The identity of a US Navy Seal who shot and killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011 has been revealed as Rob O’Neill.
Mr O’Neill, 38, is a highly decorated veteran who became a public speaker following his 16 years of service in the US military.
He has been named by the special operations community blog SPFrep.com ahead of an interview with Fox News, in which he decides to waive his anonymity and claims to be the man who killed Bin Laden, due to air on 11 and 12 November.
Mr O’Neill’s father, Tom O’Neill, confirmed his son’s identity to the Daily Mail, and told the paper that he is not worried about the potential threat posed by Rob revealing his identity as the member of Team Six who shot the al-Qaeda founder three times in the head.
“People are asking if we are worried that Isis will come and get us because Rob is going public. I say I’ll paint a big target on my front door and say come and get us,” he told the paper.
Mr O’Neill had previously been referred to as “The Shooter” since the two minute raid of Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on 2 May 2011, and his apparent identity has been kept secret by US officials to protect his safety.
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton took personal responsibility, and praise, for the US finding and killing Osama bin Laden Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton took personal responsibility, and praise, for the US finding and killing Osama bin Laden.
But Mr O’Neill has reportedly decided to speak out after losing some of his military benefits because he left the Seals after 16 years instead of serving a full 20 years.
The veteran was decorated 52 times and was awarded two Silver Stars and four Bronze Stars with Valour, among many others.
Fox News publicised its interview with O’Neill before he revealed his identity, with correspondent Peter Doocy stating that the two-part programme called The Man Who Killed Osama Bin Laden would provide “an extensive, first-hand account of the mission, including the unexpected crash of one of the helicopters that night and why Seal Team Six feared for their lives”.
The revelation of the identity of Bin Laden’s apparent killer comes a day after the head of the US Naval Warfare Special Command issued a letter warning Navy Seals against breaking their promise to maintain secrecy after their missions.
In the letter obtained by CNN, Adm. Brian Losey reminds Seals that “the most important credit we can garner is the respect of our Teammates and Partners”.
Rob O’Neil has become a public speaker since leaving the US Navy Seals
He writes: “We do not abide wilful or selfish disregard for our core values in return for public notoriety and financial gain.
“Any real credit to be rendered is about the incredible focus, commitment, and teamwork of this diverse network and the years of hard work undertaken with little individual public credit. It is the nature of our profession,” he wrote.