A Look Inside Kill Bin Laden
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|2011 DOD diagram of the Bin Laden hideout compound. Although surveillance on its exterior was thorough, the SEAL assault force did not know what the inside layout looked like.|
Amazon Exclusive: A Q&A with Author John Weisman
Q: You've said that the truth about Operation Neptune Spear can best be told in fiction. Why is that?
Weisman: Because the people who put Neptune Spear together and carried it out aren’t talking, and won’t be, for some time. And all the factual accounts so far have been colored by who sourced them. There’s a lot of political spin about Neptune Spear: the White House has its own version. So do the operators, and so does the CIA. There were so many contradictory accounts that after talking to sources both in the military, the intelligence community, and political operatives, I decided that the best way to go was fiction. The gist of what they all told me was that I’d get closer to the truth by doing fiction—and equally important, get a lot more help that way.
Q: In writing KBL as a novel, you were able to create characters that really touch the reader, for example, your retired Ranger Master Sergeant, Charlie Becker. Did giving a voice to soldiers like Charlie play a part in your wanting to write KBL as fiction?
Weisman: Of course. To me, Charlie Becker represents the best we have in our armed services. He is a patriotic, mission-driven individual who has seen it all, has been horribly wounded, and yet still wants to contribute, to give something back to the nation. What I really respect is the fact that his most deadly weapon isn’t a gun—it’s his mind. Like so many Tier One operators, he will outthink you, and then he will kill you. I know dozens of soldiers like Charlie Becker, maybe even scores. Some are wounded warriors who have returned to action. Some work the covert side for CIA’s Ground Branch, or make the jump to case officer. Others work at the Asymmetric Warfare Group, or the CAG, or are SEALs or Rangers. I am in awe of what they do, and the sacrifices that they are willing to make so that we can sleep safe in our beds at night. And I hope I do them justice in KBL.
Q: There are other accounts of this mission, why should readers choose to buy KBL?
Weisman: Well, if I were being frank, I’d say first of all it’s a better read than any of the others. It’s also the first holistic book about Neptune Spear, by which I mean it deals not just with the SEAL portion, but also the political tussles, the yearlong CIA operation, and all the internal debates that took place before the president finally gave the go-ahead. And I also believe—and I’ve been told by friends in Tier One units who saw the manuscript—that I got things pretty much spot on.
Q: Why do you feel it was important to write the book? Why do you think people should know “the truth” about what happened?
Weisman: It was important because this was the culmination of a ten-year hunt that has cosmic significance for us as a nation. And since it is going to take some years for people to know “the truth” about what actually happened, I felt I could get a pretty good picture out sooner than that.
“Weisman’s research is excellent, and he clearly has expert sources. He’s adept at explaining the complex structure of the special operations units . . . As a former MI6 agent who’s used to reading inaccuracies in thrillers, I was delighted to note that every chapter here feels right.” (Washington Post)
“Absolutely gripping. KBL: Kill Bin Laden describes a true story that can only be told in fiction. It also enthrallingly shows how SEALs are the future of warfare in the 21st century.” (Robert Baer, former CIA officer and New York Times bestselling author of See No Evil )
“A stunner and a riveting read. KBL is rife with realism and a true-to-life portrayal of hard-core warriors, their ethos and their world.” (Dan Rather)
“KBL is an amazing tour de force. This is as close as you will get to the pulse-pounding, incredibly daring mission to find and Kill Bin Laden.” (Joseph Wambaugh)
“A down and dirty thriller.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“This is a must-read book for anyone who wants to understand the meticulous planning and preparation that must go into carrying out a raid to kill the most wanted terrorist in the world, Usama Bin Laden, and the unselfish dedication that drives our ‘special warriors.’” (ADM James "Ace" Lyons, Jr., Former Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet)
“An extraordinary look inside Special Operations Forces at the team level. Based on three decades of dogged, accurate and mature reporting, Weisman has developed credibility inside the secret community of special ops. This book ties together the strands of detective work, spy craft and commando skills.” (Bing West, author of The Village, The Strongest Tribe and The Wrong War)
“Impressively detailed and imagined, Weisman’s fictional account of the hunt for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden will resonate . . . in this fast-paced narrative” (Publishers Weekly)
“Mr. Weisman’s research is thorough, and there is no shortage of CIA and military lore woven into KBL’s pages . . . he brings them all together in a narrative so real that readers will quickly forget that it is fiction.” (New York Journal of Books)
“KBL is a riveting and detailed chronology of the events leading up to Bin Laden’s death. Readers will wonder if Weisman had insider knowledge of the plans and ongoing access to their implementation.” (Library Journal)
“John Weisman has done it again! KBL is the latest of his books that probe beneath the facts of world-changing events to expose the deeper meanings and truths and lay bare the raw passions of people who throw themselves into such situations.” (John Perkins, New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man)
“KBL tells the story so well that you keep turning the pages even though you know the ending.” (Washington Independent Review of Books)
“John Weisman has written an intriguing tale. Try guessing where fiction ends in KBL and fact takes over.” (Douglas Waller, author of Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage)
“There are only a few authors who are able to climb inside the culture, mindset, and passions of the people who conduct covert and special operations. SOAR reveals why John Weisman is the best in the business in writing about it.” (William S. Cohen, former U.S. secretary of defense, on SOAR)
“A good and informative read.” (Washington Times)
“KBL: Kill Bin Laden won’t be closed until you finish it.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
“Whether you call it a novel or a fictional narrative, as Weisman says, ‘based on true events,’ the story . . . stands as one of the most compelling and interesting for news-minded Americans.” (Dallas Morning News)
“With keen insight into both the tactical and political measures at stake in this momentous strike, Weisman has penned an account that, though technically a work of fiction, resonates with credibility.” (Iron Mountain Daily News)
“A book worth reading, not to mention adding to the home, school, and public libraries in every town and city in America. If you want to learn how the brave men and women of our special forces and intelligence agencies really do business . . . pick up a copy.” (US Daily Review)
“This book is very believable and well-developed with clear and concise details . . . What a reader will take away from this novel is an increased appreciation for the job that intelligence and Special Forces do: their passion, diligence, perseverance, and grit.” (American Thinker)
“A great tale about a great mission.” (BlackFive.com)