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CBS’s “60 Minutes” and book “No Easy Day” present conflicting accounts of Osama Bin Laden Raid

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This past Sunday night, CBS’s weekly news program, “60 Minutes”, dedicated their hour-long time slot to one story — a play-by-play account of the Osama Bin Laden raid carried out by Seal Team Six. The source for their story was a member of the Seal team who released a book yesterday under the pseudonym of Mark Owen. In the book titled “No Easy Day”, Owen gives his first-hand account of the raid.

The problem with this particular book is that it did not go through the normal vetting process that the Department of Defense, White House and CIA normally engage in.

When a book like this is published, there may be excerpts of information that are sensitive or classified that the government wants to keep under wraps. Many times this relates to national security issues.

With this book, Owen’s attempt to maintain his true identity was shattered when Fox News uncovered Owens real name. They published this information at their discretion and Owen now has real issues he may have to face up to. These include prosecution from the U.S. government and an inherent threat of action in retaliation to his family.

Though the risk was great to Owen, he has still come forward and risked much to tell his story. He deserves some modicum of respect for his actions.

When Osama Bin Laden was killed, it’s safe to say that many of us were awash in an emotional mix of joy, sadness and pain. In some regards, a long national nightmare was over. We had taken the life of the one human being responsible and representative of 9/11. While his death was cathartic, lingering questions surrounding his killing were beginning to form.

Pictures of Bin Laden were not shown. His body was disposed of at sea. The specifics of the raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan were classified, and details that could bring the entire affair into focus were kept from public knowledge.

The decisive actions of Seal Team Six on the orders of President Obama should be dissected and analyzed by the entire nation. People deserve to know the entire story. No one citizen was completely unaffected by 9/11 and the questionable piece of legislation,The Patriot Act, that was promoted in its aftermath.

We’ve seen our rights slowly taken away and our own government engaging in criminal activity in the name of Lady Freedom, but covered in a bloody American flag. The President, the higher-ups in his administration and the few members of the military involved in the raid should not hold special access to the death of Bin Laden.

They should not keep us from knowing the facts surrounding the events that transpired from that raid.

Maybe this would not be so much of an issue if Owen’s account did not differ in certain aspects from the official information released by the White House.

According to the reports in May of 2011, Bin Laden had been described as resisting the assault. Owen’s account from “60 Minutes” differs in that he states Bin Laden had been shot once and was incapacitated, after which he was shot multiple times. The Seals did not even confirm it was Bin Laden until after they had riddled his body with bullets.

The White House’s initial offering had been one describing Bin Laden actively engaging in a firefight with Seal Team Six. This was later downgraded to simple resistance.

This waffling on the story and Owen’s own account gives us pause to consider where the truth actually lies. If a simple fact like this is in contention, then what else is being kept from us?

Our world is one that consists of information and narrative. These components are key to how we interpret what we know. The narrative changes from outlet to outlet and often the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

The Obama Administration has shown questionable judgment in how they handled the release of the Bin Laden raid. This goes beyond politics and strikes at the core of our struggles with 9/11. Based on this alone, we deserve to know the truth and details. It’s only fair.

Nathan McMahon

I'm awesome

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5 Comments

  1. Gary Davis Sep 11, 2012

    @David the smalll L libertarian: I cannot agree with your view on this issue. I would also quickly point out that the Daily Mail is hardly a news source that I rely on for balanced reporting, any more than I would rely on Fox News or CNN.
    That aside, I am much more concerned about Fox News’ decision to out the true name of the author, creating much more risk to the nation’s security than other details of the raid itself. They should be held legally accountable. As to the details of the raid, I cannot see where any of it creates more risk to our national security. In fact, Obama’s decision to withhold those details were, in my opinion, labored over, well intended, but wrong. If, as you contend, the decision to release now to specific filmmakers, is all about electioneering, than even that is no longer any concern if the filmmakers have decided to release after the election.
    If you are truly concerned about the executive branch being preoccupied by politics, and serving self over country, perhaps you would care to comment on this: nyti.ms/S7WLz3

    1. While I’m not happy about Fox News releasing the identity of the author and for “Owen” writing the unauthorized book, I’m more concerned about the release of detailed information by the Executive Branch in this matter.  Poor decisions by the media and a foolish SEAL are unfortunate, but the citizenry didn’t elect them and they’re not running the government.  Obama set the stage for the book by his tell-all actions.

      Releasing detailed information about equipment, personnel and tactics used in the raid are threats to national security as it compromises the success of future missions.  Why that’s not obvious to you baffles me.

      And the Daily Mail is hardly the only media source to cover this.  Here’s another: http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2012/07/cia-finds-stack-of-overlooked-documents-on-bin-laden-129985.html

      Your link to the story, The Deafness Before the Storm has nothing to do, in my opinion, about “serving self over country.”

    2. Mr. Davis:  Here’s another story, this one fro The Guardian, about collusion between the New York Times and the CIA regarding coverage of the Bin Laden raid.  Gotta make Prez Obama look good!  It’s quite detailed but I’m sure you won’t like this one either.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/29/correspondence-collusion-new-york-times-cia

    3. “If you are truly concerned about the executive branch being preoccupied by politics, and serving self over country, perhaps you would care to comment on this: nyti.ms/S7WLz3”

      And you can comment on this:

      Revealed: inside story of US envoy’s assassinationExclusive: America ‘was warned of embassy attack but did nothing’
      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/revealed-inside-story-of-us-envoys-assassination-8135797.html

  2. I’m troubled primarily by the fact that the Obama administration decided to offer as much detail of the Osama compound raid as it did.  The administration gave special access to a Hollywood producer who is to release a feature film on the raid in October, conveniently just weeks before the election.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2148682/Obama-administration-leaked-classified-information-filmmakers-Osama-bin-Laden-raid.html

    Compromising national security by revealing tactics and details of the raid, particularly for political gain is beyond reprehensible.  Obama will stop at nothing to retain the presidency and continue his “transformation” of America.

    Shameful!

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