The new account of the bin Laden raid provided by the serving SEAL Team 6 operator is essentially the same as in Bissonnette's "No Easy Day." Bissonnette says he was one of the first to run into the bedroom and he saw that the point man's shots had mortally wounded bin Laden. Bissonette says he then shot the dying al Qaeda leader as he lay on the floor.
Present and former members of SEAL Team 6 say they regard Bissonnette as more credible than the Shooter.
In a previous CNN.com story about the Esquire profile, I noted that I was the only outside observer allowed to tour bin Laden's Abbottabad compound before it was demolished in late February 2012.
During that tour, I looked around the bedroom where bin Laden was killed. The Pakistani military officers who were guiding me pointed out a patch of dark, dried blood on the low ceiling of bin Laden's bedroom. This patch of congealed blood seems to be consistent with the Shooter's story that he fired two shots at the forehead of a "surprisingly tall terrorist" while he was standing up. At the time, the precise location of bin Laden when he was shot was not a matter of dispute.
But the blood patch could also be consistent with the account that it was the "point man" who first shot bin Laden. The point man is 5 feet 6 inches tall and was shooting upward at a tall man as he poked his head out of his bedroom.
The compound is, of course, now gone, so it is no longer possible to reconstruct what happened the night of the raid based on forensic evidence, although it is possible the Abbottabad Commission, a panel that was appointed by the Pakistani government to look into the raid, could shed some light on this question should its findings ever be publicly released.
Finally, by all accounts, it was a confusing situation the night of the raid. One of the SEAL team's helicopters had crashed and there was a firefight with one of bin Laden's bodyguards. All the electricity in the compound and the surrounding neighborhood was off on a moonless night and the SEALs were all wearing night vision goggles, which only allowed them limited vision.
What seems incontrovertible is that the point man, the Shooter and Bissonnette were the first three SEALs to assault bin Laden's bedroom. But to determine exactly which of them killed the al Qaeda leader may never be possible.
What is certain is that it was a team effort.
Five days after the bin Laden raid, members of the SEAL team who carried out the mission briefed President Barack Obama. According to those in the room, the SEAL team commander explained to the president, "If you took one person out of the puzzle, we wouldn't have the competence to do the job we did; everybody's vital. It's not about the guy who pulled the trigger to kill bin Laden, it's about what we all did together."