, the SEALs had planned to dump bin Laden’s corpse into the sea—a blunt way of ending the bin Laden myth. They had successfully pulled off a similar scheme before. During a DEVGRU helicopter raid inside Somalia in September, 2009, SEALs had killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, one of East Africa’s top Al Qaeda leaders; Nabhan’s corpse was then flown to a ship in the Indian Ocean, given proper Muslim rites, and thrown overboard.
Before taking that step for bin Laden, however, John Brennan made a call. Brennan, who had been a C.I.A. station chief in Riyadh, phoned a former counterpart in Saudi intelligence. Brennan told the man what had occurred in Abbottabad and informed him of the plan to deposit bin Laden’s remains at sea. As Brennan knew, bin Laden’s relatives were still a prominent family in the Kingdom, and Osama had once been a Saudi citizen. Did the Saudi government have any interest in taking the body? “Your plan sounds like a good one,” the Saudi replied.”
Schmidle will host an online event August 3 where he talks about his account.
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