The Daily Mail is reporting the name—Robert O’Neill—of the retired Navy SEAL who plans to appear on Fox News and reveal that he shot Osama bin Laden. O’Neill’s father, Tom, confirmed his 38-year-old son’s identity to the Mail a week ahead of the Fox News interview scheduled to air on November 11 and 12. The Mail’s report comes two days after the special-forces website SOFREP—and an anonymous Gawker commenter—both claimed that the Navy SEAL was Robert O’Neill.
O’Neill currently works as a motivational speaker and lives in Washington, D.C. In February 2013 he was profiled in an error-laden Esquire profile, which alleged that he was denied access to proper healthcare and other veteran benefits after he left the Navy. The magazine only referred to O’Neill as “The Shooter.”
O’Neill has said the basic reason he became a SEAL was a teenage romance gone wrong. At 19 he went to a Navy recruiter’s office in an attempt to get over his lost love. But his father gave a different story in his exclusive interview with MailOnline. ‘We were going hunting and a friend asked us to take a guy who was a Navy SEAL with us,’ said Tom O'Neill, 65. ‘We were expecting someone who was 6 ft. 8 in. who could lift a house with his bare hands, but he was this normal guy. And Rob said if this guy could be a SEAL, then so could he.’
O’Neill’s plan to come out as the SEAL who shot bin Laden has not been especially well-received by the special-forces community or the U.S. military. Two members of the latter group, SEAL commanders Brian Losey and Michael Magaraci, recently wrote a letter to active-duty SEALs warning them not to seek extra publicity for their military activities.