Osama Bin Laden Raid: Report Casts Doubt on Helmet-Cam Footage

New Yorker: Contrary to reports, SEALs were not wearing helmet-mounted cameras.

August 1, 2011 — -- After the historic Navy SEAL raid that took out Osama bin Laden in early May, officials from the U.S. government shared an extraordinary amount of information about the top secret operation, including the revelation that the whole thing had actually been captured on video by cameras mounted on the SEALs' helmets.

Several top U.S. officials said the video -- which reportedly contains the moment the al Qaeda leader was killed -- would not be made public, but a new report is calling into question whether the footage exists at all.

The report, slated for publication this week by The New Yorker, says that no helmet-cams were involved in the operation. The New Yorker's report offers a detailed account of the raid, but admits that parts may be "imprecise" since it can only be recreated based on recollection.

CBS News first reported the existence of the helmet-mounted cameras, and top U.S. officials confirmed to several news organizations, including ABC News, at the time that some of the SEALs had worn them. That information was based on initial reports received by officials in Washington, D.C.

The New Yorker article does not cite any specific sources for its information on the helmet-cams, but bases other account details on U.S. officials involved in the operation.

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Spokesmen for the Department of Defense and U.S. Special Operations Command declined to comment for this report about the existence of the helmet-mounted cameras.

"We have not released any information on that operation, nor will we," U.S. SOCOM public affairs officer Ken McGraw told ABC News.

When a tense President Obama and national security team watched the operation unraveling from the White House's Situation Room -- a moment now immortalized in an iconic photograph -- it was reported they were not watching live feeds from any helmet-cams, but instead a feed from a drone buzzing thousands of feet above the SEALs' heads.

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