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The Navy SEAL who says he killed Osama bin Laden told Fox News that he was convinced he wouldn’t survive the mission.
On the two-part FNC special, The Man Who Killed Osama Bin Laden, the network’s Washington correspondent Peter Doocy sat down with Rob O’Neill, who provided his first TV interview since his role in the expedition was revealed last week.
“The more we trained on it, the more we realized this is going to be a one-way mission,” O’Neill said of Operation Neptune Spear, which led to the killing of Bin Laden on May 1, 2011.
O’Neill explained that he and his fellow SEALs were convinced that too many things could go wrong, including fears that the compound was rigged with explosives.
“[We thought,] ‘We’re going to die when the house blows up, we’re going to die when he blows up or we’re going to be there too long, and we’re going to get arrested by the Pakistanis, and we’re going to spend the rest of our short lives in a Pakistan prison,’ ” O’Neill said. Despite the risks, O’Neill said he never hoped that President Obama would change the team’s plans, since O’Neill had no qualms about dying if it meant Bin Laden were to die with him.
Before beginning the mission, O’Neill wrote goodbye letters to his children that they luckily never had to read. He also called his dad “to say goodbye and thanks for everything.”
When asked what it felt like to kill Bin Laden, O’Neill said it didn’t feel real at first and “didn’t sink in for a while.” He added that he doesn’t know if that day was the best or worst day of his life. On why he would have any regrets about firing the shots, he said: “I don’t know what’s going to happen, and it’s something I have to live with every day.”
Prior to the interview airing, Fox News vp John Finley told reporters that O’Neill was initially reluctant to share his story for various reasons. Finley said O’Neill was concerned for his and his family’s security, and had worries about “how his Navy SEAL brethren would react to his breaking his silence, and how the general public would react to hearing this story firsthand from someone who was there.”
The interview airs at 10 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. A clip from the interview aired Tuesday morning on Today.
Nov. 11 at 7:59 p.m. Updated with more quotes from Rob O’Neill.
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