Ex-SEAL: No apologies for going public

The former Navy SEAL who says he killed Osama bin Laden is going public.

Robert O’Neill, a retired Navy SEAL, exposed his identity to the world last week as a key member of the Special Forces team that shot and killed the al qaeda leader in 2011.


In D.C. for a media tour, O’Neill gave an extensive interview to the Associated Press on Friday detailing the final moments of bin Laden’s life.

"The last thing I want to do is endanger anybody," he said, making no apologies for publicizing his story. "I think the good (of going public) outweighs the bad."

After “assaulting” bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and “killing three men and a woman,” O’Neill described how he followed “an unnamed point man into bin Laden’s bedroom and the point man tackled two women, believing they had a bomb.”

“A few feed in front of me, on two fee, was Osama bin Laden. I shot him three times in the head and I killed him,” the AP quotes O’Neill as saying in the interview.

His view of the story has miffed some Special Forces members, former SEAL Jonathan Gilliam said in an interview.

Gilliam told the AP, “we work in secret and we pride ourselves on that, so if somebody comes out and spills this much, it angers the rest of us.”

Going public with his story has exposed O’Neill to critics and skeptics who question if his shots killed bin Laden, the AP notes – citing interviews with several Navy SEALS who point out that the Pentagon is unclear whose shots actually killed bin Laden.

A separate account of the mission by fellow SEAL Matt Bissonnette, indicates that O’Neill shot the al qaeda leader “when he was already down.” 

Still, O’Neill has had a successful career in the elite covert forces – having won two Silver and five Bronze Stars, for the role he played in several other dangerous missions portrayed in Hollywood movies.

O’Neill was involved in the mission to rescue a captain of a merchant ship taken hostage by Somali pirates – featured in the movie “Captain Phillips,” and he helped to rescue the sole survivor of a SEAL team attacked while tracking a Taliban leader – featured in the movie “Lone Survivor.”

As for Bissonnette’s account of the bin Laden mission in the book “No Easy Day,” O’Neill disputes it but calls his former teammate a “hero.”