SEALs Squabble Over Who Killed bin Laden
Some say unidentified point man fired fatal shot, not Robert O'Neill
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2014 10:44 AM CST
In this photo taken on Dec. 20, 2013, Robert O’Neill a former Navy Seal team member, poses for a photo in Butte, Mont.   (AP Photo/The Montana Standard, Walter Hinick)
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(Newser) – Robert O'Neill says his bullet killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in 2011, but others aren't so sure. It's a little confusing, but as Reuters and the New York Times report, there were apparently three SEALs involved: a point man and two other shooters. In a 2013 Esquire article, O'Neill, identified only as "the Shooter," said the point man saw bin Laden first, but his shot missed; O'Neill then fired two shots into a still-standing bin Laden. Fellow SEALs, however, say "the point man" fired not just the first shot, but possibly the fatal one—certainly one that wounded bin Laden.

A former commander calls O'Neill's two shots "insurance" rounds that were fired into an already-collapsed bin Laden. In his 2012 book No Easy Day, Matt Bissonnette said the point man shot bin Laden in the head, but he "was still twitching and convulsing" when Bissonnette and another SEAL "fired several rounds." Will the point man ever come forward as O'Neill and Bissonnette have? It sounds unlikely. "You're never going to hear from him," a former SEAL Team Six member told ABC News last year. He "doesn't think he did anything special. He simply pulled the trigger when he was supposed to. That’s why he’ll never go public." A rep for the US Special Operations Command says it could be at least 20 years before the official report on the raid is declassified.