An elite Navy SEALs team is credited with taking down Osama bin Laden, and in the National Journal, Marc Ambinder offers a look inside the "highly mythologized" SEAL Team Six and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) to which it belongs. SEAL Team Six, officially known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group but called DevGru, was flown across the border from Afghanistan and left for bin Laden's compound from Ghazi Air Base in Pakistan. The team had prepared for the raid by building a replica of bin Laden's compound and staging trial runs there last month. After a 40-minute firefight in which 22 were killed or captured, bin Laden was "done in by a double tap—boom, boom—to the left side of his face," Ambinder writes.
The JSOC reports to the president and operates on his classified directives; typically, its missions do not leak to the public unless something goes wrong or—as was the case this time—something "really big" is accomplished. For example, while dozens of JSOC operatives have died in Pakistan over the past few years, you would only have heard a cover story like, "they were killed in training accidents in eastern Afghanistan." Since the Sept. 11 attacks, Ambinder writes, the JSOC has tripled in size, costs the country more than $1 billion a year, and has "become the US government’s most effective and lethal weapon against terrorists and their networks"—and it operates largely with impunity. As this operation shows, it also works well with the CIA, especially when it comes to gathering intelligence. Click for the full read.