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.”
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.'"