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Answer Man: 'Theory' too grand a word for a hoax

Dear Answer Man, I was having lunch with a colleague the other day and she and I were discussing the attack and then killing of Osama bin Laden. She stated that all of the Navy SEALs who were involved with that raid on bin Laden's compound and his killing have died since that attack. She implied that their deaths were questionable. I do not know nor do I want to believe that the U.S. government would eliminate the men that serve our country, especially the men who took down our No. 1 terrorist.

Is this true or just a conspiracy theory? Please enlighten me. — Curious Curt

To call it a "conspiracy theory" is to give it more credibility than it deserves. It's not a theory, it's a hoax.

It's been a hoax since far-right websites began peddling it a few years ago, and for whatever reason it's making the rounds again. Some far-left magazines and websites are also skeptical about the raid.

Because of the top secret nature of what the Navy SEALs do, it's impossible for the news media to go man by man through the list of personnel involved and determine who's still alive and who's not. It's not even clear how many people were involved in the raid — the New York Times has reported as many as 80 military personnel, and others have said it was more like 25.


SEAL Team Six , which led the raid, lost 22 members when the Taliban shot down a helicopter in April 2011, but none were involved in the bin Laden raid, according to reports.

There are no credible reports that all SEALs involved in the raid have died or that the circumstances were "questionable," as in, caused by their own government.

Having said that, if a person chooses to believe in conspiracies — such as that the bin Laden raid never occurred, or the U.S. never put a man on the moon — I really can't help with that.

On the QT

All I can tell you is this:

A very notable Rochester hotel, not necessarily a downtown hotel, has an important change coming up, well-placed sources tell me. A management change? An ownership change? To be confirmed, but you heard it here first.

While I'm trafficking in gossip, I'll just note that I've heard very interesting things about a beautiful downtown building. Key people deny it, but I'm not convinced.

Want more? You'll have to help me with your inside information.


No cremations

Mike Johnson, the proprietor of Rochester Cremation Services , called Thursday afternoon after our chat about his new facility near Barlow Plaza and corrected himself: cremations are not performed at that location. He said he contracts for cremations to be done elsewhere.

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