Yesterday, the New Yorker published a retelling of the Osama bin Laden raid, more than three months after it happened.
The story, “Getting Bin Laden,” spread like wildfire.
A day later, the New Yorker announced that it has sold more than 20,000 annual paid iPad subscriptions since Conde Nast overhauled its iPad magazine strategy in May.
The numbers for the eye-candy-less app showed that readers preferred words over anything flashy. The bin Laden piece also further affirmed that the New Yorker is still doing what it does best: telling long-form stories, on its own timeline.
This retelling, by author Nicholas Schmidle, is so good because it reveals new details about the raid and planning behind it. Some of our favorite nuggets from the story are below:
1. New details about the Belgian Malinois raid dog.
Dubbed Cairo in the story, the Belgian Malinois who went on the raid has been a subject of endless fascination. This story reveals that Cairo was ready to find false walls or hidden doors in the compound. Cairo also stood watch outside the building while the SEALs team went inside. When President Obama hear about Cairo’s role, he asked to meet him, treats in hand.
2. More on SEAL Team 6.
It’s hard to believe, but members of SEAL Team 6 had actually entered Pakistan 10-12 times before the raid. Most of those visits were to the country’s tribal areas.
3. Other ways bin Laden could have been killed.
The story details a number of fascinating alternate scenarios: Troops outside Abbottabad. Sneaking into the compound on foot. Tunneling under the compound. It all sounds unbelievable, until you think about how bin Laden was actually killed.
4. The curious locals who could have given it away.
In addition to a man named Sohaib Athar who accidentally tweeted the raid, other locals also were suspicious about sounds coming out of the compound. A Pakistani-American translator who was part of the SEAL team got rid of them by saying in Pashto: “Go back to your houses. There is a security operation underway.”
5. More on bin Laden’s body.
After the raid, a controversy arose over the way bin Laden’s body would be laid to rest. And now we find out this about the body: After the raid, SEALs took bin Laden’s body to the Afghan city of Jalalabad so that Adm. William McRaven, who had overseen the operation, could see the corpse in person.
Read the full New Yorker story here.