Full story behind Bin Laden raid revealed

The Takeaway

Story from The Takeaway. Listen to audio above for full report.

On May 1, a group of U.S. Navy SEALs entered Pakistan in Blackhawk helicopters and raided a compound in Abottobad, where they found and killed the world’s most wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden. An extraordinary story has now emerged of what is perhaps the most successful covert operation in U.S. history.

An astoundingly complete picture is in this week’s New Yorker, entitled simply “Getting Bin Laden: What Happened that Night in Abbottabad.” The story gives new details about the raid that brought the end to al-Qaida’s leader’s life.

Nicholas Schmidle, fellow at the New America Foundation and author of “To Live or To Perish Forever: Two Tumultuous Years Inside Pakistan,” wrote the article. He has never before told the story of Osama bin Laden’s final night.

Schmidle wrote about the minutes leading up to the raid:

During the next four minutes, the interior of the Black Hawks rustled alive with the metallic cough of rounds being chambered. Mark, a master chief petty officer and the ranking noncommissioned officer on the operation, crouched on one knee beside the open door of the lead helicopter. He and the eleven other SEALs on “helo one,” who were wearing gloves and had on night-vision goggles, were preparing to fast-rope into bin Laden’s yard. They waited for the crew chief to give the signal to throw the rope. But, as the pilot passed over the compound, pulled into a high hover, and began lowering the aircraft, he felt the Black Hawk getting away from him. He sensed that they were going to crash.

Read Schmidl’s article.


“The Takeaway” is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what’s ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.

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