Skip to comments.'No Easy Day': six top revelations from book on the bin Laden mission
Posted on 09/05/2012 1:24:31 PM PDT by gandalftb
The Navy SEAL Team 6 operators hand-picked to raid Osama bin Ladens compound in 2011 had some unwelcome surprises waiting for them as they hit the ground, according to Matt Bissonnette (pen name Mark Owen) in his controversial book No Easy Day, released Tuesday.
Here are the top six revelations from his new memoir.
1. VIPs gathered for a dress rehearsal two weeks before the mission.
At a massive hangar at a base training center, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, and Adm. William McRaven, now commander of Special Operations Command, wanted to evaluate the plan to raid bin Ladens compound, and decide whether to go ahead with it.
2. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wanted to bomb bin Ladens compound.
Gates argued that an air strike would be less of an invasion of Pakistans sovereignty, according to Bissonnette.
3. Women were pivotal to the bin Laden mission.
The SEAL team was given the green light by a CIA analyst with the pseudonym Jen who was the main force behind tracking bin Laden to Abbottabad.
4. The SEALs enjoyed practical jokes, even as they were preparing for missions.
5. SEAL equipment ranges from drug-store staples to custom-built hybrid weapons.
6. A near crash-landing almost ended the mission before it began.
(Excerpt) Read more at csmonitor.com ...
This was a CIA Black Op, not DOD. Since CIA has no legal standing over operators while in Pakistan, there are legal impairments for any actions by DOD or Justice Dept taken against Bissonnette. Bissonnette was rogue in Pakistan and his lawyers would know that.
I have a copy of the book that's coming out next Tuesday. Chapter 15, titled "Third Deck, and Chapter 16, titled "Geronimo" cover the raid.
A close friend and operator is reading the book now and so far sees many revelations of a confidential nature.
Bissonnette outs "Jen" the CIA operator, but "Jen" was already outed by Dr. Afridi, as being his handler. Interesting that Bissonnette didn't know of her larger role, but knew Gates wanted to bomb the compound.
So far we are seeing a lot of discussion about SSE (Sensitive Site Exploition) that could degrade future ops.
For the first time, the presence of a QRF (Quick Reaction Force) is revealed and the bird they were in.
That intel is classified because the loiter time of the QRF determines the SSE time on the ground. The fuel usage of the bird was discussed as it was a long flight in. An enemy could use that to figure out the loiter time on target of a potential raid and how much concealment would be needed to degrade SSE.
Bissonnette is clearly an operator in the know. Interesting he does not discuss the ROE (Rules of Engagement) that would have determined what degrading conventions to use on civilians. When UBL was down, weapons away, did the ROE allow the double-tap? Or did they just execute him? One thing odd: Bissonnette says that one of the women in the room fell back on the bed clutching her calf. She had been shot in the right calf and he didn't know that? More later as we get farther in to the book.
Anyone that wants a pdf of Chapters 15 & 16, let me know.
Interesting. Despite the clear breach of OpSec, I’m interested to read this. I’m always torn between wanting to know this stuff, and knowing I shouldn’t know this stiff.
Not sure the chopper crash is much of a revelation. There were pictures of the downed chopper.
The dry run isn’t all that surprising. I’d be surprised if there hadn’t been.
The involvement of the CIA chick actually reminds me of The Unit ... they had a girl that was a handler in the later seasons. I think women agents and handlers are more involved in these kind of operations than most would know.
I disagree with Gates ... I think the surgical operation was better than an airstrike. With boots on the ground, you can block the exits and confirm the kill. With airstrikes, you’re at the mercy of Pakistani first responders for kill-confirmation, and there’s a reasonable chance of him escaping by the skin-of-his-teeth when bombing starts. He had a tendency to do that. Both are clearly a breach of Pakistani sovereign territory, so you might as well do things right.
It does not add to the story for Bissonnette to discuss the naming conventions of the room layout in the compound and the search protocols. So why do it?
This book makes it much easier for an enemy to write an SSE manual.
“Abbottabad”? Is there a Costelloabad? “I’ve bin abad boy!”
What an awful pun......
That does concern me.
"Loose lips sink ships".
I will read it if I can get a copy before it gets pulled, if it gets pulled.
What's a QRF?
Quick Reaction Force, I think ... an emergency response unit.
Quick Reaction Force is force in waiting, the cavalry.
The problem I’m now having is that the book discusses some operational details that I can’t explain the damage caused without revealing deeper and more sensitive knowledge.
Yes, this book won’t tell the ordinary reader very much. But those in the know could learn from the book and some of them are enemies.
“I disagree with Gates ... I think the surgical operation was better than an airstrike. With boots on the ground, you can block the exits and confirm the kill. With airstrikes, youre at the mercy of Pakistani first responders for kill-confirmation, and theres a reasonable chance of him escaping by the skin-of-his-teeth”
ditto to that
Gates was 1/2 a politician and only 1/2 a Defense Secretary.
We don’t get the best arguments from Defense when they try to speak on behave of other parties with an interest in a decision.
The original plan was to say a DRONE STRIKE had obliterated the compound (that would put the Pakiz in a less delicate position) but that went out the window after the chopper crash.
Quick Reaction Forse.
Certain ops (especially those with indetermined or unknowable go-times) may require shooters to be ready to roll at a moments notice.
FORSE huh AAA?
In this raid the QRF was an overwatch force hovering above the target.
By discussing it and their reaction times, the descent rate of the bird could be figured out and that is classified.
Where the book doesn’t tell secrets directly, the secrets can be inferred indirectly. In either case the enemy finds out what we’re doing and future missions can be compromised..
Hmm...of course we knew that but commander zero won't admit it.
Have any of you ever know a group of guys who didn't enjoy practical jokes, especially when under pressure?
3) It's the CIA. "Jen" is probably a guy. "Chuck" is the chick.
5) Staples to custom weapons? Of course. Improvise when needed.
I’ve received a lot of requests for the pdf of Chapters 15 & 16.
I need your email address and will send the pdf to the next batch of receivers as a blind cc so your email address will be kept private.
It’s a big file, 2.3 mb, check your spam folder if you don’t see it today.
I wonder if he, his lawyers, and/or his editors had acquired a rough draft of the “made for Obama movie script”?
That would certainly add an interesting legal twist, and fully explain the book meeting target publication date....
You make good points.
On that line, suppose Bissonnette shows up as the technical advisor on that movie?
Bissonnette retired out on 20 April 2012, certainly the book was finished and at the publisher before then with all kinds of unauthorized workers looking the book over while he was still under contract and subject to the UCMJ.
I read books. It's my primary entertainment source.
I purchase my books, sometimes hardbacks, but mostly I restrain myself and wait for the secondary release of the paperback editions, or buy them at used bookstores.
Electronic books have turned the publishing industry on its head.
Read any of the “current events” type books, and you will notice all the Microsoft Word spellcheck problems.
OTOH, most authors outline to published book timeline, has been shortened to mere days, not the previous many months.
Obviously it takes a lot longer for reliable peer reviewed reference level manuals of serious and weighty topics.
This is just a first person account of a historically notable event. As I understand the outline (I have not yet read the book) it includes some color background to set the stage for readers unfamiliar with a little known lifestyle.
BTW, I am supposedly subject to the UCMJ for 25 years after my death, as far as publishing my own memoirs goes.
Carter wiped that kind of secrecy away, so I don't need Federal oversight before I openly talk about certain mission plans I wrote, but that were never activated.
I don't and wont. But that is not the same thing as this instance.
The Feds already declassified this mission to the public.
I ordered this book from Amazon last week. It was sent yesterday and is at the post office right now for me to pick up. We don’t have mail delivery so we get packages over the counter at the post office. I’ll be picking it up in the morning. I’m looking forward to reading it.
Great thread. It shows why it is important to sneak peek into the truth beyond politics.
Obama has a dismal record when one asks about factual things.
Look i read the book last night on kindle & have no clue of what the big deal about secret revelations are. Any idiot can look on the internet or in some military book & use math to figure out how much fuel & how far our copters can go. The real crime is how O shot off his mouth about the op along w/ the restt of his cronies in DC. Also, some fool revealed the auhor’s real name! This guy should be shot. Look, these cia kguys are not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer. We lived in communist bulgaria from 1987-90 & taught at the embassy school in sofia. Once, they wanted to secretly meet w/ some big shot dissident. Problem was that he was deported 2 weeks before the meeting. How did they find out about this? I had article on desk from a US paper my parents sent to us. It talked about how said dissident was now in SF. The cia guy was picking up his kids after school & saw the article. He couldn’t believe it & asked if he could have it. Now, besides missing 911 & the end of communism, there is your typical cia guy...
Thank you for this evaluation. Lots of people claim to know things they don't, or shade the truth just enough to profit handsomely.
Granted, with a major subject like this, the author would probably get “outed” for exaggerated claims not only because of the high-profile nature of the subject but also because lots of people have a strong motive to do so. My guess is efforts will be made to discredit him no matter what the facts may be, and the discrediting attempts will themselves have to be reviewed for factuality and for motive.
Far too often, however, claims don't get challenged and wrong information or self-aggrandizing half-truths become “received truth” with real heroes staying quiet while others get credit they do not deserve.
I'm assuming the author deliberately decided not to get this book cleared in advance because he suspected (or perhaps knew with certainty) that it would never see the light of day if he followed proper procedures to get advance clearance.
I would not want to be in the author's shoes right now, but then again, guys who volunteer for his kind of job aren't adverse to risk-taking. This guy proved he had "balls" long before he wrote this book.
Only pResident Obama can break security protocols, and the law. No one else is allowed. The peons who do the heroic tasks, they are to just shut up or else die from being tortured by these liberal fascists, Obama and his supporters?
Obama is a usurper who should be impeached , tried and imprisoned.
I like that - has the feel of a well oiled machine...
I'm sorry this is happening - our guys need every advantage to do their job ( admittedly dangerous work under the best of conditions...) Allowing the enemy in on tactics undermines safety. I don't need to know specifics - thanks for explaining.
Does anybody know if he purposely put in false-flag details that would make our enemies THINK they know our operations, when they don’t? That’s a rhetorical question because if he did, it would be stupid of somebody to out the false-flag mission. Who knows but what he actually HELPED operational security in a very sneaky way.
Good question, but I don't have the knowledge to give any kind of informed answer. Gandalftb may have a better answer.
Considering where I live and work, I can think of perhaps a half-dozen people I know well who might actually be able to say something intelligent, but they're all intelligent enough to know better than to talk to pesky reporters about such things.
Anyone in the media who covers the military knows that some questions are best left unasked. Osama bin Laden stuff is far above my pay grade, much better people than me are focusing on that, and I stick to things where I can actually make a difference and which others aren't looking into.
The book is written in a very chatty style, not what I would expect from a military author. Clearly it seems to be the co-author’s work from conversations with Bissonnette.
Generally, there are no direct admissions of a confidential nature. However, someone in the know could infer operationally sensitive tactics that could help an enemy harden a future target.
Some of the described operational tactics make no sense such as having the QRF on the ground somewhere. That makes no sense, a QRF (Quick Reaction Force)...has to be quick...and that means loitering overhead.
This goes to my complaint about fuel and range-payload extension of force tactics that are classified.
Now that the book is open source, bin Laden’s tactics can be discussed. UBL chose to locate in Abbottabad, thinking that being next to the Paki West Point would prevent a raid by us. Ok, good thought, but a consequence was that UBL and his guards heard so many Paki helos going over that they became desensitized and ignored them.
That writing would help a future enemy hide better, but a thinking enemy should know that already. Where UBL erred was going so far underground that he no longer kept a very professional security force.
I don’t think the co-author was clever enough or in the know to leave false-flags, he wrote what he was told.
Marchinko is a self promoting has-been that has been sitting on the sidelines since 9/11. He writes fiction from the outside looking in and has no credibility with the spec ops community.
Let Marchinko name the last reunion he was ever invited to or even crashed.
Just a quick note to say that I really appreciate your analysis.
There are some things that those of us on the outside cannot and should not know.