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.