Former Navy Seal Robert O’Neill who says he fired the fatal shot that took down Osama bin Laden, in an audio interview aired on CNN, says it does not matter anymore if he is the shooter.
“The most important thing that I’ve learned in the last two years is to me it doesn’t matter anymore if I am ‘The Shooter.’ The team got him,” said the former Navy SEAL in an audio interview with freelance journalist Alex Quade, a former CNN correspondent, that aired Nov. 7 on CNN’s “AC360.”
“Regardless of the negativity that comes with it, I don’t give a f***. We got him,” he added.
O’Neill said, “I don’t care if I’m ‘The Shooter,’ and there are people who think I’m not. So whatever,” CNN reported.
In an interview with The Washington Post published Nov. 6, O’Neill publicly identified himself as the SEAL who killed bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan back in 2011.
O’Neill has been criticized by other Navy Seals for breaking an unwritten, unspoken code of not seeking attention for rendered services.
“We do not abide willful or selfish disregard for our core values in return for public notoriety or financial gain,” commanding officer B.L. Losey and force Master Sgt. M.L. Margaraci wrote in an October 31 letter to the Naval Special Warfare ranks, CNN reported.
Reacting to SEALs who have publicly detailed the bin Laden raid, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, echoed that letter during a briefing on Nov. 7, saying, “There’s an expectation inside that community, a code that they ascribe to, that they will not seek recognition for what that they do, and they will not seek financial gain from what they do.”
“I can’t speak to the motivation of the individuals that have either conducted interviews or chronicled their accomplishments in books,” he added. “But it’s fair to say that it doesn’t comport with that code.”
Kirby pointed out that the Pentagon is concerned that the SEAL’s may leak classified information in detailing the killing of bin Laden.
“So we are very concerned when anybody, regardless of whether it’s a special operator or note anybody who, in uniform, has access to sensitive or classified information, tactics, techniques procedures, and then when they’re no longer in uniform, decides to share that information publicly,” the Pentagon press secretary told reporters.
“That’s a deep concern to us. And it should be. It should [also] be a concern to the American people.”
“Nothing takes away our pride and esteem for the job that those individuals continue to do,” noted Kirby. “But there’s an obligation that comes with it, an obligation not to be candid about what they do.”
Former Navy SEAL Team Six member Matt Bissonnette detailed the bin Laden raid in his memoir, “No Easy Day,” which was written under the pseudonym Mark Owen and became a New York Times bestseller.
On May 2, 2011, in the wee hours of the Pakistani morning, 23 SEALs and their interpreter stormed bin Laden’s compound hideout killing the al Qaeda leader, two of his bodyguards, one of his sons, and the wife of one of the bodyguards. Two other women were also wounded in the assault.