O homem que matou Osama Bin Laden
Publicado em: 12 Fev, 2013
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“I left SEALs on Friday,” he said the next time I saw him. It was a little more than thirty-six months before the official retirement requirement of twenty years of service. “My health care for me and my family stopped at midnight Friday night. I asked if there was some transition from my Tricare to Blue Cross Blue Shield. They said no. You’re out of the service, your coverage is over. Thanks for your sixteen years. Go fuck yourself.”

The government does provide 180 days of transitional health-care benefits, but the Shooter is eligible only if he agrees to remain on active duty “in a support role,” or become a reservist. Either way, his life would not be his own. Instead, he’ll buy private insurance for $486 a month, but some treatments that relieve his wartime pains, like $120 for weekly chiropractic care, are out-of-pocket. Like many vets, he will have to wait at least eight months to have his disability claims adjudicated. Or even longer. The average wait time nationally is more than nine months, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Anyone who leaves early also gets no pension, so he is without income. Even if he had stayed in for the full twenty, his pension would have been half his base pay: $2,197 a month. The same as a member of the Navy choir.

Still, on this early fall weekend, he does not want to commit to publishing any information from or about him. The book by a friend and fellow ST6 member, Matt Bissonnette, who claims to have shot bin Laden in the chest when the Al Qaeda leader was already down and bleeding profusely, will go on sale in a few days. The Department of Defense was threatening legal action over breach of confidentiality agreements and revelation of supposedly classified material. And the Shooter refuses to identify Bissonnette by name or confirm that he is the colleague who wrote the book. “I still want him and his family to be safe no matter what,” he says. “If he didn’t want [his name] out, I shouldn’t either. That is my thinking, anyway.”

Many in the community are also infuriated, the Shooter says. “There’s a shitstorm around this.” It has also come to his attention that Bissonnette’s account tends to gloss over — if not erase — the Shooter’s central role in bin Laden’s death.

“I don’t know why he’d do that,” the Shooter says.

Almost since the mission was done, the Shooter himself was suspected by the SEAL command and other team members of being the one who was writing a book, the one who would be first to market, spinning gold off Abbottabad.

CIA and FBI officials called to ask whether he was going to appear with Bissonnette on 60 Minutes.

When it became clear that he wasn’t the opportunist, there was an official effort at apology from his superiors and some individual SEALs.

The Shooter had long ago decided not to write a book out of the gate, though he is keenly aware that Bissonnette’s book will make millions. There is still loyalty and safety to consider. He also wanted to see how Bissonnette fared with his colleagues, the U.S. government, and others.

Bissonnette’s pseudonym — Mark Owen — lasted about a day before his real name surfaced and was promptly posted on a jihadi Web site.

But it was his official separation from the Navy that convinced the Shooter that he should get his story down somewhere, both for history and for a potential “greater good,” to both humanize his warrior friends as something more complex than Jason Bourne cartoon superheroes, and call attention to what retiring SEALs don’t get in their complex bargain with their country.


Waiting in Jalalabad, the teams were getting feedback from Washington. Gates didn’t want to do this, Hillary didn’t want to do that.

The Shooter still thought, We’d train, spin up, then spin down. They’d eventually tank the op and just bomb it.

But then the word came to Vice Admiral William McRaven, head of Joint Special Operations Command. The mission was on, originally for April 30, the night of the White House Correspondents’ dinner in Washington.

McRaven figured it would look bad if all sorts of officials got up and left the dinner in front of the press. So he came up with a cover story about the weather so we could launch on Sunday, May 1, instead.

There was one last briefing and an awesome speech from McRaven comparing the looming raid and its fighters to the movie Hoosiers.

Then they’re gathered by a fire pit, suiting up. Just before he got on the chopper to leave for Abbottabad, the Shooter called his dad. I didn’t know where he was, but I found out later he was in a Walmart parking lot. I said, “Hey, it’s time to go to work,” and I’m thinking, I’m calling for the last time. I thought there was a good chance of dying.

He knew something significant was up, though he didn’t know what. The Shooter could hear him start to tear up. He told me later that he sat in his pickup in that parking lot for an hour and couldn’t get out of the car.

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