I had planned on ignoring the recent passing of the anniversary of Operation Neptune Spear, not because the SEAL Team Six mission that killed Osama Bin Laden wasn’t important, but rather because so much has happened since then. So many other Special Operations missions have been executed since 2011 and many have made the ultimate sacrifice. I’ve also written and commented a bit about the operation over the years so it hardly seemed like something worth re-hashing, however there is one subject that is always in the back of my mind, one that I am surprised that other media outlets have not picked up on. That is the question of what really happened to Bin Laden’s corpse.
Some of you will no doubt reply, who cares? Dead is dead. Fair enough. For the rest of you, there are some interesting details worth noting. The official story was of course that Bin Laden’s corpse was loaded onto a helicopter and flown to Afghanistan where his body was examined by various SOCOM personnel, then flown to the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier in northern Arabian Sea.
Heavily redacted internal Navy e-mails surrounding the incident were released via a Freedom of Information Act request made by judicial watch. In one e-mail Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette asks the Rear Admiral Samuel Perez, “any news of the package for us?” Perez replies that, “FEDEX package delivered. Both trucks are safely en route home base.” The FEDEX package was ostensibly a code word for Bin Laden’s corpse, but there is not any substantiating evidence of this. Due to the many redactions in the e-mails, there is no actual mention of Bin Laden’s remains nor is there is evidence that the FEDEX package is a reference to Bin Laden. It could mean anything. Was FEDEX an actual OPSKED developed by the Department of Defense for Operation Neptune Spear, or just a pet name used as short hand between to two Rear Admirals? Again, we don’t really know.
Another of the released e-mails written by Rear Admiral Gaouette describes burial at sea procedures, but again does not actually mention Bin Laden by name. Between two redacted blocks of information it reads: