The new details suggested that the raid, though chaotic and bloody, was extremely one-sided, with a force of more than 20 Navy Seal members quickly dispatching the handful of men protecting Bin Laden.
Administration officials said that the only shots fired by those in the compound came at the beginning of the operation, when Bin Laden’s trusted courier, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, opened fire from behind the door of the guesthouse adjacent to the house where Bin Laden was hiding.
After the Seal members shot and killed Mr. Kuwaiti and a woman in the guesthouse, the Americans were never fired upon again.
This account differs from an official version of events issued by the Pentagon on Tuesday, and read by the White House spokesman, Jay Carney, which said the Seal members “were engaged in a firefight throughout the operation.”
In a television interview on PBS on Tuesday, Leon E. Panetta, the director of the C.I.A., said, “There were some firefights that were going on as these guys were making their way up the staircase of that compound.”
Administration officials said the official account of events has changed over the course of the week because it has taken time to get thorough after-action reports from the Seal team. And, they added, because the Special Operations troops had been fired upon as soon as they touched down in the compound, they were under the assumption that everyone inside was armed.
“They were in a threatening and hostile environment the entire time,” one American official said.
When the commandos moved into the main house, they saw the courier’s brother, who they believed was preparing to fire a weapon. They shot and killed him. Then, as they made their way up the stairs of the house, officials said they killed Bin Laden’s son Khalid as he lunged toward the Seal team.
When the commandos reached the top floor, they entered a room and saw Osama bin Laden with an AK-47 and a Makarov pistol in arm’s reach. They shot and killed him, as well as wounding a woman with him.
The firefight over and Bin Laden dead, the team found a trove of information and had the time to remove much of it: about 100 thumb drives, DVDs and computer disks, along with 10 computer hard drives and 5 computers. There were also piles of paper documents in the house.
Now do a story on how the White House is mucking up the story enough that they can't help but cause conspiracy theories.