The Navy SEAL whose shot to the forehead killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is Robert O'Neill, a 38-year-old Montana native, the Washington Post reports.
O'Neill planned to reveal his role in interviews with the paper and Fox News next week, according to the Post. But SOFREP, a website run by former SEALs, identified O'Neill early in a bid to preempt his media blitz. O'Neill told the Post that he decided to come forward because he feared others would leak his identity, as word of his role in the 2011 raid at bin Laden's Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound spread throughout the military.
The announcement isn't sitting well with some Navy officers.
The Post reports that in a letter late last month to the Navy Special Warfare Ranks, commanding officer B.L. Losey and force master chief M.L. Magaraci called it a “critical” aspect of Navy service to “not advertise the nature of my work nor seek recognition for [one's] action.”
“We do not abide willful or selfish disregard for our core values in return for public notoriety or financial gain,” they wrote.
According to O'Neill, a recent meeting with family members of 9/11 victims cemented his decision to go public.
“The families told me it helped bring them some closure,” he told the Post, which confirmed his role with two SEAL team members.
Read the Post's report here.