“We’re going to die when the house blows up. We’re going to die when he blows up. Or we’re going to be there too long and we get arrested by the Pakistanis, and we’re going to spend the rest of our short lives in Pakistani prison,” O’Neill said in an interview for a Fox News Channel special set to air tonight.
Instead, O’Neill says, he got his shot – and killed the most wanted terrorist in the world.
O’Neill’s statements mark the first on-camera remarks by the SEAL who claims to have killed bin Laden in the May 2, 2011 raid. He has been criticized for breaking the code of silence surrounding the mission, but O’Neill says he decided to tell his story because he thought his name would leak anyway.
His version of the raid was recounted in 2013 in Esquire magazine, which identified him only as “the shooter.”
Another SEAL, Matt Bissonnette, previously wrote a book on the topic, “No Easy Day.”
In recent weeks, Rear Adm. Brian Losey, who commands the Naval Special Warfare Group, and Force Master Chief Michael Magaraci, the top non-commissioned officer of the group, urged SEALs to lower their public profile.
“At Naval Special Warfare's core is the SEAL ethos," an Oct. 31 letter said. "A critical tenant of our ethos is 'I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions.'"