US Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, had to ask their sniper to lie down next to dead terrorist leader's body in order to confirm his identity because all they knew about their target was that he was "very tall," Fox Business reported Wednesday.
Speaking in an interview Tuesday, retired US Admiral William McRaven, who was responsible for the operation, disclosed some details of the 2011 raid.
According to the Admiral, he had to ask his sniper — the tallest man on his team — to lie down next to the eliminated terrorist leader, in an attempt to confirm his identity. The sniper initially had a "funny look on his face," but quickly understood why the commander gave that order and complied. The dead body was a couple of inches taller than the sniper which gave McRaven enough confidence in the target's identity to confirm the death of bin Laden before President Obama.
After McRaven explained to Obama how exactly they measured bin Laden's height, the President quipped: "Let me get this straight, Bill. You had a $60 million dollar helicopter and you didn't have $10 for a tape measure?"
The story was confirmed by Rob O'Neill — the man who is believed to have pulled the trigger.
"The tallest guy we had there was one of our snipers and I think he was 6'2'' and so Admiral McRaven asked him to lay down next to Bin Laden's body-which he did and that was part of it," O'Neill said in an interview the next day.
O'Neill added, however, that the SEALs also resorted to other methods "for redundancy," including asking the relatives inside, sampling bin Laden's DNA, and "as many things" as possible to be absolutely sure they got the right man.
"He didn't look good, he took a couple of shots. His beard was shorter and it was white," McRaven told Fox.
"I was sure going in — I was sure when I saw him. When I saw him standing up on two feet I recognized his nose… his beard was shorter and white. But no doubt in my mind when I saw him about four seconds later that we just got Osama Bin Laden," O'Neill said.
After the US servicemen took down bin Laden in 2011, a decision has been made in Washington not to release any evidence of his death. Only one photo of bin Laden "dead" was published by the press and was swiftly debunked as a poorly forged fake. This sparked numerous conspiracy theories, ranging from bin Laden being dead for a number of years prior to the operation to him still being alive.