Navy SEAL who shot bin Laden gives first interview

Posted at 1:38 PM, Feb 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-11 20:03:53-05

The Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden has given his first interview about the raid.

The SEAL - who has left the Navy - is only identified as 'The Shooter' in the story appearing in the March issue of Esquire and released online on Monday.

In the interview he describes the training and briefings leading up to the raid, as well as what he saw that night, correcting a few points that have been incorrectly presented as fact up until now. He also offers his opinions on the accuracy of the movie 'Zero Dark Thirty'

The group discussed what would happen if they were surrounded by Pakistani troops. We would surrender. The original plan was to have Vice-President Biden fly to Islamabad and negotiate our release with Pakistan's president.

This is hearsay, but I understand Obama said, Hell no. My guys are not surrendering. What do we need to rain hell on the Pakistani military? That was the one time in my life I was thinking, I am f---ing voting for this guy. I had a picture of him lying in bed at night, thinking, You're not f---ing with my guys. Like, he's thinking about us.

'The Shooter' also talks about the difficulties he and other Special Operations forces face in transitioning from military to civilian life, including the fact that his decision to retire early means he receives no pension or health care.

He also no longer wants to carry a gun.

"I still have the same bills I had in the Navy," the Shooter tells me when we talk in September 2012. But no money at all coming in, from anywhere.

"I just want to be able to pay all those bills, take care of my kids, and work from there," he says. "I'd like to take the things I learned and help other people in any way I can."

In the last few months, the Shooter has put together some work that involves a kind of discreet consulting for select audiences. But it's a per-event deal, and he's not sure how secure or long-term it will be. And he wants to be much more involved in making the post — SEAL Team 6 transition for others less uncertain.

The December suicide of one SEAL commander in Afghanistan and the combat death of another — a friend — while rescuing an American doctor from the Taliban underscore his urgent desire to make a difference on behalf of his friends.

He imagines traveling back to other parts of the world for a few days at a time to do dynamic surveys for businesses looking to put offices in countries that are not entirely safe, or to protect employees they already have in place.

But he is emphatic: He does not want to carry a gun. "I've fought all the fights. I don't have a need for excitement anymore. Honestly."

Read the full story at Esquire.