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KBL: Kill Bin Laden: A Novel Based on True Events

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KBL: Kill Bin Laden: A Novel Based on True Events Overview

“Weisman is perhaps wired more tightly into the reclusive special operations community than any other writer, and his knowledge of weaponry and field techniques is staggering.” —Washington Times “A pro who knows his stuff.” —Oliver North John Weisman, whose expertise in the field of covert military operations is unsurpassed, delivers a stunning fictional account of the most extraordinary mission of the century: the hunting down and assassination of Osama Bin Laden, the most reviled killer of the twenty-first century, by US Navy SEALs. With KBL: Kill Bin Laden the critically acclaimed author of SOAR and Jack in the Box goes behind the headlines, carrying readers along on a breakneck, breathtakingly realistic chase—from planning to training to execution—as the evil mastermind behind the horror of 9/11 is finally brought to justice.

KBL: Kill Bin Laden: A Novel Based on True Events Excerpt


A Novel
By John Weisman

William Morrow

Copyright © 2011 John Weisman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780062119513

Chapter One

Abbottabad, Pakistan
December 5, 2010, 0821 Hours Local Time

The beggar was nervous. You couldn't tell by looking, but he was. Still,
he maintained his rounds. He wheeled himself onto the short street just
off Narian Link Road right after morning prayers at the Sakoon Mosque.
The shops were opening. He made his way up to the sidewalk tables in
front of the tearoom, just the way he always did.
He smiled "Good morning, brother" through broken, stained teeth
at Waseem, the tearoom proprietor, and accepted gratefully the tiny cup
of sweet, dark, steaming brew that Waseem offered him whenever he
showed up, sometimes in the morning, sometimes later.
Waseem rubbed his balding head. He admired the beggar. After all,
the beggar was mujahidin—he was even aptly named Shahid—a fighter
who had lost both his legs and most of four of his fingers when the
detested Americans had hit his Waziristan compound with a missile from
one of their armed Predator unmanned aerial vehicles that killed Muslims
without regard to their guilt or innocence.
Shahid had come to Abbottabad a little over a month ago. From
Peshawar, he'd said, and before that Waziristan. On his way to Islamabad.
It wasn't far. Maybe he'd get there someday, God willing, to collect the
money he was owed by the government, those Westernized thieves.
Judging from the rough Urdu-tinged accent, Waseem figured the beggar
gar was originally from up north, the rugged, harsh mountains close
to the Afghan border. Someplace like Drosh or Chitral. Places the
government—Waseem considered the president and most of the government
bureaucrats in Islamabad to be puppets of the detested Americans—
was afraid to go.
They grew them tough up there in the northwest. Thin-air Jihadis who
could carry sixty, seventy kilos on their backs all day, humping up and
down the passes like mountain sheep. God's warriors, who extracted a
good price from the Infidels. And sometimes paid one, too.
"A sweet, Brother Shahid?" Waseem always asked. You didn't want
to offend someone who'd put his life on the line defending Islam against
The beggar set down the two lengths of wood he used to push the
padded furniture dolly on which he traveled. "God bless you, Brother
"And you, Brother Shahid." Waseem excused himself and returned
almost immediately with a pastry dripping honey sitting on a small
rectangle of thin waxed tissue. He stood there in his shirtsleeves, pulled a
well-used handkerchief out of his rear pocket, and wiped his forehead as
if it were summer as he watched the beggar stuff the treat into his mouth
with ruined finger stubs, then wipe his lips with a ragged tunic sleeve.
"Are you well?"
The beggar shrugged and sipped tea. "As well I can be, thanks to God."
He emptied the cup and, using both hands, offered it back to Waseem.
The beggar looked around conspiratorially. "There were strangers here
yesterday. I saw them by the Bibi Amna Mosque."
"Yes," Waseem nodded. "Four of them in Army uniforms. Captains.
From Islamabad, I think." He paused. "Visiting the Military Academy,
from the look of them."
"God be praised." The beggar picked up his sticks. "I always wanted
to go to military school." He tapped his rag wrapped stumps with one of
them. "But God had other uses for me."
"God be praised."
The beggar sighed. "God be praised." And then he swiveled, pushed
off, and foot by foot wheeled himself down the street to the corner by
the Iqbal Market, where he sat for an hour, sometimes more, his back up
against the wall, his wooden bowl in front of him, collecting alms—and
It was the strangers who'd snagged the beggar's tripwire. Made him more
than slightly nervous.
They were Pashto-speakers. Accents? Islamabad, the beggar thought.
Maybe. Nah—better than maybe. But officers visiting the Pakistan Military
Academy? No fricking way. These guys didn't walk or talk like
soldiers. They were Intel professionals. They reeked ISI, Pakistan's
Inter-Services Intelligence. And it was well known to the beggar that significant
elements of ISI were sympathetic to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
Moreover, operating under military cover was a common ISI tactic.
In 2008 and 2009, some of the top-tier International Security Assistance
Force (ISAF) units in Afghanistan, units that hunted for HVTs—
high value targets, in military speak—operated with Pakistani "military
observers" embedded.
Except the embeds hadn't been military. They'd been ISI officers in
uniform, and they reported back to Islamabad on the HVT hunters'
sources, methods, and tactics.
And guess what? Shortly thereafter, HVTs in Afghanistan began to
change their tactics and methods. And shortly after that, not a few of
the sources who had led American forces to those HVTs were abducted,
tortured, and murdered.
More to the point, the beggar had eyeballed these guys, and they'd
been looking. Surveiling. Eliciting. Searching for an anomaly in this
garrison city of thirty-five thousand souls.
Hunting for something specific.
And the beggar, whose Infidel name was Charlie Becker and whose legs
and fingers had been blown off on Father's Day 2004 by an Al-Qaeda in an
Iraq suicide bomber just outside the city of Mahmudiya,
and who currently occupied a GS-15, Step 10, slot at SAD,
the Special Activities Division of the Central Intelligence Agency,
knew exactly what anomaly yesterday's strangers had been seeking.

They were looking for a CIA safe house. A safe house that had been
set up just about two months ago. A safe house that had been rented from
an unsuspecting owner by false-flag recruited, anti-American Pakistanis
who thought they were working for the Haqqani Network, a violent
Afghani militia based in Pakistan's North Waziristan, where they ran training
camps for foreign terrorists.
In point of fact, however, the hoodwinked Paks had rented the property
on behalf of their—and the Haqqanis'—sworn enemy: America's
Central Intelligence Agency.
Which then filled it with several million dollars' worth of high tech
eavesdropping and communications equipment, which was covertly,
painstakingly, meticulously shipped in and set up, piece by piece by piece.
This was Valhalla Base, the safe house for which it was Charlie's job
to provide counter surveillance and thus protection.
Charlie Becker, a retired U.S. Army Airborne Ranger master sergeant,
had spent just over five and a half years in rehab after what he called "the
nasty Iraqi incident." And since he had an innate talent for language, and
since he had no intention of not working for a living or writing a tell all
book or getting by on a disability pension, and since he was someone
who believed in the credo "Don't get mad, don't get even: get ahead,"
he'd spent that time prepping his mind as well as his body, learning the
languages his enemies spoke.
Learning to speak them like a native.
He was currently fluent in Urdu and Pashto, and his Arabic wasn't bad
either. Since January 2009 he'd spent most of his time down at Guantánamo
working interrogations. He'd volunteered for Gitmo because it was
the best way, he argued, to get his language skills where he wanted them.
The best way, he harangued, to discuss Quranic law in Pashto and Urdu
and get the damn phrases right. The best way, he knew right down to the
marrow in his bones, to learn how to pass.
Charlie was no fool. He had discovered in Iraq that he could pass for
Egyptian or Syrian. Until, that was, he opened his mouth. But now? Now
he had all the tools.
And when he learned that CIA had got this . . . thing going in Abbottabad,
he'd volunteered to play lonesome end and watch his comrades'
So he'd left his prostheses in his Special Activities Division locker,
set up in Camp Alpha, the secure compound in a far corner of Bagram
Air Base in Afghanistan. The selfsame Camp Alpha compound that sat
safely behind four layers of three-meter fence topped by concertina wire,
patrolled by K-9 security teams, and backstopped with a sensor system
that cost more than Bill Gates and Warren Buffett made in a year, plus
bonuses, combined.
It was the compound where, inside a hangar with a shielded roof that
couldn't be seen by any loitering ISAF unmanned aerial vehicle or
penetrated by Russkie or Chinese infrared or thermal-capable satellites, a
hangar large enough to store three C-17 Globemaster-IIIs, the CIA was
keeping some nasty little surprises for its most bodaciously, successfully
reclusive HVTs.
Knowing what was going on inside that hangar and getting a peek at
the items therein had been hugely motivational for Charlie Becker.
Which was why for six weeks he lived outside the hangar in the same
clothes he was wearing now, with nothing but the cardboard shelter he'd
constructed himself to shield him from the elements, and consuming the
same seasoned lentil stew, roti flat bread, and sweet tea diet consumed by
most poor Pakistanis. He bathed only occasionally, except for his stumps
and hands, which he washed religiously before dawn, morning, noon,
afternoon, and evening prayers, prayers he recited with the passion of the
Salafist Jihadi into which he was metamorphosing.
He drank tepid Pak tap water and zam-zam fruit milkshakes brought
in from Abbottabad until his gut got used to them, which meant he
wasn't shitting twelve times in one day or one time in twelve.
He practiced getting around on the padded furniture dolly—built
from materials scrounged entirely in Pakistan—until it was second
nature, worked on his Pashto until he was dreaming in the language, and
radiated Pashtunwali from every pore. Then he ran himself through four
weeks of painful, intense preparation until he knew his legend was firm,
his cover secure, and his body ready for Show Time.


Excerpted from KBL by John Weisman Copyright © 2011 by John Weisman. Excerpted by permission of William Morrow. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

KBL: Kill Bin Laden: A Novel Based on True Events Editorial Reviews

Matthew Dunn

…superb…Weisman's research is excellent, and he clearly has expert sources. He's adept at explaining the complex structure of the special operations units in a straightforward, conversational and sometimes humorous manner. As a former MI6 agent who's used to reading inaccuracies in thrillers, I was delighted to note that every chapter here feels right…KBL is undoubtedly the best work of fiction I've read about CIA paramilitary activities.
—The Washington Post

Publishers Weekly

Impressively detailed and imagined, Weisman’s fictional account of the hunt for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden will resonate with armchair patriots. Weisman, the coauthor with Richard Marcinko of 1992’s Rogue Warrior and eight subsequent Rogue Warrior novels, knows the ins and outs of covert operations and high-tech weaponry, all of which come to bear in this fast-paced narrative focused on the last stages of the search for the world’s most wanted man. The novel opens in December 2010 with Charlie Becker, a crippled American veteran, deeply undercover as a beggar on the streets of Abbottabad, Pakistan, looking for signs that bin Laden is nearby. The author convincingly renders what could have happened in the following months—including the intelligence gathering, the military preparation, and the political intrigues—that resulted in bin Laden’s death in May. Fans of vintage Tom Clancy will find a lot to like. Those looking for nuance should seek elsewhere. (One-day laydown Nov. 15)

Bing West

"An extraordinary look inside Special Operations Forces at the team level. Based on three decades of dogged, accurate and mature reporting, Weisman has developed credibility inside the secret community of special ops. This book ties together the strands of detective work, spy craft and commando skills."

New York Times

"We will probably never get the full, true account of how Osama bin Laden was found and killed in Pakistan. Mr. Weisman’s novelization of the mission is the next best thing."

Washington Post

"Weisman’s research is excellent, and he clearly has expert sources. He’s adept at explaining the complex structure of the special operations units . . . As a former MI6 agent who’s used to reading inaccuracies in thrillers, I was delighted to note that every chapter here feels right."

New York Journal of Books

"Mr. Weisman’s research is thorough, and there is no shortage of CIA and military lore woven into KBL’s pages . . . he brings them all together in a narrative so real that readers will quickly forget that it is fiction."

Washington Independent Review of Books

"KBL tells the story so well that you keep turning the pages even though you know the ending."

Washington Times

"A good and informative read."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"KBL: Kill Bin Laden won’t be closed until you finish it."

Iron Mountain Daily News

"With keen insight into both the tactical and political measures at stake in this momentous strike, Weisman has penned an account that, though technically a work of fiction, resonates with credibility."

US Daily Review

"A book worth reading, not to mention adding to the home, school, and public libraries in every town and city in America. If you want to learn how the brave men and women of our special forces and intelligence agencies really do business . . . pick up a copy."

"A great tale about a great mission."

Dallas Morning News

"Whether you call it a novel or a fictional narrative, as Weisman says, ‘based on true events,’ the story . . . stands as one of the most compelling and interesting for news-minded Americans."

American Thinker

"This book is very believable and well-developed with clear and concise details . . . What a reader will take away from this novel is an increased appreciation for the job that intelligence and Special Forces do: their passion, diligence, perseverance, and grit."

Robert Baer

"Absolutely gripping. KBL: Kill Bin Laden describes a true story that can only be told in fiction. It also enthrallingly shows how SEALs are the future of warfare in the 21st century."

Dan Rather

"A stunner and a riveting read. KBL is rife with realism and a true-to-life portrayal of hard-core warriors, their ethos and their world."

Joseph Wambaugh

"KBL is an amazing tour de force. This is as close as you will get to the pulse-pounding, incredibly daring mission to find and Kill Bin Laden."

ADM James "Ace" Lyons

"This is a must-read book for anyone who wants to understand the meticulous planning and preparation that must go into carrying out a raid to kill the most wanted terrorist in the world, Usama Bin Laden, and the unselfish dedication that drives our ‘special warriors.’"

John Perkins

"John Weisman has done it again! KBL is the latest of his books that probe beneath the facts of world-changing events to expose the deeper meanings and truths and lay bare the raw passions of people who throw themselves into such situations."

Douglas Waller

"John Weisman has written an intriguing tale. Try guessing where fiction ends in KBL and fact takes over."

William S. Cohen

"There are only a few authors who are able to climb inside the culture, mindset, and passions of the people who conduct covert and special operations. SOAR reveals why John Weisman is the best in the business in writing about it."

Readers' Reviews

KBL: Kill Bin Laden: A Novel Based on True Events

Book Info

  • Book Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13: 9780062127877
  • ISBN-10: 006212787X
  • Number of Pages: 384
  • Dimensions: 4.30 (w) x 6.62 (h) x 1.06 (d)
  • Approx Price: $7.99
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