The Navy SEAL who recently went public as the man who killed Osama bin Laden is now facing criticism and doubt from fellow SEALs who say his version of the story may not be entirely accurate.
Opposing Views ran the story earlier this week of Robert O’Neill, a now-retired Navy SEAL who says he killed bin Laden during a May 2011 raid on the al-Qaeda leader’s hideout in Pakistan.
O’Neill’s story is that he shot bin Laden three times in the head at close range. But that story has come under scrutiny. The Daily Mail reports one SEAL source has said in an interview that there is reason to doubt what O’Neill claims.
“The real shooter would never discuss it publicly,” said the unnamed source. “Members of SEAL Team Six haven’t discussed it publicly so there’s a reasonable chance he’s not being truthful.”
Another source reportedly said other SEAL members were expected to comment anonymously, criticizing O’Neill’s decision to speak about the operation.
Prior to O’Neill coming forward, another SEAL who took part in the Pakistan raid, Matt Bissonette, also claimed to fire the fatal shots at bin Laden.
In his book “No Easy Day,” which tells the story of the SEAL Team Six raid on bin Laden’s compound, Bissonette claims the terrorist leader had been shot once in the head once when he entered the room. Bin Laden was twitching and convulsing on the floor when he and another team member fired shots into his chest killing him.
But a back and forth about whose version is true is not an argument Bissonette seems willing to have.
“Two different people telling two different stories for two different reasons,” he told NBC News in a recent interview. “Whatever he says, he says. I don’t want to touch that.”
O’Neill’s version of the story first surfaced last year when he agreed to an anonymous interview with Esquire magazine. His identity has remained a secret until he recently came forward in anticipation of an interview he is scheduled to do with Fox News later this month.
He and Bissonette have both come under fire from Navy leadership who say keeping details of missions secret is an important responsibility of SEALs.
“A critical tenant (sic) of our Ethos is ‘I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions,’” reads an Oct. 31 letter to present and former SEALs from Force Master Chief Michael Magaraci and Rear Adm. Brian Losey.
The source who spoke with the Daily Mail said that “code of secrecy” is likely the very thing that will make finding out the truth difficult.
“There is no way O’Neill could really prove it was he who took the fatal shot on Osama bin Laden unless his comrades all attested to it,” the source said. “But again, the code of secrecy with these special operators would preclude that.”
Photo Source: Daily Mail