Robert O'Neill, the SEAL Team 6 veteran who gained fame after publicly claiming he killed Osama bin Laden, once said that he wanted his new book “The Operators” to show the “the human side” of his career with the elite Naval Special Warfare Group. But the most enthralling moment from the guaranteed bestseller focuses on a brutal death: the shots that wiped Osama bin Laden from the face of the planet.
In an exclusive first excerpt from the book in The Daily Mirror, O’Neill describes the now-infamous raid on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that fateful night in May 2011 — and the very moment he took the terrorist leader’s life:
I turned to the right and looked into an adjoining room. Osama bin Laden stood near the entrance at the foot of the bed, taller and thinner than I’d expected, his beard shorter and hair whiter. He had a woman in front of him, his hands on her shoulders. In less than a second, I aimed above the woman’s right shoulder and pulled the trigger twice. Bin Laden’s head split open and he dropped. I put another bullet in his head. Insurance.
That quote about “insurance” has been floating around since early April, when details of O’Neill’s book began to circulate. According to a deeply reported account of the raid The Intercept, O’Neill reportedly “canoed” the head of bin Laden, shooting the terrorist leader in a way that created a “V-shape” in his forehead. Here’s more from Business Insider:
O’Neill’s book says the operators had to press bin Laden’s head back together in order to take identifying photos. But that wasn’t the end to the mutilation of bin Laden’s body, according to Jack Murphy of SOFREP, a special operations news website.
Two sources told Murphy in 2016 that a number of SEALs took turns dumping round after round into bin Laden’s body, which ended up having more than 100 bullet holes in it.
Murphy, a former Army Ranger, called it “beyond excessive.”
“The picture itself would likely cause an international scandal, and investigations would be conducted which could uncover other operations, activities which many will do anything to keep buried,” he wrote.
As the Associated Press reported in April, O’Neill’s book has been cleared by the Pentagon. Published on April 25, it’s currently available for purchase everywhere.
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."