The mission, like commando raids throughout history, depended on discretion and absolute secrecy. For those who took part, it was supposed to stay that way.
Not a chance though, when this particular raid successfully took down the most wanted and most infamous man on the planet - and America's entertainment industry, money and politics entered the fray.
Thus it has been with the death of Osama bin Laden, ever since the US Navy Seals Team Six entered the nondescript compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in the early hours of May 2, 2011, and killed the al Qaeda leader, almost 10 years after he masterminded the bloodiest-ever attack on US soil. Since then, time has brought not clarity but confusion, culminating in flatly contradictory accounts of precisely how bin Laden died, from the very Seals who were supposed never to talk about it at all.
The March issue of Esquire magazine, in The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden, says it was a Seal referred to simply as "the Shooter", now no longer in the military.
But in recent days the Esquire profile has come under fire. Then CNN's Peter Bergen, its terror analyst and long-time bin Laden expert, weighed in, interviewing an anonymous Seal Team Six operator who told him that the Shooter "is talking complete bull".
Esquire is standing by its story.
But which of the Seals actually killed bin Laden may never be known. The further from the actual event in question, the harder facts become to verify.