The SEAL Who Says He Killed Bin Laden Is Writing A Book

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Retired Navy SEAL Robert O'Neill, 38, who says he shot and killed Osama bin Laden, poses for a portrait in Washington, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014.
Associated Press photo by Jacquelyn Martin

The Navy SEAL Team Six veteran who gained fame when he went public saying he killed Osama bin Laden has a book coming out this spring about the May 2011 raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan.


“The Operator” by Robert O’Neill, will be published on April 25 by Scribner and will cover O’Neill’s career that spanned more than 400 missions with the SEALs. Most notably, the book will include details on the raid on bin Laden’s compound, according to the Associated Press. O'Neill was also on the missions that helped rescue Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell from Afghanistan and Capt. Richard Phillips from Somali pirates.

In a statement through Scribner, O’Neill said he wished to show "the human side" of the battles fought for the United States.

Related: UNSUNG HEROES: The 77 People On The Bin Laden Raid Who Are Staying Quiet »

"They are extraordinary people, but they are also normal and I was proud to serve with them," he said. "I also wanted to show that it is possible to do anything you want, no matter where you are from, as long as you work hard, avoid negativity and never quit."

In 2014 O’Neill first said that he killed bin Laden, a statement the government has neither confirmed nor denied. At about the same time, the head of Naval Special Warfare Command issued a letter criticizing those in violation of the SEAL “ethos” against self-promotion.

"A critical tenet of our ethos is 'I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions,'" wrote then-Rear Adm. Brian Losey. "Our ethos is a life-long commitment and obligation, both in and out of the service. Violators of our ethos are neither teammates in good standing, nor teammates who represent Naval Special Warfare."

O’Neill is not first  Navy SEAL to come out with a book about their secretive mission in Pakistan.

Matthew Bissonnette, another SEAL on the bin Laden mission wrote the best-selling book “No Easy Day” in 2012 under the pseudonym Mark Owen. The book provided a detailed account of the raid, but did not identify the name of the SEAL who killed bin Laden. After being threatened with prison time last year for not clearing the book with the Pentagon, Bissonnette has agreed to pay the government $6.6 million in back earnings and legal fees.

According to the Associated Press, Scribner said the Pentagon has cleared O’Neill’s book.

Photo illustration by Paul Szoldra

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