Report: Bin Laden Movie Gets Some Details Wrong

National Journal Staff
November 4, 2012


National Geographic Channel's Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden, which will be aired on Sunday night, differs from the actual account of the al-Qaida leader's killing in several ways, according to a National Public Radio report.

The timing of the made-for-television film's airing two days before Election Day has been a subject of intense controversy. President Obama has made bin Laden's death a key argument for why he should be reelected, and Democratic fundraiser Harvey Weinstein financed the movie.

An early scene of the film shows an interrogation at Cuba's Guantanamo Bay, where a terrorist detainee gives important information about one of bin Laden's couriers. NPR's Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman says no known interrogations at Guantanamo Bay played a role in the search for bin Laden, and that a single interview did not yield the location of his Pakistani compound.

In the climactic raid, the film is at odds with known accounts in the number of gun battles that occurred, the presence of Pakistani police outside the compound and the manner in which bin Laden was actually killed, Bowman says.

In the film, bin Laden is killed the way the initial story was given from the White House, with Navy SEALs entering his room and shooting him once in the chest and once in the face. But subsequent accounts have said that he was shot after poking his head out while SEALs were coming up the stairs, then shot in the chest several times.

NPR said other details of the raid are accurate, including the SEALs' method of getting into the compound, the number of helicopters involved and the fact that one of them crashed.