Sunday, November 27, 2011
US Special Operations Command: "Target Geronimo a fabrication."
The Guardian: The US special operations command has called a former Navy Seal's book claiming to describe the real version of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden a "fabrication". "It's just not true," spokesman Colonel Tim Nye said. "It's not how it happened."
Filled with conspiracy theories and attacks on the Obama White House, Chuck Pfarrer's Seal Target Geronimo claims the White House issued a fictional and damaging account of the raid that made the Seals looks inept. He says Barack Obama's quick acknowledgement of the raid was a craven political move that rendered much of the intelligence gathered useless. In Pfarrer's account, commandos shot Bin Laden within 90 seconds of arriving at the Pakistan compound where the al-Qaida leader was holed up.
Describing the book as a "fabrication", Nye issued an on-the-record denial on behalf of Admiral Bill McRaven, who was in charge of special forces operations at the time of the raid. Nye said McRaven was concerned that the book, which broke into Amazon's top 20 list in the US last week, would lead Americans to doubt the administration's version of events.
"We have never come forward and gone after an author and said, 'That is a lie'," Nye said. "That tells you how far off the mark we believe this book is."
Nye said Pfarrer had no access to any troops connected with the mission. He said there would be no investigation into whether individual Seals spoke to Pfarrer because his account is so wide of the mark.
"I have truth on my side," Pfarrer said in an interview. "I spoke to the guys on the ground and in the secondary bird," he said, referring to the aircraft carrying a second Seal team that was there to rescue the first if it came under attack inside Pakistan's borders.
Pfarrer insisted the stealth helicopter that the White House said crashed within moments of launching the raid actually crashed later. He said the Seals were able to launch their raid as they had planned it, by landing on top of the building while another team attacked from below.
Pfarrer also said the way the White House described the Seals shooting Bin Laden – that he was unarmed but trying to evade them – amounted to murder. He said his version, which has Bin Laden reaching for a gun, makes the killing legal. Officials involved in the raid say Pfarrer is out of date on the post-9/11 laws of war, which sanction targeting al-Qaida with deadly force.
Pfarrer defended the book as a patriotic way to laud the "heroes of the Bin Laden mission". He said the money he earns will barely cover his medical bills for a long battle with colon cancer.
Pfarrer claims in his book that he is still part of the Seals' fighting network, even intimating that he played a part in preparations for the Bin Laden raid.
"In the weeks and months leading up to Neptune's Spear [the code name for the mission], it was my privilege to help troops and platoons train for submissions and run parallel HVT [high-value target] missions," Pfarrer writes.
"That is categorically incorrect," Nye said. "He was not involved in mission planning, execution or close mission analysis."
Pfarrer responded that he conducted training for the Seal team's parent organisation, the Naval Special Warfare Command, through his defence security company Acme Ballistics. He refused to describe how it was related to the raid, saying the contracts were classified.
Pfarrer has frequently claimed that his accounts come from a top-secret world, and that readers must take his word on faith.
Posted by Steve Douglass at 6:59 PM