Navy SEAL Says He Killed bin Laden
Robert O'Neill says talking to relatives of 9/11 victims made him come forward
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2014 3:54 PM CST
Osama bin Laden was fatally shot by Navy SEAL Robert O'Neill, the vet himself confirms.   (AP Photo, File)

(Newser) – A Navy SEAL tells the Washington Post that he is the person who fatally shot Osama bin Laden in the head. Robert O'Neill, 38, planned on identifying himself publicly next week in interviews with the Post and Fox News, but he's doing so now after a website named him as the shooter earlier this week. The Montana native tells the newspaper that he originally decided to come forward after meeting privately with relatives of victims of the World Trade Center attack. "The families told me it helped bring them some closure," he says.

O'Neill had previously told his account of the 2011 raid to Esquire, but he was not identified in the piece. He tells the Post that he's sure bin Laden died instantly because his first shot split the al-Qaeda leader's skull. He acknowledges that two other members of his team fired shots, including Matt Bissonnette, but he says his was the fatal one. CNN notes that critics in the military are skeptical that he can be so sure of that. O'Neill also says he assumed before the raid that bin Laden would be better protected. "I didn't think I would survive," he says.