Former Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Robert O'Neill credited the Central Intelligence Agency, the special operations pilots who flew the helicopters and SEAL Team Six for finding and killing the world's most wanted terrorist in the second part of Fox News' interview.
In the end, though, O'Neill did asserted that his shots were the ones that killed Osama bin Laden, counter to other accounts of the raid, including the one retold in fellow SEAL Matt Bissonnette's memoir, "No Easy Day," written under the pen name Mark Owen.two-night interview Wednesday night."The Man Who Killed Usama bin Laden," on Fox News Wednesday night.
In the second hour of the two-part special, "The Man Who Killed Usama bin Laden," O'Neill detailed every moment of the mission and his career since, including his decision to leave the Navy in 2012.
1. Everyone handles a big mission differently. Some guys fell asleep on the hour-and-a-half flight from Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan,, to Abbottabad, Pakistan, O'Neill said. Others listened to their iPods.
"I learned as a sniper on recon missions that it gets very boring for 72 hours to be watching something," he said.
So he used his tried-and-true strategy of counting back and forth from one to 1,000 to pass the time.
"It sounds made up, it sounds cheesy, but as I'm counting, I remember a quote from George W. Bush on 9/11," he recalled. ""Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward, and freedom will be defended."
O'Neill started repeating thatmantra: Freedom will be defended.
"After weeks of training, 82 minutes into the flight, I'm like, I'm on this mission, and we're going to kill him," he said. "One minute out and I'm thinking, man, this is some serious Navy SEAL stuff we're about to do."
2. It got real quickly. "I remember putting my right foot down and just sort of saying out loud, 'Freedom will be defended,' " he recalled. "And I'm looking outside of Osama bin Laden's house and thinking, this is so cool."
After knocking down one courtyard door, the squad came up against a brick wall. One teammate was concerned, but O'Neill was reassured.
"I remember thinking, no, that's good. That's a fake door," he said. "Someone important is in this house."
3. Until the end, they weren't sure bin Laden was there. One of O'Neill's teammates shot a woman outside who had thrown herself in front of her husband. The SEAL was concerned he would get in trouble for injuring her, but O'Neill told him he was fine.
"They're martyring themselves in front of the men," he remembered thinking. "That means there are important men here."
After the squadron's point man shot and killed bin Laden's son Khalid, the men made their way to the second floor.
The point man stayed in front and the rest of the guys fanned out to clear the rooms, leaving O'Neill — who had been bringing up the rear — as the second in line.
"[It was] just luck," he said. "We know that the guy in front stays in front, and everyone behind him needs to take care of other threats."
4. Disagreement lingers. There is still disagreement over whose shots ended it. O'Neill told host Peter Doocy that the point man fired at bin Laden from the stairs, then ran up to cover his wife and daughters, in case they were wearing suicide vests.
O'Neill said he then entered the room, where bin Laden and another wife were left.
"Standing on two feet in front of me with his hands on his wife's shoulders, behind her, was the face I'd seen thousands of times," he said.
O'Neill said he shot bin Laden in the face twice, watched him fall to the left of the bed, then shot once more.
"I was standing above him when he took his last breath, and I heard it audibly," he said. "We just ended the war."
The version in "No Easy Day" had the point man's first shot getting bin Laden, followed by the author entering the room firing into his torso after he'd collapsed.
O'Neill said that's the version in the debrief, but it was cleaned up from what really happened. He asserted that BissonnetteOwen got there too late to see what had happened.
"It's one of those things where, I heard from a guy that heard from a guy that heard from a guy," he said. "Unless you were in the room at the time, you only know what you were told."
5. The team watched the president's announcement. After flying back to Bagram, confirming the body's identity to the CIA and getting something to eat, the SEALs watched President Obama announce bin Laden's death to the world on a big screen TV.
"I hear him say Osama bin Laden, then I look over at Osama bin Laden, and then I literally wonder, how in the world did I get here from Butte, Montana?"
Later, he saw the infamous photo of the American leaders gathered in the White House situation room to watch the feed of the raid.
6. He quit because he felt jaded. "I stopped getting adrenaline in gunfights," he said. "That's dangerous. You get complacent.""When I saw the photo, I thought it was very neat," he said. "The concern on Secretary Clinton's face, the president sitting in a folding chair, just like, 'It doesn't matter where I sit, we just need to do this.' "
O'Neill left the Navy in 2012, four years shy of retirement.
"I was just done. I came through the front door on the first day, and I wanted to leave through the front door," he said. "I don't feel like the Navy owes me anything. I don't think I owe the Navy anything."
Doocy asked O'Neill if he was worried about his personal security, and he said yes, but didn't elaborate. Doocy also asked if he thought there would be backlash from his SEAL buddies or the Pentagon.
"I don't know how people will react to this," he said. "There's going to be people that are upset, [but]because you can't do anything without upsetting people."