Late last month, TheBlaze reported that Harvey Weinstein’s “SEAL Team 6: The Raid on Osama bin Laden” had reportedly been re-cut to more prominently feature President Barack Obama. The movie, which is scheduled to air on National Geographic Channel, will premiere just two days before the election (on Sunday, November 4), a choice that is, of course, electorally questionable.
On Friday evening, the film was premiered at an event in Washington D.C., where director John Stockwell noted that the facts depicted in it have not been “confirmed or denied” by the White House. Following this showing, The Atlantic’s John Hudson noted that the director’s caveat was fascinating, especially considering the film’s purported factual inaccuracies.
Aside from the notion that the movie drops just days before the election — something that critics have obviously pointed to as a purposeful attempt to help Obama at the polls — these errors in accuracy, as outlined by Hudson, will likely rile conservatives. Below, find the five inconsistencies found in the film.
Opposition to the Raid: While the film depicts Defense Secretary Robert Gates as opposing the raid, his stance was complicated (thus, this depiction isn’t necessarily accurate). Vice President Joe Biden did oppose the raid, Hudson writes, but the film attempts to further dramatize Obama’s decision regarding whether or not he should have given the orders to go after bin Laden.
A CBS report from May showcases that Gates’ view was more complicated than simply standing in opposition. While he didn’t want to go into the compound and assassinate the terrorist (for fear he wasn’t inside the building), he did support bombing the compound:
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Wednesday he had “no doubts that the SEALs could perform the mission” that killed Osama bin Laden. His concern was whether or not bin Laden was in the compound.
“We didn’t have one single piece of hard data that he was actually in that compound, not one,” Gates told “CBS this Morning” co-host Charlie Rose. “The whole thing was a circumstantial case built by analysts at CIA.”
Gates wanted to bomb and not go in to kill bin Laden. “My view was, ‘Let’s kill him, but let’s use a missile of some kind,’” Gates said. “And, and the reason, the objection to that was, “Well, we couldn’t collect any information to exploit.”
“If this mission had failed, it could’ve put the war in Iraq, in Afghanistan, at risk,” Gates said. He said Mr. Obama’s decision to go through with the raid was a “courageous call.”
A Pakistani Doctor Who Assisted the CIA: Hudson also noted some inconsistencies in the film surrounding Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani doctor who assisted the CIA in running a fake vaccination campaign that inevitably led to bin Laden. The goal? To gather DNA evidence from the terrorist’s family. While Afridi is shown in the film as willingly helping the U.S. government in collecting the information, the reality is that the government never told the doctor about the mission. Instead, he was merely helping implement the task without knowing or understanding its purpose.
“I was aware that some terrorists were residing in that compound, but I didn’t know whom. I was shocked. I didn’t believe I was associated in his killing,” Afridi later said in an interview with FOX News.
The Use of Helmet Cams: The third inconsistency that Hudson mentioned is the supposed use of helmet cams. In the film, the Navy SEALs responsible for the mission are given the cameras that apparently transmit live feeds back to CIA headquarters. The Atlantic writer called these elements a “myth” and noted that they, in fact, never existed.
Once the SEALs entered the bin Laden compound, a live feed was not available for the president and government officials to view (drones provided a feed from outside the compound, though). In August 2011, The New Yorker wrote:
Until this moment, the operation had been monitored by dozens of defense, intelligence, and Administration officials watching the drone’s video feed. The SEALS were not wearing helmet cams, contrary to a widely cited report by CBS. None of them had any previous knowledge of the house’s floor plan, and they were further jostled by the awareness that they were possibly minutes away from ending the costliest manhunt in American history…
Obama’s “Kill or Capture” Mandate: Hudson also noted that speculation continues over whether the SEALs were given orders to capture bin Laden, if possible. Based on Gates’ comments, though, it seems that killing the terrorist was something the government was more than willing to do. As for Hudson’s stance on the matter, he wrote:
Much has been speculated about whether the Navy SEALs were given orders to assassinate Osama bin Laden on contact or capture him if possible. Some have alleged that because bin Laden was unarmed, this was likely an assassination mission. Still, no one knows for sure, and the Obama administration resolutely vows that its orders were to capture bin Laden if possible. Despite that, a scene prior to the raid shows Admiral Bill McRaven telling the SEALs that the “preference” of this mission is that there be no detainees.
The point being made here is this: The film gives a definitive answer regarding whether the SEALs were told to kill or capture. Since we don’t know for sure what was said behind closed doors, the movie, too, should have presented this scenario in a more vague fashion.
Watch the “preference” scene from the film, below:
The SEALs’ Firefight With bin Laden Supporters: While Hudson notes that early reports indicated that a gun battle brewed between the SEALs and bin Laden loyalists, accounts of the mission now vary. In the book “No Easy Day,” the former SEAL who authored the book and was a part of the mission, explained that the only shots fired by people in the compound happened in the guest house when the SEALs killed bin Laden’s courier.
In “SEAL Team 6,” Hudson claims that the gun battle appeared to be occurring in the building that bin Laden resided in — something that seems to conflict with some accounts.
For Hudson’s analysis, read his article on TheAtlantic.com.