Robert O’Neill says he is the man who killed Osama bin Laden. But is he?
More than three years after the event, the ex-US Navy Seal turned motivational speaker is at the centre of conflicting accounts about who fired the bullet that ended the life of the al Qaeda leader.
O’Neill’s claim to have killed bin Laden, newly-published in The Washington Post, contradicts an account by fellow former Commando Matt Bissonnette, who wrote a 2012 book about the raid entitled “No Easy Day”. The book did not identify the person who shot bin Laden at his hideout in Pakistan.
NBC News quoted Bissonnette on Thursday as saying: “Two different people telling two different stories for two different reasons … Whatever he (O’Neill) says, he says. I don’t want to touch that”.
Further reports also suggest that one of two other Seals, who entered Bin Laden’s room before O’Neill, fired the fatal shot.
Having previously told his story anonymously about the raid in Abbottabad in May 2011, O’Neill was due to reveal his identity in an upcoming TV interview.
But a website run by Special Forces personnel leaked his name early, in an article stressing the unit’s traditional code of silence and highlighting condemnation of any attempt to take credit for operational actions.