In the official photograph, he looked every inch the commander in chief.
Strain etched on his face, Barack Obama watched as the raid to kill Osama bin Laden played out on a television in front of him.
According to a new book, however, the President was not nearly that engaged – and was actually playing golf until 20 minutes before the operation began in earnest.
Only then did he down his clubs and return to the White House to watch what he later trumpeted as a great success of his presidency.
A new book claims the official account was riddled with errors
The claims are from Chuck Pfarrer, a former SEAL team commander, in a book called SEAL Target Geronimo.
He has spoken to several of the men who carried out the operation at Bin Laden’s mansion hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2.
Mr Pfarrer paints a very different picture to the official photo released at the time which shows Mr Obama and advisers huddled round a table in the White House situation room as footage was beamed from a drone 15,000ft above the al-Qaeda leader’s mansion.
Mr Pfarrer says the President’s role was largely inflated and suggests he stayed out on the golf course for so long so he could distance himself in case it went wrong. Mr Pfarrer writes: ‘If this had completely gone south, he was in a position to disavow.’
He says the White House photographs did not show the moment that Bin Laden was killed, but the moment a helicopter went down, which happened after the shooting.
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