A Continually Updated List of How the Administration Says Bin Laden Died
The story of how Osama met his end has changed a lot over the past few days. Here's a rundown of the inconsistencies thus far.
In the days since a CIA-led mission (codename: Operation Neptune Spear) killed Osama bin Laden, the official Obama administration narrative of exactly how Bin Laden died has changed quite drastically. There's been talk of firefights, human shields, and capture-and-kill missions, much of which has been contradicted over the course of just 72 hours. Here's our rundown of what the official story has been on each day—and how it's changed. We'll update this as often new information warrants it.
Monday, May 2: On a "kill mission" in Pakistan, Navy SEALs stormed Osama bin Laden's fortified compound, at which point they engaged in a firefight with Bin Laden and other people living there. When the team reached Bin Laden's bedroom, he fought back and used his young wife as a human shield, forcing the SEALs to kill them both.
Tuesday, May 3: The White House now says the mission was a "capture or kill" mission. It also says Bin Laden never used a woman as a human shield. Rather, Bin Laden's wife lunged at the SEALs as they broke into Bin Laden's bedroom, at which point the soldiers shot her in the leg. She was not armed, nor was Bin Laden, calling into question how he engaged in a firefight.
Wednesday, May 4: A senior U.S. official contradicts the official White House stance and says it was definitely a "kill mission." Also, it turns out that only one person was armed at Bin Laden's compound, meaning four out of the five people killed during the "firefight"—including Bin Laden himself—never fired a round at the SEAL team. The commandos who killed Bin Laden now say they feared he was reaching for a weapon in his room when they shot him.