“Congratulations to President Obama for his leadership, for his determination, for his commitment of resources, for his making a priority the capture — the apprehension — of Osama bin Laden.”
––House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, (D, CA), CBS News, May 2, 2011

“In my view we very likely would not have captured or killed Osama bin Laden had we not had the intelligence information we had.”
––Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to Bill O’Reilly, The O’Reilly Factor, May 4, 2011

I write fiction and drama, and the spy genre has always been one of my favorites to read and watch as movies.

The thing that makes spy stories so good is that the real worlds of intelligence gathering and covert operations make for all sorts of plot misdirection and suspense, because the misdirection and disinformation that are everyday working tools in the world of intelligence is the closest thing you get in the real world to the improbabilities of fiction.

Have I got a doozy of a story for you. This one could be a novel by Ian Fleming, John le Carré, or Robert Ludlum.

Maybe even an episode of Chuck.

Last Sunday night, like so many people, I was watching the climax of The Celebrity Apprentice — waiting to find out if The Donald would finally fire one of the Yentas — when a news crawl announced a forthcoming announcement from President Obama.

Presidents unexpectedly breaking into prime-time TV is, as a general rule, an “Oh, shit.” I was expecting anything from “Guess what? Beijing just invaded Taiwan” to “Guess what? The docs tell me I’ve got aggressive pancreatic cancer and Joe Biden gets sworn in as president on Monday.”

Instead, President Obama got on TV and told us that the United States had located Osama bin Laden’s criminal lair in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and summarily granted the 9/11 financier’s wish to meet Allah. He told us Osama bin Laden resisted capture and was killed with a double tap to the head. He had been positively identified by facial recognition software and DNA. The United States was in possession of his body. Photographs of Osama bin Laden’s corpse had been taken.

President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary of State Clinton et al watch raid on Osama bin Laden's lair
President Obama, Vice President Biden,
and Secretary of State Clinton et al reportedly
watch raid on Osama bin Laden’s lair

Immediately people spontaneously began gathering outside the White House, at Times Square, and at Ground Zero, to cheer the death of the man whose sneak attack ten years ago began a War on Terror that has put U.S. boots on ground invading foreign lands, given us a Department of Homeland Security and a Patriot Act that denudes the Bill of Rights, and a TSA that fondles little girls taking their first air flight.

A few hours later we learned that the United States was no longer in possession of Osama bin Laden’s body. Within a few hours of his death, Osama bin Laden’s body had been ritually washed by a Muslim seaman on the aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson, wrapped up, then with Muslim prayers buried in the North Arabian Sea. We were told the entire procedure was videotaped.

Reasons for this swift burial at sea were given by the White House: that Muslim law required burial within 24 hours; that no Muslim country would accept the body; and that the United States did not want there to be a known grave that could become a shrine.

On Wednesday, May 4th, President Obama announced his decision not to release the photos of Osama bin Laden’s body. The reason given: we don’t want to inflame the Muslim world with gruesome photos.

Here’s a given. We’re not going to see the men whose boots were on the ground for this covert operation decorated in a White House ceremony, followed by a news conference. They operate as part of the United States Joint Special Operations Command, and are the United States’ most highly trained, financed, and secretive operatives. They’re reported to be SEAL Team 6 — we don’t even know if that’s fact.

So, bottom line, the most important military raid in United States history since — probably — World War II is classified. The American people have to take the word of the White House about what happened.

Look. I have gone on record as congratulating President Obama for the success of this raid. Osama bin Laden has been on my Better Dead list since he first sent out a videotape crowing about the success of the 9/11 attacks. I’ve never believed any of the crap about bin Laden being a CIA construct, or that the financial elites of the United States would allow the CIA to kill thousands of their employees and turn their own business district into a Hazmat zone. The ultra-rich believe in NIMBY — Not in My Back Yard — more than they believe in the security of their numbered Swiss bank accounts.

But as I’ve said when investigating other things, when something stinks, I sniff.

The White House now tells us Osama bin Laden was unarmed. I don’t believe SEALs shoot unarmed men. I just don’t — especially when the target is the single most valuable intelligence asset in the world.

I don’t buy the reasons for a burial-at-sea — especially since Muslim clerics around the world deny this is a proper Muslim burial. If the object was to comply with Muslim law but make sure there was no known grave site to be a shrine, burying Osama bin Laden in an unmarked and classified grave known only to top-clearance personnel would have satisfied both conditions — and if no other country would accept the body, there was certainly time within the 24-hour deadline beginning at midnight for a supersonic jet to have flown the body for secret burial on U.S. soil.

We add in one more data point: according to a Pakistani intelligence official interviewed by ABC News, Osama bin Laden’s 13-year-old daughter confirms that Osama bin Laden was captured alive; she then claims that her father was executed by the SEALs with the young girl a witness to her father’s death.

Once again, I don’t believe SEALs would do this.

No body, no death photos, and an unarmed target reported as captured alive, then deliberately shot with his family as witnesses.

The CIA and Special Forces are the real Mission Impossible guys. They’re as obvious as Penn and Teller. Misdirection is their breakfast and plausible deniability is their supper.

In my humble opinion this was not an assassination. It was a rendition — possibly the most brilliantly executed rendition in the history of covert warfare.

Osama bin Laden is captured alive.

His capture and execution is staged in front of his family — who are then released to Pakistani authorities — and via satellite to witnesses in the White House Situation Room. Notice President Obama sitting in the back? He knows what’s really going on and doesn’t need a front seat.

Osama bin Laden is drugged and transported covertly to the USS Carl Vinson, where — in the traffic of incoming and outgoing fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters — nobody notices a fighter jet departing to points unknown, while a distraction is created by the burial-at-sea of a body prepared for that purpose.

Then, sometime Monday, Osama bin Laden wakes up in his new residence. It’s probably not as luxurious as the digs Number 6 was given in The Prisoner. But on a 60″ flat-screen HDTV Osama bin Laden gets to watch worldwide coverage of his death. The world has him sleeping with the fishes. There won’t be any hostages taken to exchange for him. The Americans have him and nothing will prevent them from doing to him whatever they like for the rest of his life … a life that will be given the best medical care possible until every last bit of information has been extracted from him by every interrogation method known to man.

This could be pure fantasy. Most conspiracy theories are.

But if it’s true, it’s the greatest unknown spy thriller never written, one which makes Osama bin Laden yearn for death, and — for the former Director of al-Qaeda — one which makes Saw seem like a Disney movie.

Note, May 5, 2011:

“Leon Panetta, director of the CIA, revealed there was a 25 minute blackout during which the live feed from cameras mounted on the helmets of the US special forces was cut off.

A photograph released by the White House appeared to show the President and his aides in the situation room watching the action as it unfolded. In fact they had little knowledge of what was happening in the compound.

In an interview with PBS, Mr Panetta said: “Once those teams went into the compound I can tell you that there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes where we really didn’t know just exactly what was going on. And there were some very tense moments as we were waiting for information.

“We had some observation of the approach there, but we did not have direct flow of information as to the actual conduct of the operation itself as they were going through the compound.”

–Steven Swinford, The Telegraph

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available as a DVD on and for sale or rental on Instant Video. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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