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.

An aerial view of the Pentagon building in Washington, June 15, 2005. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended the Guantanamo prison against critics who want it closed by saying U.S. taxpayers have a big financial stake in it and no other facility could replace it at a Pentagon briefing on Tuesday. (Reuters/Jason Reed JIR/CN)

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Then the rhythmic clapping begins.

This is no recruitment video. It's 'In The Navy,' the legendary 1979 hit from disco queens The Village People, shot aboard the very real Knox-class USS Reasoner (FF-1063) frigate. And one of those five Navy sailors who strode up that gangplank during filming was Ronald Beck, at the time a legal yeoman and witness to one of the strangest collisions between the U.S. military and pop culture of the 20th century.

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Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday casually brushed aside the disturbing news that, holy shit, MORE THAN 100 ISIS FIGHTERS HAVE ESCAPED FROM JAIL.

In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Esper essentially turned this fact into a positive, no doubt impressing public relations and political talking heads everywhere with some truly masterful spin.

"Of the 11,000 or so detainees that were imprisoned in northeast Syria, we've only had reports that a little more than a hundred have escaped," Esper said, adding that the Syrian Democratic Forces were continuing to guard prisons, and the Pentagon had not "seen this big prison break that we all expected."



Well, I feel better. How about you?

On Wednesday, the top U.S. envoy in charge of the global coalition to defeat ISIS said much the same, while adding another cherry on top: The United States has no idea where those 100+ fighters went.

"We do not know where they are," James Jeffrey told members of Congress of the 100+ escaped detainees. ISIS has about 18,000 "members" left in Iraq and Syria, according to recent Pentagon estimates.

A senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday the White House's understanding is that the SDF continues to keep the "vast majority" of ISIS fighters under "lock and key."

"It's obviously a fluid situation on the ground that we're monitoring closely," the official said, adding that released fighters will be "hunted down and recaptured." The official said it was Turkey's responsibility to do so.

President Trump expressed optimism on Wednesday about what was happening on the ground in northeast Syria, when he announced that a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds was expected to be made permanent.

"Turkey, Syria, and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries," Trump said. "We have done them a great service and we've done a great job for all of them — and now we're getting out."

The president boasted that the U.S.-brokered ceasefire had saved the lives of tens of thousands of Kurds "without spilling one drop of American blood."

Trump said that "small number of U.S. troops" would remain in Syria to protect oilfields.


Kade Kurita (U.S. Army photo(

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