"Blood and brains spilled out of the side of his skull," a passage in the book says, according to The Huffington Post, which first obtained a copy of "No Easy Day" written by a former SEAL Team Six member under the pseudonym Mark Owen.
In the book, the author said he was right behind the "point man" who first shot bin Laden after the al Qaeda leader poked his head out of a doorway on one of the upper floors of the complex in Abbottabad, Pakistan. At the time, it wasn't immediately clear if those shots had connected.
"We were less than five steps from getting to the top when I heard suppressed shots. BOP. BOP," Owen writes of the May 2011 raid, according to the Huffington Post and The Associated Press, which also obtained a copy. "I couldn't tell from my position if the rounds hit the target or not. The man disappeared into the room."
It wasn't until several SEAL Team Six members entered the room that Owen learned some of the first shots hit their mark and that Osama bin Laden was the man bleeding and twitching on the ground with an apparent shot to the head. Still, Owen and another SEAL pointed their laser sights at his chest and "fired several rounds. The bullets tore into him, slamming his body into the floor until he was motionless."
The reported account appears to differ from earlier versions of the al Qaeda leader's last moments as told by U.S. officials, including that of White House spokesperson Jay Carney. In those accounts, the SEALs had entered the room before bin Laden was shot, that one of bin Laden's wives charged the SEALs and that bin Laden had "resisted" before he was killed, even if he was unarmed.
"No Easy Day" does say that two women were in the room when bin Laden died, but they were wailing over his body when the SEALs entered, the AP reported.
White House national security spokesman Tommy Veitor declined to comment to The Associated Press on the discrepancies, but told the AP and ABC News, "As President Obama said on the night that justice was brought to Osama bin Laden, 'We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country.'"
Owen also reportedly writes that the SEALs were told in a pre-raid briefing the mission was not an assassination and that bin Laden should be detained should he pose no threat.
Reports on the leaked copies came just hours after the book's publisher, Dutton, announced it was moving up the publishing date to Sept. 4 from its original intended release on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The move came after the book became the center of widespread controversy over possible national security breaches.
Officials from the White House to the Department of Defense to the CIA have said they were unaware of the book and had not reviewed it for possible leaks at the time of the first media reports. A Department of Defense spokesperson said Monday the department had received a copy of the manuscript and had begun reviewing it for potential security issues.
Today two defense officials told ABC News they had read the book, and one said it does not appear to reveal any big secrets but does describe some tactics and techniques used by the SEALs. The two officials said that two groups in the Department of Defense, one from special operations and one from intelligence, were still making their official review of the book.
When it came to the inconsistencies, one of the officials noted that the official narrative was updated several times and "this is one individual's perspective."
"We're not going to confirm or deny what he's written," the official said.
The former SEAL Team Six member who wrote the book said through Dutton Tuesday that he's "proud" to have written his account for the public.
"My hope is that it gives my fellow Americans a glimpse into how much of an honor it is to serve our country," Owen said. "It is written with respect for my fellow service members while adhering to my strict desire not to disclose confidential or sensitive information that would compromise national security in any way."
Dutton said Owen plans to donate a majority of the proceeds from his book to charities that help the families of fallen Navy SEALs.