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Ex-SEAL to Newsmax: Why I Shot Bin Laden in the Head

By    |   Thursday, 20 November 2014 05:22 PM

Robert O'Neill, the former Navy SEAL who shot and killed Osama bin Laden, told Newsmax TV that the 9/11 mastermind signed his own death warrant when he refused to give himself up.

"I was the first American to see Osama bin Laden alive and I shot him in the face three times because he was not surrendering. That was it," O'Neill said Thursday on "The Steve Malzberg Show."

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O'Neill was part of a team of elite special forces unit code-named Operation Neptune Spear that stormed bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011.

He said his decision to publicly identify himself — which has been criticized by the government — was made in part to help the nation bring closure to 9/11.

"It's been quite an experience. I'm recognized a few times in airports and I've been to professional sporting events where I've been recognized by people," he said.

"I've gotten emails through friends from people that I don't know … just thanking me and my team for what we did to give them closure because a lot of them lost loved ones on 9/11.

"Even people that didn't lose loved ones, obviously this nation, this world, was affected by 9/11. So it's been overwhelmingly positive.... People [are] just thanking me and asking me even to thank my team."

O'Neill said it was luck that helped make him the man who would confront — and kill — the world's most wanted criminal.

"I've been lucky a number of times being in the right place at the right time," he said.

"I happened to find myself in a number two position behind a guy that had already been doing amazing things the entire way up the stairs.

"He did one more selfless act when he basically jumped on a grenade to give his life for the mission and I turned right and then I was the first American to see Osama bin Laden."

O'Neill said he cannot say whether he'll be seen as an historic figure in American lore.

"I don't look that far ahead. I just know the team will be and I want the team to be, and not just the team meaning the guys that went in from SEAL Team 6," he said.

"I mean there were people that worked a lot harder than us, there were people that were smarter than us, the pilots that flew us in there, they're a part of the team, the analysts from other agencies that found him, they're part of the team.

"I hope that everyone involved … is just recognized as doing something great."

O'Neill has founded a charity organization called YourGratefulNation.org.

"I found myself in a position after 16 years [in] the military … well aware I wasn't going to get a pension because right now a soldier needs to do 20 years. It's a little bit of stress … wondering what to do for the next paycheck to keep food on the table," he said.

"What we do is provide individualized support for a transition for up to 4,000 special operators and their families. We're working on our way up to that now and we want to get bigger and bigger and eventually help as many as we can.

"We're looking at it, at the end of the day, to provide careers for these people and we're offering companies high quality people to do everything. They show up on time, they're dressed for success."

The group also helps vets suffering from post-traumatic stress, brain injury and other ailments.

"We want to do everything we can to help these warriors transition to the private sector," O'Neill said.

For those people critical of his decision to identify himself as bin Laden's killer, O'Neill said he is sympathetic. But he hopes they will realize how it will ultimately help veterans.

"I totally understand where they're coming from and I respect their position and I respect anything they say," he said.

"I hope they see what we're doing is the right thing.... It has helped with the healing process. I see it every single day and it makes the risk worth it and it makes the criticism worth it."

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Robert O'Neill, the former Navy SEAL who shot and killed Osama bin Laden, told Newsmax TV that the 9/11 mastermind signed his own death warrant when he refused to give himself up.
osama bin laden, seal, killed
Thursday, 20 November 2014 05:22 PM
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