In an extended interview that aired Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” a former Navy SEAL described in detail the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, and offered a first-hand account of his experience inside the compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan where the Al Qaeda leader was found.
Matt Bissonnette, who has co-authored a book about the raid, wore appearance-changing make-up and had his voice altered for the interview, and CBS identified him only as Mark Owen, the pseudonym he co-wrote the book under. His real name was leaked to the press after word of the book became public.
Bissonnette described to interviewer Scott Pelley how he was right behind the “point man” who was the first to shoot bin Laden:
Scott Pelley: You stepped into the room and saw the man lying on the floor? What did you do?
Mark Owen: Myself and the next assaulter in, we both engaged him several more times and then rolled off and then continued clearing the room.
Scott Pelley: When you say you engaged him, what do you mean?
Mark Owen: Fired.
Scott Pelley: You shot him?
Mark Owen: Yeah.
Scott Pelley: He’s still moving?
Mark Owen: 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.
Scott Pelley: So, after Osama bin Laden is wounded, he’s still moving. You shot him twice?
Mark Owen: A handful of times.
Scott 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?
Mark Owen: Yes.
As a result of his decision to publish a book, the Pentagon has threatened legal action against Bissonnette. Late last month, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said that Bissonnette was “in material breach of nondisclosure agreements he signed with the U.S. government.”
Watch the full CBS interview here:
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com