According to a new book, wrote by Chuck Pfarrer, a former SEAL team commander – SEAL Target Geronimo. The Inside Story of the Mission to Kill Osama Bin Laden – President Barack Obama was actually playing golf until 20 minutes before the operation began in earnest.
Chuck Pfarrer’s book claims that Barack Obama Only played golf and only after he finished the course he return to the White House to watch what he later trumpeted as a great success of his presidency.
Strain etched on his face, Barack Obama watched as the raid to kill Osama Bin Laden played out on a television in front of him.
The book also claims the official account was riddled with errors and that Osama Bin Laden was referred to as “Bert” and not just “Geronimo”.
Also, none of the Navy SEALs said the now famous words: “For God and country”, and when they burst into Bin Laden’s room, his wife screamed: “No, no, don’t do this… it’s not him!”
Chuck Pfarrer has spoken to several of the men who carried out the operation at Osama Bin Laden’s mansion hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2.
The author paints a very different picture to the official photo released at the time which shows Barack Obama and advisers huddled round a table in the White House situation room as footage was beamed from a drone 15,000 feet above the al-Qaeda leader’s mansion.
Chuck Pfarrer says the President’s role was largely inflated and suggests he stayed out on the golf course for so long so he could distance himself in case it went wrong.
The author writes: “If this had completely gone south, he was in a position to disavow.”
Chuck Pfarrer says the White House photographs did not show the moment that Osama Bin Laden was killed, but the moment a helicopter went down, which happened after the shooting.
Barack Obama is known to be a keen golfer. Just today, as the White House was being encircled by 8,000 environmental protesters, he was on a course in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The President also played golf four times during his week-long family holiday on Martha’s Vineyard.
Chuck Pfarrer’s book also claims that Osama Bin Laden would have been captured if he gave himself up. The author said a SEAL team would not have been sent in for a kill mission, adding: “If it was a kill mission you don’t need SEAL Team 6; you need a box of hand grenades.”
He also gives a dramatic new insight into what happened during the 1:00 a.m. raid, during which only 12 bullets were fired.
Within 90 seconds of their helicopter landing, the SEALs saw Osama Bin Laden slam his bedroom door shut. Two SEALs burst in and saw Osama Bin Laden and one of his four wives, Amal, who shouted: “It’s not him!”
Contrary to White House statements that he was unarmed, Osama Bin Laden had a gun next to him. As he shoved his wife at the SEALs, four shots were fired.
The first round whistled past Osama Bin Laden’s face. The second grazed his wife’s calf.
Chuck Pfarrer claims: ” Two 5.56mm Predator bullets slammed into him. One struck him next to his breastbone, blowing apart his aorta. The last went through his skull.”
The author also reveals that Osama Bin Laden was known as “Bert” to the Seals, and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri was Ernie – a reference to the Sesame Street puppets.
The SEALS have decided to speak out after being enraged by the image that was being painted of them as cold-blooded murderers on a “kill mission”.
Chuck Pfarrer said: “I’ve been a SEAL for 30 years and I never heard the words <<kill mission>>.”
The soldiers were also said to be disappointed that Barack Obama announced Osama Bin Laden’s death on TV a few hours later, making their intelligence-gathering futile.
Chuck Pfarrer also said the President’s announcement of the “intentional” killing was understandable but nonetheless disappointing.
The author told the Sunday Times: “There isn’t a politician in the world who could resist trying to take credit for getting Bin Laden but it devalued the <<intel>> and gave time for every other Al-Qaeda leader to scurry to another bolthole.
“The men who did this and their valorous act deserve better. It’s a pretty shabby way to treat these guys.”
The operation began to come together in January 2010 after it was discovered that a “high-value individual” was hiding out at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
The commanding officer of the SEALS was brought to a top secret meeting with the CIA and his boss Admiral William McRaven to prepare a plan to present to the President.
Chuck Pfarrer asked: “So is this Bert or Ernie?”, according to the SEALs’ Sesame Street nicknames for Osama Bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri.
CIA intelligence confirmed they were “60 per cent or 70 per cent certain it’s our guy”.
Satellite images had measured the target’s shadow, making him “over 6 feet tall”. He was dubbed “the pacer” as he was constantly seen walking back and forth.
In the following months, the team of SEALS began to make detailed preparations including practising manoeuvres at a mock-up of the compound at a remote army camp.
It was planned that the team would use Ghost Hawk helicopters because they were so quiet on approach, the Seals described them as flying in “whisper mode”, according to Chuck Pfarrer.
Barack Obama gave the mission the green light and SEAL Team 6, known as the Jedi, kicked into action.
After being deployed to Afghanistan, the team were told to use older helicopters, Stealth Hawks, as sending in Ghost Hawks without the back up of jet fighters was considered too risky. Decoy targets were set up and the U.S. Navy scrambled Pakistan’s radar to protect the mission.
The operation, called Neptune’s Spear, was meant to take place on April 30 but was rescheduled for May 1 because of bad weather. In the dead of night, the SEALS flew on two Stealth Hawks, codenamed Razor 1 and 2, followed by two Chinooks five minutes behind.
Each SEAL was wearing body armour and night-vision goggles and equipped with laser targets, radios and sawn-off M4 rifles.
Also on board were a CIA agent, a Pakistani- American interpreter and a sniffer dog called Karo, wearing dog body armour and goggles.
It was estimated that around 30 people were in the high-walled compound in Abbottabad – Oasama Bin Laden and three of his wives, two sons, Khalid and Hamza, his courier, Abu Ahmed al- Kuwaiti, four bodyguards and a number of children.
At 56 minutes past midnight the compound came into sight and the code “Palm Beach” gave the signal they were three minutes to landing.
The first helicopter hovered over the main house, where Osama Bin Laden was known to live on the top floor. A team of 12 SEALS abseiled the 5 ft-6 ft down onto the roof, leapt onto a terrace and kicked in the windows.
The first person they saw was Osama Bin Laden’s third wife Khaira. She fell after being blinded by a strobe light and was caught by a SEAL who pinned her to the floor.
Osama Bin Laden suddenly appeared in the doorway of a bedroom along the hall and then slammed the door.
One SEAL radioed: “Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo“, signalling that they had spotted the target.
As people started moving in other parts of the house and lights were thrown on, Osama Bin Laden’s son Khalid came running up the stairs towards the SEALS and was shot dead.
Two commandos kicked in Bin Laden’s door to find the al-Qaeda leader cowering behind his youngest wife Amal.
As Osama Bin Laden tried to reach for his AK-47 rifle, the SEALS opened fire.
One round hit the mattress, another grazed Amal in the calf.
They each fired again: one shot hit Osama Bin Laden’s breastbone, the other his skull, blowing out the back of his head. His dead body slumped to the floor and he lay face up – just 90 seconds after the mission began.
Earlier reports had suggested that Osama Bin Laden was not killed until after a protracted gun fight.
The second helicopter had headed to a smaller guesthouse in the compound where Osama Bin Laden’s courier, Kuwaiti, and his brother lived.
As the helicopter closed in, a man appeared in the door with an assault rife and began to fire. Someone on board shouted: “Bust him!”. A sniper on board the chopper fired two shots and Kuwaiti was killed along with his wife standing behind him.
Within two minutes the SEALS had cleared the guesthouse and removed the women and children. They then ran to meet their colleagues at the main building, firing two bullets into one of Osama Bin Laden’s bodyguards who was brandishing a gun.
Five minutes later, a Chinook landed by the compound and more commandos flooded into the compound.
The commanding officer went to view Osama Bin Laden’s corpse before confirming via satellite phone to the White House “Geronimo Echo KIA” – that their number one enemy was dead.
Chuck Pfarrer added: “This was the first time the White House knew he was dead and it was probably 20 minutes into the raid.”
A sample of Osama Bin Laden’s DNA was taken, the body was bagged and put on the helicopter. His rifle is now mounted on the wall of their team room at their headquarters in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
On leaving the compound the first helicopter had an electrical failure and crashed tail-first into the compound.
SEALS initially thought it had been shot down as they rushed to help the crew who escaped unharmed.