First came the story, via Esquire, of the Navy SEAL who shot Osama bin Laden, only to now find himself unemployed and without health care. Then came rebuttal No. 1, in which Esquire and Stars and Stripes battled over the health care claim. This week saw takedown No. 2, in which CNN reported, by way of another SEAL, that the account of Esquire's SEAL is "total BS." The pissing match continues by way of Esquire's Executive Editor Mark Warren, who accuses CNN of "directly contradicting" itself.
It's a little confusing, but Warren's argument goes something like this: Peter Bergen, writing for CNN, cited a US official with knowledge of the raid as a source. That official's description of what went down "is essentially the same" as what Matt Bissonnette described in No Easy Day," wrote Bergen. So, in Warren's eyes, Bergen "advances Bissonnette’s version of the raid as the most credible." Except that CNN reported exactly the opposite in September. In an exclusive for the network, Barbara Starr wrote that a review of the mission conducted by the head of US Special Operations Command in the wake of Bissonnette's book determined Bissonnette was wrong. Starr's account of what happened, "dutifully reported by CNN only six months ago, is consistent with the account carefully reported and documented in the Esquire story, which appeared six weeks ago," concludes Warren.