The author writes that the man ducked back into his bedroom and the SEALs followed, only to find him crumpled on the floor in a pool of blood with a hole visible on the right side of his head and two women wailing over his body. Once they wiped the blood off his face, they were convinced it was bin Laden.
Bissonnette says the point man pulled the two women out of the way and shoved them into a corner. He and the other SEALs trained their guns’ laser sights on bin Laden’s still-twitching body, shooting him several times until he lay motionless.
The SEALs later found two weapons stored by the doorway, untouched, the author said.
National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor late Tuesday would not comment on the apparent contradiction between the administration’s account and the book’s version.
Bissonnette writes that during a pre-raid briefing, an administration lawyer told them that they were not on an assassination mission. According to Bissonnette, the lawyer said if bin Laden did not pose a threat, they should detain him.
“If they didn’t feel like there was a threat, they would have captured him,” co-author Kevin Maurer told the AP on Wednesday. “But from when they first hit the ground, all the way until they got to the third deck, they had encountered armed men, which made the use of force essential,” said Maurer, a former AP reporter.
A former deputy judge advocate general for the Air Force defended the decision to shoot the man the SEALs saw in the hallway.
“In a confined space like that where it is clear that there are hostiles, the SEALs need to take reasonable steps to ensure their safety and accomplish the mission,” said the former JAG, ret. Maj. Gen. Charlie Dunlap, who now teaches at Duke University law school.