Navy SEALs publicly clash over who killed bin Laden
Two former US Navy SEALs that took part in the raid at Osama bin Laden’s compound three years ago have told opposing versions of who ultimately killed the Al-Qaeda founder. The dispute over events is now materializing as both seek the spotlight.
As RT previously reported, former SEAL Team Six member Rob O’Neill - who was referred to only as “the shooter” in an Esquire magazine interview detailing the 2011 mission - went public this week as the person responsible for shooting Bin Laden three times in the forehead. Now Rob is set to appear in a Fox News series scheduled to air later this month where he will again be presented as the primary shooter.
In O’Neill’s version of events, as told to Esquire in 2013, the “point man” in the Abbottabad, Pakistan raid tackled two women as “the shooter” advanced, killing Bin Laden in another room.
SELFIE!!!.... Love NOLA! pic.twitter.com/43RfeL1VNF
— Robert O'Neill (@mchooyah) September 8, 2014
Yet his claims are disputed by another SEAL who came forward in 2012 with his own account of the raid. In ‘No Easy Day’, Mark Bissonnette, writing under the pseudonym ‘Mark Owen’, said the first person to enter bin Laden's room, the “point man,” was the SEAL to kill Bin Laden.
“Two different people telling two different stories for two different reasons,” Bissonnette told NBS News on Thursday.
“Whatever he says, he says. I don’t want to touch that.”
Bissonnette is scheduled to release next week a second book, titled ‘No Hero’, about his time as a SEAL.
The scramble for fortune or acclaim over the killing of Bin Laden was denounced by US military officials, namely a top commander of the Navy SEALs, a group tasked with clandestine operations, in an Oct. 31 letter to his troops.
“A critical tenet of our Ethos is 'I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions,’” wrote Rear Admiral Brian Losey, head of Naval Special Warfare Command, along with top enlisted sailor Force Master Chief Michael Magaraci.
“We do not abide willful or selfish disregard for our core values in return for public notoriety and financial gain, which only diminishes otherwise honorable service, courage and sacrifice."
“All members exposed to classified information have a duty obligation to protect this information, regardless of what may be reflected in the media, accurately or otherwise,” they added.
“We will actively seek judicial consequence for members who willfully violate the law, and place our teammates, our families, and potential future operations at risk.”
Bissonnette’s first book has already drawn ire from the Pentagon. He refused to offer the federal government a draft of ‘No Easy Day’ for legal review, and he is now under investigation for potentially disclosing classified information from the raid. He has said he was frustrated by who could and could not speak of the mission in the ensuing months.
“Everybody and their brother was talking about this,” Bissonnette said, according to NBC News. “How can you be holding it against me?”
After an illustrious military career that included dozens of decorations, O’Neill, 38, has since left the Navy and works as a motivational speaker based on his 16 years in the service. He reportedly decided to come forward in public after frustration over the loss of veterans’ benefits, as he did not serve a full 20-year term as is the standard for certain allowances from the service.
I'm not into dudes.... But this one looks GOOD.... pic.twitter.com/2t8m6Hcvap
— Robert O'Neill (@mchooyah) August 30, 2014
The 2011 raid was ordered by Obama after the CIA tracked Bin Laden’s courier to the Abbottabad compound. Emerging from Blackhawk helicopters, the SEAL Team Six pounced on the hideout. Bin Laden’s body was said to have been dumped at sea, though it was revealed over a year later that no Navy sailor witnessed the burial and there were no photographs or video evidence of the event.