Fox News has hired former U.S. Navy SEAL Rob O’Neill as a contributor, announced the network’s chairman and CEO, Roger Ailes."O’Neill ... is said to have fired the fatal shots to Usama Bin Laden" -- well, that's one way of putting it. It would be more accurate to say that O'Neill has repeatedly made this claim himself, first to Esquire (where he was identified just as "The Shooter"), then in a series of broadcasts on Fox, which got awesome ratings. In the process, O'Neill infuriated a lot of people who felt he violated the code of the SEALs by revealing his identity and details of his missions; more important, his story was branded as a lie by a number of people who seem to know the facts:
“Rob O’Neill is an American hero who dedicated his life to serving our country and protecting our freedoms,” said Ailes in the announcement. “It’s incredibly rare to have someone in a television contributor role with his leadership experience and expertise at the fighting unit level. His military insight will be a major asset to the network and we are honored to have him.”
O’Neill, who is said to have fired the fatal shots to Usama Bin Laden, will offer military expertise and analysis to Fox News’ daytime and primetime programs....
In interviews with The Daily Beast, former special operations officials, as well as other sources who are familiar with the events of the 2011 raid on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, accused O’Neill of misstating key facts and wrongly taking sole credit for killing the world’s then-most wanted man.That's from an article by the Daily Beast's Shane Harris. From Peter Berger of CNN, there's this:
At issue is who fired the shot -- or shots -- that hit bin Laden in the head, splitting open his skull and almost certainly ending his life. O’Neill insists that he was the shooter. But others -- including a fellow SEAL who was standing within feet of O’Neill when the final encounter with bin Laden went down -- say another, still-unidentified man likely fired the round that caused a lethal head wound.
The first three SEALs to make it to the top floor of the compound were "the point man," "the Shooter" profiled by Esquire, and Matt Bissonnette, the SEAL who wrote "No Easy Day" under the pseudonym Mark Owen.Ultimately, O'Neill said this, which could be interpreted as a walkback of his story:
What actually happened the night of the raid, according to the SEAL Team 6 operator who I interviewed, is that the "point man" ran up the stairs to the top floor and shot bin Laden in the head when he saw what looked like bin Laden poking his head out of his bedroom door. The shot gravely wounded al Qaeda's leader.
Having taken down bin Laden, the point man proceeded to rush two women he found in the bedroom, gathering them in his arms to absorb the explosion in case they were wearing suicide vests, something that was a real concern of those who planned the raid.
Two more SEALs then entered bin Laden's bedroom and, seeing that he was lying mortally wounded on the floor, finished him off with shots to the chest.
This account of bin Laden's demise is considerably less heroic than the Shooter's version in Esquire, in which he says he shot bin Laden while he was standing up and only after he saw that the al Qaeda leader had a gun within reach.
"The most important thing that I've learned in the last two years is to me it doesn't matter anymore if I am 'The Shooter.' The team got him," Robert O'Neill said in an audio interview with freelance journalist Alex Quade, a former CNN correspondent, that aired ... on CNN's "AC360."But he got the ratings, and now he's got this gig, so it doesn't matter anymore whether he told the truth, does it? Or, y'know, it matters if you care about the truthfulness of the people who bring you the news.
But that's a concern for other media organizations. Fox is held to a separate set of rules.