Robert O’Neil says that he was the man who shot Osama Bin Laden.

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He is a former Navy SEAL and the Pentagon has confirmed was one of 23 Navy SEALs on SEAL Team Six that went on the mission to find Osama Bin Laden. He claims to have fired the shots that killed Osama bin Laden.  O’Neil said Friday that he was inspired to reveal his secret after meeting with the families of victims from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Robert O’Neil Describes What Happened On The Today Show

“This wasn’t my first mission. This was probably mission 400 plus. So, I took the shot because it was my primary threat and then I went to the secondary, tertiary threats. And that was to clear the room and make sure the other two in the room were properly taken care of.” – Robert O’Neil

Did O’Neil Shoot Bin Laden and Should He Even Be Talking About It?

There are conflicting reports whether he was the man who shot Osama Bin Laden, former Al Qaeda leader, or if SEALs are even supposed to disclose those kinds of details to anyone. He said that after speaking at an event for the families of victims of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and seeing the reactions of the families, he was inclined to speak out about what happened.

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Montana native, Robert O’Neil, being interviewed November 14, 2014 on NPR said that the families “found solace and closure” by knowing that Osama was killed and knowing who “punched his ticket”  made it seem “real” to them.

I think it’s a difficult secret to keep,” he told CBS News. All 23 SEALs who participated in the raid on a stronghold in Pakistan back  in 2011 were sworn to secrecy about the mission. Some say that there were thousands involved in the hunt for Osama and that O’Neil was merely the “tip of the spear” or the “triggerman” in the multi-year world-wide man hunt for Bin Laden.

Previously, a book published under the pen name “Mark Owen” by former Navy Seal Matt Bissonnette, is under investigation by the Pentagon.

“A former member of the Navy SEALs who wrote a best seller about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden is under criminal investigation for possibly disclosing classified material, according to federal officials and his lawyer.” (source: NY Times)

Don Mann, Also of SEAL Team Six, Talks About The Announcement

“These things have to be kept quiet for a number of reasons,” Don Mann, a former SEAL and author of Inside SEAL Team Six, said Sunday. “Talking out like this goes against the fabric of our community.” But Mann cuts O’Neill some slack: first of all, the government made it clear, shortly after bin Laden’s death, that SEAL Team 6 was responsible (“To me, that’s the bigger problem,” Mann says). Then Bissonnette took too much credit for his role, Mann believes. (Source: Time Magazine)

What Matters Most

I doubt that there will ever be consensus on an issue such as this, however there are a few points that everyone can agree on.

  1. Osama Bin Laden had to be removed, even if he was only a figure-head at that point and not operationally involved.
  2. The families of the victims of 9/11 deserve any small amount of comfort or closure we can give them.
  3. We need to do everything we can to guarantee the operational safety of our men and women in uniform.

Robert O’Neil does not seem to have a direct profit motive, as he is not promoting a book or product and he does work with a registered charitable organization.  However, he broken the code of secrecy that SEAL teams swear to uphold.  Even if his motives are honorable, the code is in place to protect our troops during and after their active duty, and that is a line he has crossed.

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