The controversial book written by a member of the U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6 who took part in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden doesn't come out until Tuesday, but excerpts from the story have now been published.
The U.K.'s Sun printed the prologue of the book, "No Easy Day," along with several excerpts in the newspaper's Sunday edition. In them, the SEAL--who used the pen name Mark Owen--recounts the harrowing Black Hawk helicopter crash that preceded the May 2, 2011 raid on the terror leader's hideout:
We were now less than a minute from the compound. Intelligence said our target was there, but it didn't matter--whoever was in there was about to have a bad night. ... As the helicopter attempted to climb it took a violent right turn, spinning 90 degrees. I could feel the tail kick to the left. It caught me by surprise and I struggled to find a handhold inside the cabin to keep from sliding out the door.
In excerpts published by the New York Post, Owen recalls hearing the shots that killed bin Laden and the graphic scene that followed:
We were less than five steps from getting to the top when I heard shots. ... In his death throes, he was still twitching and convulsing. Another assaulter and I trained our lasers on his chest and fired several rounds. The bullets tore into him, slamming his body into the floor until he was motionless. ... Lying in front of me was the reason we had been fighting for the last decade. It was surreal trying to clean the blood off the most wanted man in the world so that I could shoot his photo.
The Post's excerpts included more details from inside the compound:
"Through the sweat running down my face and the grit in my eyes from the rotor wash, I could just make out the figure of a woman in the green glow of my night-vision goggles," Owen writes.
They had been warned to expect suicide vests, even on women.
"She had something in her arms, and my finger slowly started applying pressure to my trigger. I could see our lasers dancing around her head. It would only take a split second to end her life if she was holding a bomb."
The Post also printed the part that's drawn the most pre-publication attention--that bin Laden was unarmed when he was shot:
Bin Laden had in his room on a shelf above the door an AK-47 and a Makarov pistol. But they were both empty.
"He had no intention of fighting," Owen writes.
The Pentagon has threatened legal action against the author and Penguin, the book's publisher, saying the former SEAL Team 6 member was "in material breach of nondisclosure agreements he signed with the U.S. government."
Lawyers for the author and publisher say the book "did not disclose any material that would breach his agreements or put his former comrades at risk."
The latest excerpts come on the day "60 Minutes" is scheduled to air an interview with Owen, who disguised him with makeup "for his own safety," CBS said.
While CBS chose not to, other media outlets--including the Associated Press--have revealed his real name.