Getting at the Truth in “Getting Bin Laden”

The New Yorker article “Getting Bin Laden” is, no doubt, an exciting piece of writing, but is it factual?

Journalist Paul Fahri, writing in the Washington Post, criticized the credibility of Schmidle’s account:

Schmidle says he wasn’t able to interview any of the 23 Navy SEALs involved in the mission itself. Instead, he said, he relied on the accounts of others who had debriefed the men.

But a casual reader of the article wouldn’t know that; neither the article nor an editor’s note describes the sourcing for parts of the story. Schmidle, in fact, piles up so many details about some of the men, such as their thoughts at various times, that the article leaves a strong impression that he spoke with them directly.

Thanks to Emily Burke for posting this article on the Y:1 facebook page–“Correcting the Fairy Tale.”  In it an author with access to the SEALs says that actually he knows the complete truth of what happened inside the operation that killed bin Laden.



About dgriffith

Dave Griffith is Assistant Professor of English at Sweet Briar College. He is the author of A Good War is Hard to Find: The Art of Violence in America.
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