There’s a bit of a dustup happening regarding Esquire’s “The Shooter” piece, about the SEAL Team 6 member who shot Osama bin Laden. CNN quoted a SEAL as saying that the details given by the Shooter were “complete BS” and that he is not the man who shot Bin Laden. CNN’s SEAL claims that the “point man” in the raid on Bin Laden’s compound was the real shooter and that there were no guns within Bin Laden’s reach, as Esquire’s Shooter claimed.
While the details of CNN’s SEAL’s account match up more with those laid out in No Easy Day, written by another SEAL on the mission, Esquire’s editor-in-chief David Granger writes that he and the magazine stand by the Shooter’s account:
Yesterday, CNN issued a report that attempted to cast doubt on The Shooter’s account of the mission and on whether he was the man who was responsible for killing Osama bin Laden. To be clear: Esquire and Phil Bronstein, the veteran journalist and writer of the story, object to CNN’s report in the strongest possible terms. By stark contrast with Bronstein’s thoroughgoing 15,000 word report, the CNN story constitutes a mere act of assertion. As far as can be gleaned from the report, it is based on the opinion of one current SEAL who was not on the bin Laden mission and who therefore could not have first-hand knowledge of it. It is little more than gossip. Esquire’s story remains the most thoroughly reported account of the raid and of the death of Osama bin Laden.
It seems sort of silly to be arguing about who did what because all of the people involved — from those conducting the raid to those who put together intelligence on the mission — are heroes and should be celebrated. But the truth is the truth, and the killing of Bin Laden is a huge historical event. It would be nice if one day we all knew exactly what happened.