The sky was moonless on the night of May 1, 2011, as two MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters flew toward a walled compound in an upscale enclave of Abbottabad, Pakistan. A power outage further drenched the city in blackness.
To the 23 Navy SEALs fast-roping to the ground, the conditions could not have been better. Under the cover of darkness, they crept toward the home of the world’s most wanted man and stormed inside.
The timing was by design. When retired Navy Adm. Bill McRaven, then the head of U.S. Joint Special Operations Command, scheduled the raid on Osama bin Laden’s home, he did so based partly on the lunar cycle. As for that power outage, although McRaven called it a total coincidence, it may have been more than that.