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Navy SEAL who killed Bin Laden rebukes conspiracy that Bin Laden raid was staged after Trump retweets it

Robert J. O'Neill speaking at the 2018 CPAC in National Harbor, Maryland. (Gage Skidmore/Released)
October 15, 2020

Rob O’Neill, the U.S. Navy SEAL who has claimed credit for killing Osama Bin Laden, took to Twitter on Tuesday to push back on a theory shared by President Donald Trump, that the raid to kill Osama Bin Laden was staged and that a Bin Laden body double was killed in the raid.

On Tuesday, as the U.S. Navy celebrated its 245th birthday, O’Neill tweeted, “Very brave men said goodby to their kids to go kill Osama bin Laden. We were given the order by President Obama. It was not a body double. Thank you Mr. President. Happy birthday @USNavy.”

O’Neill tweeted the message after a video was shared on Twitter, in which former U.S. Air Force veteran and self-described Benghazi whistleblower Nicholas Noe claimed three former CIA directors were aware Bin Laden was living in Iran and was transferred to Pakistan for a “trophy kill” to boost then-President Barack Obama’s reelection chances. Noe goes on in the video to speculate whether Bin Laden was actually present during the May 2, 2011 raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

“I’ve heard two things,” Noe said. “That Bin Laden, that wasn’t him, that was his body double. I mean I guess we’ll never know if they buried it at sea,” he said, making air quotes with his hands.

Noe said whether or not Bin Laden was the individual killed in the 2011 raid, the Obama administration made payments to Iran for the Bin Laden raid.

Trump retweeted the video on Tuesday of Noe’s comments about the Bin Laden raid.

O’Neill, in another Tuesday tweet addressing the theory, “I know who I killed, homie. Every time.”

In another tweet, O’Neill mocked the idea of a body double, tweeting, “Shit. I just found out that I killed Osama bin Johnson. Drinks are on me, I guess…”

On Wednesday, O’Neill continued his criticism of the theory during an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

Cuomo Prime Time tweeted, “A former Navy Seal who was there when American forces killed Osama Bin Laden debunks the false conspiracy theory about the raid which was pushed by Pres. Trump. ‘You are really trampling on the graves of some of the best heroes I have ever personally worked with.'”

O’Neill, in his interview, noted some theories circulating about the Bin Laden raid that also made connections to the August 2011 shootdown of a U.S. helicopter, codenamed Extortion 17, which had members of a different SEAL Team 6 squadron on board. O’Neill, responding to those theories specifically, said “You are really trampling on the graves of some of the best heroes I have ever personally worked with.”

Asked by Cuomo to address Trump’s involvement in retweeting references to other claims about the Bin Laden raid, O’Neill said the president has access to the classified information, including photographic and DNA documentation that O’Neill and his team did take down Bin Laden’s compound and that Bin Laden was killed.

“It is one thing for a wacko to be a conspiracy theorist and claim he has all these [Non-disclosure agreements],” O’Neill said,  “but just to get a retweeted by the highest-ranking person in the country . . .”