The unidentified SEALs who spoke recently to CNN and SOFREP said certain parts of Esquire's Shooter account don't add up, such as the idea the Shooter knew bin Laden was a threat because he had a weapon nearby. They said that none of the SEALs knew that an AK-47 was nearby until minutes after bin Laden was killed when they found it during a search of the compound. It was stashed above the bedroom doorway, where the Shooter would not have seen it as he entered, they said.
In addition, the Shooter's detractors claimed the men on the mission had been told to try not shoot bin Laden in the head for identification purposes, meaning the Shooter either ignored that directive when he was just feet from his target, or, in their opinion, it was more likely the point man's shots were the ones that killed bin Laden well before the SEALs knew who it was they had hit.
Phil Bronstein, the executive chairman of the Center for Investigative Reporting and author of the Esquire article, told ABC News Wednesday he "absolutely" stands by his original story and said arguments like those made by the other SEALs are "extraordinarily speculative... about what they would've done, what they shouldn't have done."
Bronstein also referred ABC News to Wednesday's statement from Esquire's Editor in Chief, David Granger, which defended the Esquire story, saying that facts of the original article had been vetted by SEAL Team Six members.
"Multiple members of SEAL Team Six confirmed the Shooter was one of those two [first on the top floor] and reported to us that it was known within the unit that the Shooter had fired the fatal shots," Granger wrote. "Other individuals briefed on the mission confirmed this to us."
A spokesperson for the U.S. Special Operations Command, which oversees the Joint Special Operations Command that launched the raid, told ABC News the command wouldn't be the one to settle the controversy anytime soon. He declined to comment on operations and said the official version of events probably wouldn't be declassified for more than two decades.
That leaves the point man, the only SEAL in the room when bin Laden breathed his last who hasn't spoken publicly, to throw his hat in the ring. And according to the CNN and SOFREP reports and the ex-SEAL with whom ABC News spoke, he's not the type to trade the special warfare shadows for the media spotlight. Not "in a million years," the CNN report said.
One thing every account does agree on is that the point man was one of the heroes of that night for risking his life to tackle the two women closest to bin Laden.
"If either woman had on a suicide vest, he probably saved our lives, but it would've cost him his," Owen wrote in "No Easy Day." "It was a selfless decision made in a split second."
"He thought he was going to absorb the blast of suicide vests; he was going to kill himself so I could get the shot. It was the most heroic thing I've ever seen," the Shooter said in Esquire.