US shooter of Bin Laden identifies himself

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November 7, 2014

A retired US Navy commando who says he shot al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the forehead has publicly identified himself amid a debate among special operations brethren about whether they should break silence about their secret missions.

Retired Navy commando tells newspaper he shot al-Qaeda chief in the forehead during raid in his Pakistan hideout.

November 7, 2014

A retired US Navy commando who says he shot al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the forehead has publicly identified himself amid a debate among special operations brethren about whether they should break silence about their secret missions.

Retired Navy commando tells newspaper he shot al-Qaeda chief in the forehead during raid in his Pakistan hideout.

Robert O'Neill, 38, told The Washington Post in an interview that he fired the two shots that killed bin Laden. He first recounted the story in February 2013 to Esquire magazine, which identified him only as "the shooter."

One current and one former SEAL, as the commandos are called, confirmed to The Associated Press that O'Neill was long known to have fired the shots that killed the leader of the armed group responsible for the September 11 attacks. Bin Laden was killed in a secret US mission in Abbottabad of Pakistan on May 2, 2011.

The day Osama Bin Laden was shot

O'Neill told the Post that shots also were fired by two other SEAL team members, including Matt Bissonnette, who described the raid somewhat differently in his book, "No Easy Day." His lawyer said Bissonnette is under federal criminal investigation over whether he disclosed classified information in the book, which he did not vet with the military. In the Esquire piece, O'Neill makes no mention of Bissonnette shooting bin Laden.O'Neill discussed his role in the raid during a private meeting with relatives of victims of the September 11,2001 attack on New York's World Trade Center before the recent opening of the National September 11 Memorial Museum.

He donated the shirt he was wearing in the operation, which is now on display there.The actions of both O'Neill and Bissonnette have drawn scorn from some of their colleagues. In an October 31 open letter, Rear Admiral Brian Losey, who commands the Naval Special Warfare Group, and Force Master Chief Petty Officer Michael Magaraci, the top non-commissioned officer of the group, urged SEALs to lower their public profile.

Their comments were widely perceived as being aimed at O'Neill and Bissonnette."At Naval Special Warfare's core is the SEAL ethos," the letter says. "A critical tenant of our ethos is 'I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions.'"


Courtesy: Al Jazeera