Report: SEAL who killed bin Laden identified

Posted at 11:30 PM, Nov 05, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-06 09:49:43-05

Virginia Beach, Va.--- The man thought to have killed Osama bin Laden has been identified as Robert James O'Neill, according to several news websites.

Through public records and interviews with Navy SEAL sources, NewsChannel 3 has confirmed Robert J. O’Neill served in SEAL Team 2, and later in SEAL Team 6. Our sources confirm he was on the mission to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, and he is regarded by local SEALs as the operator who killed bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011.

O'Neill is expected to publicly come forward in a documentary later this month as the one who killed bin Laden. He left the SEALs after 16 years, according to the Daily Mail. Since then, he's worked as a motivational speaker, talking about his service.

"A lot of the stuff that is out there is still classified and I want to maintain integrity with my former unit, but some of the stuff I can talk about I can bring lessons from it without divulging any classified information," he said in a video posted on a speaking website.

Three of his SEAL missions were made into movies, including the rescue of the Maersk Alabama from Somali pirates, which became "Captain Phillips."

According to a Navy SEAL blog, his decision to now talk about the bin Laden mission has upset top commanders of the SEALS.

"A critical tenant of our Ethos is 'I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions," two SEAL leaders write in a letter. "Violators of our Ethos are neither teammates in good standing, nor teammates who represent Naval special warfare."

Because O'Neill left the SEALs before 20 years of service, he lost some of his military benefits, according to the Daily Mail. The report says that has upset him and is a motivation for publicly telling his story.

NewsChannel 3 went to the Castleton neighborhood in Virginia Beach where O'Neill once lived. A man answered the door at his old house saying he didn't know him. One neighbor said he was quiet and kept to himself.