I can’t understand the changing narrative of the Bin Laden event itself, even as I applaud the White House for correcting parts of it as quickly as it could. It is as if they made no preparation for reporting this event, considered no strategies other than giving out information as fast as they could, had no awareness that an operation as complex as this, involving a team of people, will have to be a story pieced together from what each team member saw and did, as best those people can remember. Every contingency the SEALs prepared for probably deserved a corresponding strategy for how it would be reported.
The solution to the chaotic narrative development is not to say, as the WH is reported to have done, that it will report no more details as, if they were appropriate prior to this time when they were inaccurate, they are surely more important as more and more of the story emerges. At some future point they are probably going to want to release more facts.
SEAL Team Six, with some CIA personnel, carried out this operation after months of rigorous training for it and mindful of some previous disasters when we’ve tried operations of this type. They worked with a full-scale model of the compound, to the degree they had details necessary to construct one. They planned to be successful killing or capturing a “high value target” thought likely to be Bin Laden. I am also confident they had plans for other contingencies ranging from success to disaster.
The White House should take a lesson (maybe more than one) from the SEALs.